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image Adam vol.56/66

Reference number

Adam vol.56/66


Capriccio showing a broken sarcophagus with three statues in an arcade as its front panel. It is set among ruins with trees in the background.




In ink 9 and in red ink 66

Signed and dated

  • Datable to probably c.1756.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen, and watercolour: drawn within a ink circle of 90 dia. Sheet size 100 x 96. The lower two corners trimmed diagonally


Robert Adam (1728-1792)


Circle drawn in ink, which was probably intended to be filled by a composition similar to the one on the recto.


This is one of a number of small, circular compositions (see Adam vol.56/68-70, 73, 75, 81, 83-4, 86, 90-1, and SM Drawer 48/6/4); several similar to this were on the backing sheet, which was evidently cut up when the volume was put together. The sarcophagus was a favourite subject, and there are other circular compositions, similar in both size and subject-matter, amongst the drawings by Charles-Louis Clérisseau in The Hermitage (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, p.145), some of which were subsequently engraved (see Paris op.cit. p.144). There is a larger drawing by Robert Adam of a similar sarcophagus in Adam vol.57/148.



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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