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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Italy: Rome: the Trevi Fountain. View of the Trevi Fountain showing the standing figure of Oceanus in the centre with a triton on either side and waterfalls, with the lower half of the architectural façade behind. In the foreground are figures and dogs.
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image Adam vol.56/56

Reference number

Adam vol.56/56

Purpose

Italy: Rome: the Trevi Fountain. View of the Trevi Fountain showing the standing figure of Oceanus in the centre with a triton on either side and waterfalls, with the lower half of the architectural façade behind. In the foreground are figures and dogs.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 4; in red ink 56

Signed and dated

  • Undated

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, chalk, bodycolour, on grey paper418 x 606 (two joined sheets; narrow strip added to left edge)

Hand

Unidentified eighteenth-century artist

Notes

This drawing is one of three views of the Trevi Fountain, originally numbered 4, 5 and 6 (see Adam vol.56/55 and 56/57). The viewpoint here is similar to that in vol.56/55 albeit nearer, less oblique and closer to the elevation traditionally shown by Laurent Pecheux and others (see J. Pinto The Trevi Fountain, London, 1986, figs.181-3). There are also minor variations in the drawing of the sculpture in the two niches, and the foreground figures are different. There is a copy of this drawing by C J Richardson (1806-1871) in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (P&D 93.G.8/58).The fountain, by architect Nicola Salvi (d.1751)and sculptor Giovanni Battista Maini, was inaugurated in 1744, although unfinished, and is depicted in the view by Giovanni Paolo Pannini (1695-1764) of 1744. Work was suspended during 1751 and 1758 and the fountain was only completed in 1762, after Robert Adam had left Rome (see Pinto op.cit. for a full account of the history of the fountain). It seems likely that this drawing and Adam vol.56/55 and 56/57 were acquired from the same source as Laurent Pecheux's elevation of 1753 for Sir William Chambers (Harris & Snodin Sir William Chambers, Architect to George III (New Haven and London, 1997), see Soane Museum SM 22/2/8, illus. p.22), although the draughtsmanship here is very different in its liveliness and colour, and in the greater emphasis given to the sculpture over the architecture. Like Chambers, Robert Adam appears to have admired Salvi and regarded his work among '... what good buildings are in Rome ...' (see Fleming Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome (London, 1962), p.359). The three views may well have been part of Adam's plan of 1755 '... to do the fountains ...' of Rome, using '... my own and our myrmidons' (Fleming 1962, p.152). He was also interested in, and drew, the aqueduct that fed Salvi's fountain (see Clerk Collection, Scotland, Clerk 106).

Literature

Rep. J. Pinto The Trevi Fountain, London, 1986, fig.158

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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