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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Italy: Rome: Villa Doria Pamphilj (Villa Belrespiro). Unfinished study for a ceiling compartment in the Sala Rotonda in the Villa Doria Pamphilj.
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image Adam vol.56/46

Reference number

Adam vol.56/46

Purpose

Italy: Rome: Villa Doria Pamphilj (Villa Belrespiro). Unfinished study for a ceiling compartment in the Sala Rotonda in the Villa Doria Pamphilj.

Aspect

Detail

Inscribed

Inscribed in pencil in a nineteenth-century hand Villa Pamfili; in red ink 46

Signed and dated

  • Undated

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen, grey wash454 x 397

Hand

James Adam, office of (attributed to), after James Byres

Notes

This drawing is of one of the panels designed by Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654) from the Sala Rotonda in the Villa Doria Pamphilj (Villa Belrespiro), Rome, and can be associated with the drawings after James Byres in Adam volume 26, such as 26/174. According to a contemporary, Algardi 'apart from the good example of Raphael and Giulio Romano, betook himself to Tivoli to draw some remains of the celebrated Villa Adriana, and accustomed himself to a low relief stucco, lightly framing the area with purity and symmetrical spacing' (J. Montagu, Alessandro Algardi, 2 vols., London, 1985, I, p.99). There were seven medallions but this does not correspond accurately to any of them (see Montagu op. cit. II, p.456). Another medallion panel, probably from the Sala Rotonda, is also depicted in Adam vol.56/47. In the Adam sale of 1818 (Catalogue of A Valuable Collection of Antique Sculpture etc. R. Adam Christie's, London, 21 & 22 May 1818), lot 54 was a volume containing '218 drawings of vases, ornaments, from the antique at Rome, from the Villa Pamphili'. This drawing and those in Adam vol.56/47-48, and others in Adam volume 26 may have been part of this collection. The pencil inscription Villa Pamfili is in the same hand as found in Adam vol.56/39.As Stillman makes clear, Robert Adam used these studies of the Villa Pamphilj in his work on the drawing-room ceiling at Hatchlands in 1759-61 (see D. Stillman, The Decorative Work of Robert Adam, London, 1966, p.96). In his essay in 1762, James Adam placed Algardi, along with Michelangelo, Pirro Ligorio and Giovanni da Udine, among those who '...rendered many morcelles otherwise indifferent really precious to us and have imitated in no inconsiderable degree the beauty and elegance of the ancients...' (see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.317). In this he was repeating his brother Robert's opinion, for in September 1756 the latter had written 'of what good buildings are in Rome, either within or without particularly those done from the Ancients by Pirro Ligorio, Algardi & Salvi' (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4817).On left-hand side of sheet are pencil details of mouldings.

Literature

Rep. D. Stillman The Decorative Work of Robert Adam, London, 1966, pl.119

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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