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image Adam vol.56/138

Reference number

Adam vol.56/138

Purpose

Capriccio showing the interior of a hall with vaulted ceiling and the walls divided by a cornice decorated with Greek Key moulding and bucrania, and with depressed arches below opening into further halls. There are cineraria in niches and a circular fountain basin in the foreground.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

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

Hand

Robert Adam

Notes

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).

Literature

Rep. Bolton The Architecture of Robert and James Adam, 2 vols. (London, 1922), vol.I, p.22

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.

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).