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  • image SM volume 42/56

Reference number

SM volume 42/56


Unfinished copy of design


Part plan of ceiling with concentric circular panels arranged about a roundel containing a classical scene, double-scroll and dart enrichment, portrait medallions within semicircles, and rinceau and drops with inverted lambrequins towards the perimeter; details of mouldings labelled A, B.B. and C and of portrait medallion labelled BD, and (feint pencil) part plan of another ceiling


bar scale of 1/3 in to 1 ft


as above, Library at Lord Ashburnham / Mr Adams Inv-, 20 feet by 17.6 and some other dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • badly-nested tags: br

Medium and dimensions

Pen on laid paper with two fold marks (191 x 309)


copied by Soane, Robert Adam (1728-92) or his office


Britannia with spear, shield and olive branch within a crowned oval frame


There are a number of drawings in the Adam Collection at the Soane Museum for Ashburnham House. These include a more fully detailed variant plan to a larger scale for the library ceiling dated 19 June 1773 (volume 8/124) that has circular panels and portrait medallions though the latter are female and full face and also, for example, the perimeter circle is composed of olive leaf wreaths containing anthemion. Thus Soane's part-copy of an Adam drawing dated 25 July is the later of the two designs. Interestingly it also indicates that Soane had access to Adam's drawing office. Ashburnham House, 19 (later 30) Dover Street, London was altered for 2nd Earl of Ashburnham, 1773-6 by Robert Adam and since demolished (Colvin, 1995).See also 42/151 for a tracing of a drawing for the ceiling of the anteroom at Asburnham House, 1773. {cannot find when demolished or photos of library ceiling}



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).