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Alternative designs for the hall, 1761, executed with alterations (2)


The entrance hall is located in the centre of the west range at Syon. Its double cube size had been dictated by the pre-existing fabric, but Adam was commissioned to redecorate. He began work here in 1761, installing a Roman-style interior, with bas reliefs by Joseph Wilton. The decorative scheme was executed in accordance with Adam volumes 27/35 and 39/3, but with alterations. There is no chimneypiece within the alcove at one end of the room (as seen in Adam volume 27/35), but instead Adam designed a pedestal (Adam volume 49/47) to support a cast of the Apollo Belvedere. At the other end of the room the executed wall is an alternative to both drawings, with a central door within a large and deep relieving arch - or arched recess - accessed by curving staircases hidden by a statue of the Dying Gaul.

There is a sideboard table in the room which is not shown in these laid out wall elevations, and nor is there a drawing for its design. It is, however, undoubtedly by Adam, and too large to have been intended for any other room in the house. Its location within the hall - currently in front of a statue of the Dying Gaul - is probably not original, however, as it is ornamented all the way around the table rail, suggesting that it was intended to stand in a location where it could be seen from every angle.

There are four engravings of the hall at Syon in The works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam. Volume I contains a section of both ends of the room, and an engraving containing various ornamental details, and volume II contains a section of the room, and further details.



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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 Alternative designs for the hall, 1761, executed with alterations (2)