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Preliminary design and alternative record drawings for a ceiling for the saloon, 1767, Adam volume 11/227 as executed (3)

The saloon was the principal reception room of the house, located on the central axis of the house behind the top hall: at the centre of the west front, and with a view over the lake.

Adam sent his first designs for the saloon – a set of laid out wall elevations – to Nostell in November 1767. At the same time, he sent a working drawing for the frieze which does not survive. John Austin, the Adam office clerk, sent drawings for the ceiling and frieze in May 1770. Austin also sent drawings for the niche head, pilaster capitals, niche scree soffit, and a mirror frame in December 1770.

Paine had also intended to use this room as the saloon, and had installed a coved ceiling, but Adam redesigned this cove, even insisting that it be removed and rebuilt again in 1770 when his craftsmen had built it to the wrong depth.

Joseph Rose (junior) began work on the saloon ceiling in 1770, charging a total of £328.8s for his work in the room. His ceiling was painted in 1773, and survives in situ. In addition to this, and also surviving, are Antonio Zucchi’s overdoor medallions and ruinscapes which arrived at Nostell in August 1776, and Sefferin Nelson’s curtain cornices, which are thought to have been designed by Adam but for which no drawings survive.

Further to the drawings at the Soane Museum, there are several other Adam office drawings for the saloon in other collections. In the National Trust drawings collection at Nostell Priory there are two alternative unexecuted laid out wall elevations of 1767-68, one of which shows the room as executed; a record drawing showing the executed design for the ceiling, and corresponding with Adam volume 11/227; and a design of 17 March 1768 for the various mouldings in the room, some as executed. In the private drawings collection of Lord St Oswald there is an unexecuted alternative design for the ceiling which duplicates the design shown in Adam volumes 8/77 and 11/228; a finished drawing showing the executed design for the ceiling, and corresponding with Adam volume 11/227; Antonio Zucchi’s cartoons for the medallions; and a design for a pier glass frame of c1770.
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