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  • image SM Adam volume 31/16

Reference number

SM Adam volume 31/16


[19] Design for the first storey of the library, 1788, unexecuted


Plan of the first storey of an eleven-by-eleven-bay building, with a portico across the principal front. The central bays of the left and right-hand fronts have single-bay projections. Within there is a central, circular, colonnaded staircase set within an octagonal block. The block is surrounded by single-bay link blocks to the north, east, south and west, which connect to the surrounding wings, all of which contain bookcases. At each corner of the building there are smaller additional circular staircases. On the left-hand side of the principal building there is a nine-bay building with a central circular ante room, with curved, paired staircases to the rear. The ante room is surrounded by rooms for the librarians and clerks. On the right-hand side of the central building there is the footprint of the Senate House


to a scale


Plan of the one pair Story (and in the hand of William Adam, underwritten in pencil) for the Library of Kings College Cambridge / Clerks room / Clerks room / Antiroom / Librarians room / Librarians room / Staircase / Library 116. long / Library 28 wide / Library 116 long / Library 28 wide / Senate House / No. 26 (pencil) and some dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • September 1788
    Sept.r 1788 / A copy of this given to Mr. Stevenson / 20.t May 1789-

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and wash on laid paper (863 x 528)


Office hand, possibly Robert Morison, with part title inscription in the hand of William Adam


Copy for Kings College Cambridge / 6




Bolton, 1922, Volume II, pp. 173-79; Index, p. 6
King, 2001, Volume II, p. 54
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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