Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Preliminary designs for pediment sculpture, c1776-78, executed with minor alterations (3)



Preliminary designs for pediment sculpture, c1776-78, executed with minor alterations (3)


The central portion of the east range of Osterley was removed in c1763-64, but Adam did not design the famous open double portico, surmounted by a pediment until the following decade. The sculptural arrangement within the tympanum of the pediment was executed in accordance with Adam volume 52/81, with the exception of the central medallion, which contains a blank armorial shield. This all survives in situ.

Adam's two designs for griffons (Adam volumes 18/97-98) have long been associated with Osterley. The griffon is a standard motif within the Adam brothers' arsenal of decorative motifs, and these particular griffon designs may have been intended for numerous other projects. Indeed, one of the griffons is sitting, and the other reclining, suggesting that they are details for different designs. However, if they are for Osterley, it is here suggested that they are not intended as details for the ornamentation of the drawing room commode - as suggested by Tomlin - as they both show the beginning of a tail of rinceaux, which the griffon on the commode does not have. They griffons in the pediment at Osterley, however, do possess tails of rinceaux, and are, therefore, considerably closer in design to these drawings.



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).  

Contents of Preliminary designs for pediment sculpture, c1776-78, executed with minor alterations (3)