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  • image SM Adam volume 1/14

Reference number

SM Adam volume 1/14


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


Elevation of a pedimented archway, articulated with Corinthian columns. The tympanum is ornamented with a roundel and swags, and the roofline is surmounted by a central draped figure, flanked by pairs of recumbent figures. The piers of the arch contain slit windows, with a rosette and a fluted string course above, and the spandrels are ornamented with reclining draped figures. To the right-hand side of this, there is a single-bay, balustraded archway and a single bay pavilion, with an entrance set within an Ionic aedicule. Above this there is a panel depicting trophies, a frieze of swags, and a plinth supporting a recumbent sphinx. To the left of the central arch there is an alternative composition for the first bay, which is formed with a blank arch containing a window and oculus (crossed through)


to a scale

Signed and dated

  • c1778

Medium and dimensions

Pencil on laid paper (366 x 236)


Robert Adam


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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