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  • image SM Adam volume 49/29

Reference number

SM Adam volume 49/29


[32] Unfinished presentation drawing for a large epergne, c1781


Elevation of an elaborate, canopied epergne with eleven visible legs, four of them in the form of winged sphinxes, and the rest are volutes. The table rail is fringed with crockets and ornamented with guilloche, and supported urns containing pencil-drawn fruit. The canopy is supported by thirteen visible columns in the form of palms, and from it hang twelve lanterns and two further bowls of fruit. The canopy is largely material but is surmounted by a framework dome supporting an urn, and ornamented with anthemia, and a chinoiserie style framework lantern ornamented with anthemia, fans, and further palm columns


to a scale, about half size


Epergne for Lord Mansfield (in pencil) / Eperge (sic) for Lord Mansfield (in the hand of William Adam) (verso) Lord Mansfield Epergne (in pencil)

Signed and dated

  • 1781
    datable to 1781

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and coloured washes including Indian yellow, terre verte and pink on laid paper (1650 x 958)


Adam office hand, possibly Robert Morison


Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 19
Bryant, 1990, p. 10
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



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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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