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image Adam vol.56/50

Reference number

Adam vol.56/50


Capriccio showing ruined classical buildings in a densely wooded landscape.




Inscribed on drawing in ink 90; in red ink on backing sheet 50

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably c.1756.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil and pen; grey wash on grey washed paper267 x 423, mounted on backing sheet 322 x 471


Robert Adam


Verso of backing sheet has remains of four corners of a drawing dated 1755; these fragments are likely to be from Adam vol.56/167 as the paper colour and chalk framing line fit closely; similar fragments are found on the verso of 56/53.


The drawings in Adam vol.56/49-54 are part of a set of landscape compositions by Robert Adam. They are all of a similar size, on grey washed paper and in the style of Jean-Baptiste Lallemand (1716-1803), but sources of the compositions may differ. It is likely that these drawings were part of a larger group since each has a number between 83 and 94, inscribed in the eighteenth century. They were probably made in Rome in c.1756; Robert Adam wrote in November of that year that he had been working on such 'kind of ... sketches...' and had '... already made out a dozen different views as unlike one another as I could ...' (Fleming Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome (London, 1962), p.363). This set of drawings, of which this drawing is a typical example, may be compared with the landscape compositions in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (for example 1954-14) (see Tait Robert Adam: drawings and imagination (Cambridge, 1993), pp.20-23).



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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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