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Finished drawing for the Etruscan dressing room ceiling, executed with alterations, 1773 (1)


The Etruscan dressing room was Lady Stanley's dressing room, and it was located on the first storey of the house, in the middle of the rear wing, above the library, and between the great drawing room and the bedchamber. 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).

This was the first room in which Adam installed Etruscan themed interior decoration, although it is worthy of note that the design for this ceiling is almost identical to the central portion of an earlier dining room ceiling which Adam designed for 19 Grosvenor Square. The Etruscan dressing room ceiling is included in the second volume of the Works (part 1, plate 7), and is illustrated in accordance with this drawing. Adam's preface to this plate reads:

Ceiling, in the Etruscan Taste, exected in the Countess of Derby's Dressing-room. The ornaments are partly stucco, and partly in painting, in the colouring of the Etruscans.

Here it is suggested that the ceiling - in both Adam's drawing and the Works - is shown as executed. However, from observation of the rare coloured volumes of the Works, it is apparent that the executed ceiling made use of an alternative colour scheme to that shown in the drawing. The ceiling was lost when the house was demolished in 1862.



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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Contents of Finished drawing for the Etruscan dressing room ceiling, executed with alterations, 1773 (1)