Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: Rome: the Forum Boarium. View of the Forum Boarium (Bocca della Verita) showing the Temple of Sibyl or Portunus (familiarly but erroneously called the Temple of Vesta), with the campanile of Santa Maria in Cosmedin behind, and a view to the River Tiber.




Inscribed in ink 47. On the album leaf, under the drawing in pencil in a contemporary hand Wanted Imagined to be the temple of Vesta / Lent to Brunias

Dated/date range

Undated, probably 1755 or 1756.


Pencil, pen, brown washes on brown washed paper

165 x 287


Robert Adam


Adam vol.57/47


There are several sketches by Robert Adam of this picturesque area showing the Priory of the Knights of Malta (see Adam vol.57/86 and vol.57/104). The viewpoint is similar to that shown in Piranesi's print of 1753/54 from his Vedute di Roma, which makes a similar emphasis on the vernacular buildings adjoining the temple (see M. Campbell, Piranesi, Rome Recorded, New York, 1990, pp.71-72). The view in Adam vol.57/125 may also show the circular temple. There is also a pen and wash drawing in the Clerk Collection, Scotland of the temple with Triton fountain in the foreground (Clerk 33). The ancient circular temple of twenty Corinthian columns, Temple of Sybil, was later converted into the Church of Santa Maria del Sole (S. Stefano delle Carozze).

The pencil inscription on the album leaf is in a hand similar to that found in the Clerk volume, where a few drawings are also identified in this fashion. On the album leaf is the remains of the lower right corner of an earlier drawing on grey paper, which has been torn from the album.

Agostino Brunias returned with Robert Adam to London and was with the office there until c.1770, which possibly suggests an early date for the arrangement of this volume and the Clerk volume (see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and his Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.360).

The use of brown-washed paper can also be found at Adam vol.57/86 and 141.

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06 10 2006

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