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image Adam vol.57/123

Reference number

Adam vol.57/123

Purpose

Capriccio of a ruined tower of three bays with, between giant pilasters, a niche with a square panel above raised on a substructure consisting of a series of arches. In the foreground a capital and cornice, and in the distance more ruins and a fortified tower.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 123

Signed and dated

  • Undated, possibly September 1755.

Medium and dimensions

Black chalk, grey wash230 x 256

Hand

Charles-Louis Clérisseau

Verso

Black chalk figure drawings of three legs and an arm.

Notes

There is a highly competent version of this view by Robert Adam in Adam vol.57/127 that shows the decorative detail of this ruin more exactly. The viewpoint for both sketches is the same, although the subject may be a capriccio based on several antique ruins. The niches with square panels above raised on vaulting that can be seen at the Domus Praeconum of the Domus Augustiana may have provided a source (see E. Nash, Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London, 1968, vol.I, p.338). It is also possible that the building may be one of the mausolea on the route to Albano, engraved by Piranesi as 'Tempio antico volgarmente detto della Salute su la via d'Albano, cinque miglia lontan da Roma' and published his Vedute di Roma in 1763. It shows a similar use of giant pilaster and panels on top of a basement. The Tomb of Licinianus Piso on the Via Appia provides similar pilaster forms with a niche between. The towered building in the background is the same as that shown in Adam vol.57/111.In September 1755 Robert Adam and Charles-Louis Clérisseau made a tour to Albano and Ariccia to see 'the remains of the Horatian and Curatian Tombs' (see Adam vol.57/130 and 57/134), and reported returning with a loaded portfolio (see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, pp.180-1); this sketch and that in Adam vol.57/127 were probably among them.

Level

Drawing

Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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