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  • image SM Adam volume 14/16

Reference number

SM Adam volume 14/16


[3] Finished drawing for a ceiling for the auditorium, 1776, unexecuted


Plan of a tapering rhomboid compartmental ceiling, divided by bands of Greek key fret, shown alternatively in gilding and black, and with a border of rosettes enclosed within acanthus leaves along the wide end, and there are a variety of different ornamental compartments, containing medallions, figurative tablets, rosettes enclosed within octagons and lozenges, and fans, and with pencil annotations on the right-hand side continuing the ornamentation as if the ceiling were rectangular


bar scale of 3/10 inch to 1 foot


Sketch of a Coloured Ceiling which is contrived to correspond with the inside finishing of the side, front and Stage of the / Theatre / And nothing is absolutely fixed as to the method of finishing or mode of colouring. It might be done of Lath and Plaister / and Stucco Mouldings, the Pictures painted and pasted up and the Gildings or plain coloured Grounds done whenever the / plaister is dry enough to receive it, which at this Season of the Year would not be long. / over the King's Box / over the King's Box

Signed and dated

  • 1776
    Adelphi / 1776.

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, wash and coloured washes including yellow ochre, olive green, and pink on laid paper (443 x 567)


Adam office hand, possibly Joseph Bonomi


Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 37
Stillman, 1966, p. 105
Survey of London, p. 45 and pl. 10b
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



Exhibition history

'The Cloud-Capped Towers': Shakespeare in Soane's Architectural Imagination, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 21 April - 8 October 2016

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

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).