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Purpose

Finished drawing for the first drawing room ceiling, 1773; it is not known if this design was executed (1)

Notes

The first drawing room was located on the first storey, at the front of the house behind the three right-hand bays, between the ante room and the second drawing room. A plan of the house can be found in the second volume of The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam (part 1, plate 1).

According to Harris, this room would have functioned as the principal picture gallery within the house, as it had more unbroken wall space than any of the other reception rooms. Appropriately, therefore, the medallions in the executed ceiling are known to have been painted by Antonio Zucchi.

A rough preliminary design in Robert Adam's own hand, which corresponds with this finished drawing can be seen in Adam volume 52/141, which also includes a preliminary design for the ceiling of the ante room.

As the house was demolished in 1862, and this ceiling was not illustrated in the Works, it is not known if the first drawing room ceiling was executed in accordance with Adam's extant design.

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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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