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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Italy: Rome: Villa Doria Pamphilj. Unfinished study of ceiling compartments of the vestibule of the Villa Doria Pamphilj with a triangular panel filled with scrolling foliage within a double border. At the apex is part of an oval panel.
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image Adam vol.56/48

Reference number

Adam vol.56/48

Purpose

Italy: Rome: Villa Doria Pamphilj. Unfinished study of ceiling compartments of the vestibule of the Villa Doria Pamphilj with a triangular panel filled with scrolling foliage within a double border. At the apex is part of an oval panel.

Aspect

Detail

Inscribed

Inscribed in red ink 48

Signed and dated

  • Undated

Medium and dimensions

Pencil and pen: grey wash614 x 312 (two joined sheets)

Hand

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

Notes

The ceiling in this unfinished drawing is that of the vestibule of the Villa Doria Pamphilj (Villa Belrespiro), Rome, designed by Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654). The drawings in Adam vol.56/46 and 47 are also copies of the Villa's stucco work. They can be associated with the drawings after James Byres in Adam volume 26 such as 26/174. The drawing in Adam vol.26/167, attributed to Giuseppe Manocchi (c.1731-82), also after James Byres, depicts a similar style of ceiling composition. Also on the drawing is a pencil fragment of foliage ornament.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). 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.56/46 and 47, and others in Adam volume 26 may have been part of this collection. 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).

Level

Drawing

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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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