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image Adam vol.56/59

Reference number

Adam vol.56/59


Trompe l'œil showing five drawings of ruins, composed as if they are on overlapping sheets of paper.




In ink 2; and in red ink 59

Signed and dated

  • Datable probably to 1757

Medium and dimensions

Pen, brown and grey washes352 x 328


Robert Adam (1728-1792)


This composition by Robert Adam showing a number of small views of ruins can be compared with similar vignettes in Adam vol.56/107 -129, which are attributed to Charles-Louis Clérisseau and show sarcophagi in a variety of ruined settings. In The Hermitage there are also drawings by Clérisseau for such compositions as medallions and as backgrounds to individual drawings of the letters of the alphabet (see Charles-Louis Clérisseau (1721-1820) Dessins du musée de l'Ermitage Saint-Petersbourg catalogue of exhibition held at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1995, pp.144-5). There is a copy of this drawing by C J Richardson (1806-1871) in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (P&D 93.G.8/34).


J. Fleming Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome (London, 1962), fig.65



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

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).