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  • image SM Adam volume 1/13

Reference number

SM Adam volume 1/13


[7] Preliminary design for a triumphal arch, c1778, unexecuted


Elevation of a pedimented, triumphal arch with alternative compositions. The central archway is shown with both a pitched and flat roof, surmounted by a central inscribed plinth supporting a shield, and this is flanked by a recumbent sphinx. The spandrels of the arch contain winged figures and above this there is a figurative tablet. To the right-hand side of the central arch there is a further three-bay arch, set behind a screen of fluted Corinthian columns. The central arch is ornamented with a band of guilloche, and the piers contain arched entrances, with a fluted string course, figurative roundel and a frieze of festoons above. All this is surmounted by plinths bearing statuary, with tablets set between. The left-hand side of the central arch is articulated by paired, giant Corinthian columns, and the pier contains narrow slit windows. Beyond this there is a single-bay link building containing an arch, and a single-bay pavilion, with an arched entrance. The entrance is set within an Ionic aedicule and this is surmounted by a tablet


to a scale

Signed and dated

  • c1778

Medium and dimensions

Pencil on laid paper (421 x 268)


Robert Adam


J KOOL surmounted by a fleur-de-lis within a crowned cartouche


The composition of this drawing, with its alternatives, forms a preliminary for both Adam’s first and second design for a triumphal arch.


For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



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.

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