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  • image SM Adam volume 21/47

Reference number

SM Adam volume 21/47


[3] Alternative preliminary design for a triumphal arch, c1778, unexecuted


Elevation of a three-bay, rusticated arch, articulated with Corinthian columns, and with a frieze of swags and rosettes. Above this there is a further frieze of enclosed fluting, with a central inscribed tablet. The arch is pedimented, and within the tympanum there is a roundel depicting a portcullis, and all this is surmounted by a central figure depicting Britannia, flanked by a lion and unicorn. The double-height, central archway is flanked by stepped entrances, with a fluted string course and figurative panels above. To the left there is a single-bay, balustraded link, containing a blank arch with the spandrels ornamented with roundels. Beyond this there is a single-bay gateway, surmounted by military trophies


not to scale

Signed and dated

  • c1778

Medium and dimensions

Pen and pencil on laid paper (293 x 185)


Robert Adam




King, 2001, Volume II, p. 57
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



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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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