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image Adam vol.56/145

Reference number

Adam vol.56/145

Purpose

Capriccio showing the interior of two large vaulted and coffered halls with the walls decorated with niches containing statues and relief panels of figures. A three-bay screen opens into an exedra; the foreground is on two levels, with steps and two large urns.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 101; in red ink 145 (in 2 places, twice on drawing and once on album leaf

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably 1756 or 1757.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen, brown and grey washes; ink framing line 281 x 399

Hand

Robert Adam

Watermark

crowned fleur de lys

Notes

This is a variation on Adam vol.56/142, and like that drawing it is probably based on a Charles-Louis Clérisseau drawing, as is the case with Adam vol.56/138. This connection is emphasised further by McCormick, who reproduces the drawing as a 'Reconstruction Based on the Roman Baths', and compares it with a Clérisseau drawing, 'Intérieur d'une chambre sepulchrale de ma composition' in The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia (2403; McCormick 1990, op.cit., fig.46, p.239). The latter seems likely to have been a drawing 'puisqu'il [Clérisseau] le donne à copier à l'un de ces élèves' (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.152). There is a smaller version of this drawing with a figure in The Hermitage (2558), which is most likely in Robert Adam's hand. An alternative source for Adam may be several of the pen sketches of c.1756 found in Adam volume 55. Bowron & Rishel view this composition as 'inspired by the remains of the great public bathing complexes of imperial Rome, which were the subject of an intensive survey he [Robert Adam] made during his last year there' (Bowron & Rishel 2000 op.cit., p.468).The two urns drawn in heavy black ink have been added to the composition by Adam.

Literature

Rep. Stillman 'Robert Adam's Grand Tour', Antiques Vol.83, June 1963, p.673; McCormick Charles-Louis Clérisseau and the Genesis of Neo-Classicism (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, 1990), fig.47, p.51; Bowron & Rishel (eds.) Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century (Philadelphia & London, 2000), catalogue of an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2000-1, p.469

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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