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  • image SM Adam volume 47/9

Reference number

SM Adam volume 47/9


[2] Finished drawing for the first storey of the opera house, c1789, unexecuted


Plan of the first storey of the opera house, with the principal block formed with the central eleven bays receding, and with a stepped portico for the central five bays. Beyond this there are balconies leading to paired, curved staircases, which form the King’s and Queen’s stairs. In the southern part of the principal block there is a horse-shoe-shaped auditorium, with a curved north wall. The pit has bench seating, surrounded by boxes with an access passageway beyond. The stage is positioned to the south of the auditorium, and has colonnades and wing flats to the east and west. To the east of the auditorium there is a green room with access to the rear of the stage, a royal antechamber, and tavern parlours. To the west there is a painting room for scenery, which is linked to the rear of the stage by multiple entrances. Beyond this there is a nine-bay assembly room, which is divided by columnar screens, and a further three-bay assembly room, flanked by apsidal-ended rooms, set with entrance screens. To the north of the auditorium there is an oval, colonnaded ballroom, with steps leading down to a central space. This is encircled by a passageway, and has corner apses, and columnar screened entrances to the north, south, east and west. To the south of the principal block there is an additional block with a footprint as SM Adam volume 47/8, with steps linking the rotunda to the rear of the stage. To the north of the principal block there is a plan of the annexe tavern building, with a central bifurcated staircase, set with columnar screens. This leads to an apsidal-ended room with screened entrances, and is flanked by further rooms, and smaller staircases. A central bridge links to the principal block, and this is flanked by smaller apsidal-ended bridges


bar scale of 1 inch to 10 feet


Plan of the [Principal] story of the Opera House shewing the Pit & lower Boxes with the Ballroom & Assembly rooms, the Tavern [_ _] [_ _ _] [_ _ _ _ _ _] [_ _ _] [_ _ _ _] [_ _ _ _ _ _] [_ _ _ _] (in pencil) / No 9 (in pencil) / Painting room 24 by 32.6 / 25.6 / 15.0 / 50.0 / 15.0 / 25.6 / Grand Assembly room for Dancing, Supping, or maskd Ballroom, Card playing &tc. 139 feet long by 32.6 wide / 15.6 / 60.0 / Great Assembly room for Entertainments &tc. 89.0 by 32.6 / 7.0 / Scenes / Scenes / 17.6 diam / 9.0 / Ridotto or Cotillion room 35 by 50 / 9.0 / Green room 17 by 28 / Kings stairs / Royal antechamber 17 by 28 / Tavern Parlor 21 by 20 / Tavern Parlor 23 by 21 / Anti room or Occasional Parlor 16 by 32 / Card room or Occasional Parlor 17 by 28.6 / Queen’s Stairs / Billiard room or Occasional Par[lor] 17 by 28.6 / faint pencil inscriptions

Signed and dated

  • c1789

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and wash within a single ruled border on laid paper (1132 x 555)


Office hand, possibly Robert Morison or Daniel Robertson


Notations, modern curatorial hand


Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 40
Sheppard, 1960, Volume XXIX, (i), p. 249
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



Exhibition history

Original Drawings of Robert and James Adam, Kenwood House, London, 1953

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

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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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