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  • image SM Adam volume 25/7

Reference number

SM Adam volume 25/7


[4] Design showing a plan of the top of a harpsichord case, 1774, unexecuted


Plan of the top of the harpsichord, drawn in outline with pencil-drawn ornament annotated, and reproduced to a slightly alternative design in full colour. The top is tripartite, with the two rectangular outer sections being ornamented with musical instruments enclosed by bands of enclosed anthemia, swags, husks, bows, musical instruments, and a border of enclosed double calyx. The central compartment of the top has a segmental section cut away for the player of the instrument, and is ornamented with a figurative panel, a coat of arms, swags of drapery, an urn, griffons, drops of calyx, musical instruments and peltoid shields


bar scale of 1 1/2 inch to 1 foot


Top of Harpsichord for The Empress of Russia

Signed and dated

  • 1774
    Adelphi / 1774

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, wash and coloured washes including pink, cerulean blue and Indian yellow on laid paper (443 x 595)


Adam office hand, possibly Joseph Bonomi


Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 57
King, 2001, Volume II, p. 25
Libin, 2001, pp. 355, 356, 360
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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