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Design showing laid out wall elevations for the great dining room, c1767-69, executed with minor alterations (1)


Adam’s dining room spans the southern end of the ground storey of the principal block, between the sculpture gallery and the ante room and staircase. It is composed of a rectangular room with screened apsidal ends. Adam created the space by knocking together two older rooms on the south front. In 1807 a new dining room was built on the other side of the house, and at that time Adam’s dining room was transformed into a library by the addition of bookcases in the apses and on the window piers. In this altered state the room is reminiscent of the library at Kenwood.

Adam’s ceiling in the room was originally painted blue, buff and black. According to Eileen Harris, this was Adam’s earliest attempt at the Etruscan style, and Peter Leach has described it rather well as ‘tentatively Etruscan’. The Etruscan style was bolstered by the addition of Etruscan style furnishings designed in 1775-84. It has been suggested that the Etruscan furniture in Adam’s dining room at Newby was inspired by that which Adam had designed for Weddell’s brother-in-law, Sir John Ramsden, at Byram Hall, Ferrybridge, but observation of the drawings show that it was the other way around, and the designs for Newby predate those for Byram by around five years. Very little of the Etruscan scheme in Adam’s dining room survives as the furniture has largely been lost or moved, and the ceiling colour scheme has been lightened to blue, buff and red.

There is an Adam office grey-washed finished drawing duplicate of this design at the West Yorkshire Archive Service in Morley (WYL5013/D/1/7/1).



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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