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  • image SM Adam volume 42/39

Reference number

SM Adam volume 42/39


[3] Design for a house, as executed, c1786


Elevation of a two-storey, five-bay house with a pitched roof. The central three bays are recessed, and the central bay has a stepped entrance with pediment supported by Doric columns. There are quarter-height windows at basement level, full-height windows above, and with three-quarter-windows in the upper register. The basement and ground storey are rusticated. At first storey there is a tablet ornamented with swags and rosettes. The central three bays are flanked by projecting bays, which form pedimented pavilions, with ground-storey balustraded Venetian windows set within relieving arches, and with a fan ornament above. The right bay has rustication at basement and ground storey. The left bay omits the rustication and is shown with a band of Vitruvian scroll at first storey


bar scale of 1 inch to 10 feet


Elevation of a house for General Hamilton (in the hand of William Adam, underwritten in pencil) / (and in pencil) 5 by 3.6 old Bed Chamber / 6 by 3.6 ¼ Ground Story / faint pencil annotations (left) and some dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • c1786

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and wash on laid paper (424 x 271)


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


The principal elevation towards the Steine is shown with varying compositions. The executed design is shown to the left, with minor alterations. The executed elevation has rustication at basement level, interestingly rendered with pebbles, a popular construction method in Brighton at this time. The remaining façade is quite possibly rendered in Liardet’s patent composition, of which the Adam office was the sole licensee, a treatment they first used for the south elevation of Kenwood House in 1767. The ground floor windows appear to have been executed without the fan ornamentation shown within the relieving arches, and the pencil addition of a band of Vitruvian scroll beneath the first storey window is executed as scrolled hearts. The original three-panel door survives, with its pediment bearing a frieze of strigils and capitals ornamented with cameos, and with a lunette window above.


Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 55
Miele, 1998, pp. 158, 160
King, 2001, Volume I, p. 135
McKean (ed.), 2017, p. 10
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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