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Design for the chimneypiece for the back drawing room, c1770-71, executed with alterations (1)

Notes

This chimneypiece was executed with minor alterations to Adam’s design, with oval enclosed rosettes in the capitals rather than urns, the drops in the stiles were hung from bows rather than rosettes, and the frieze was ornamented with alternating trophies and enclosed rosettes. It survived to be photographed by the LCC in 1936, and was sold at auction in the same year.

The design is a close variant of that designed by Adam in 1766 for Lady Shelburne’s bedchamber at Shelburne House (Adam volume 22/113). The Shelburne House chimneypiece design was inscribed by Adam in pencil with the words, 10t House, Back Parlor, corresponding with the intended location of this design, albeit in the Back Parlor rather than the back drawing room. Moreover, this drawing is inscribed with pencil, Mansfield Street, showing that like so many drawings of the 1760s being reused at the Adelphi, it would appear that Adelphi drawings were considered for reuse at Mansfield Street.

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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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