Rough preliminary design for a chimneypiece for the Chinese room, c1771-72, as executed (1)
This chimneypiece design was executed - albeit to a very different scale than implied here - by Sefferin Nelson in accordance with Adam's design. It houses nine double-sided eighteenth-century Chinese Daoist painted marble panels, and was intended for the Chinese room. This room is located immediately above the hall-cum-dining room on the north front of the house, and had originally been the upper hall. It became known as the Chinese room during Adam's time, owing to the panels in the chimneypiece. Then in 1796 it was renamed the north drawing room, and in 1815 the billiard room.
The drawing is not drawn to scale, but even the rough proportions are not accurate compared with the extant chimneypiece. As such this drawing functions very usefully as an example of Adam's early preliminary designs, and the way in which they express his thought process. In this case the details of the ornament appear to be of greater significance than the general scale and proportions of the whole.
Harris has compared this chimneypiece to Adam's 1771 pietra dura cabinet for the Duchess of Manchester at Kimbolton Castle, now at the V&A Museum, which also incorporated marble panels.