Inscribed in ink 102; in red ink 138
Signed and dated
- Undated, probably 1756 or 1757.
Medium and dimensions
Pencil, pen, brown and grey washes; ink framing line302 x 373, top right corner torn
This composition by Robert Adam, like Adam vol.56/136, is a variation on the gouache by Charles-Louis Clérisseau in the Sir John Soane Museum (SM P.326, which is signed, and dated twice, both 1771 and 1772. The principal differences in Adam's version lie in the absence of figures and the form of the central basin; the cornice also has been changed and light is suggested in a much less subtle fashion. According to Sabine Cotte in Clérisseau à Rome:'Y sont réunis tous les motifs que l'on trouve dispersés dans les feuilles de l'Ermitage: grande vasque, frises de griffon, urnes funéraires ou sarcophages placés dans des niches, motif central évoquant celui des bains antiques. La mise au tombeau figurée par des personnages au premier plan donne une connotation funèbre tandis que les points de vue que l'on a sur des rotondes vivement éclairées auxquelles on accède par des escaliers symbolisent un lieu de résurrection'(see Charles-Louis Clérisseau (1721-1820) Dessins du musée de l'Ermitage Saint-Petersbourg, catalogue of an exhibition at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1995, p.31). The Clérisseau gouache was acquired by John Soane in 1797 at a Christies auction (see SM Soane Account Book, 1797-1803, p.20); it is signed and dated 1771 and 1772, and presumably must be a copy of the original that inspired Adam's variation. Numerous copies of earlier compositions were made by both Clérisseau and his pupils, especially for his Hermitage commission of 1780 from Catherine II of Russia (see Paris 1995 op.cit., p.152).
Rep. Bolton The Architecture of Robert and James Adam, 2 vols. (London, 1922), vol.I, p.22
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural,
design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for
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