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Stuart office finished drawing for a chimneypiece, possibly for the dressing room, 1766(?), unexecuted (1)

Notes

In February 1767 Elizabeth Montagu wrote to Lord Kames at Blair Drummond that 'He [Adam] has made me a ceiling and chimney piece, and doors, which are pretty enough to make me a thousand enemies.' From this evidence, it appears that Adam had been responsible for the chimneypiece in the dressing room, but his drawing does not survive, and neither does his chimneypiece.

In 2013 Stephen Astley attributed this design for a chimneypiece for Mrs Montagu to James Stuart, and the draughtsmanship to the Stuart office. It is likely, therefore, that the inscribed date in an Adam office hand is incorrect, and that it had been produced either before Adam's work at the house, or afterwards. That this Stuart design survives within the Adam drawings collection suggests that it was intended for the dressing room (described in the pencil inscription as the little drawing room), but this is not certain. Moreover, the extant chimneypiece within the dressing room - which has been attributed to Stuart by Baird - does not follow this design.

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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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