Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: unidentified location ?near Lago d'Averno. View of the entrance to a tunnel through a round-headed arch recessed in a rocky cliff, with slit windows above. It is approached by a path over a small footbridge beside a waterfall.




Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Lago di S[tanzano?]; in ink 5

Dated/date range

Undated, probably 1755.


Pen and grey wash

266 x 230


Robert Adam


Adam vol. 57/5


This may be a drawing of the entrance to one of the tunnels around the Lago d'Averno, one of which was the Grotto of the Sibyl that Robert Adam referred to as 'The Infernal Lake, the Grotto of the Sybille, The Temple of Apollo' in his letter of April 1755 (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4769). The archway depicted is possibly the brick gateway and its ventilation shafts, although it might equally be the tunnel between the Lago d'Averno and Cumae. There is a view of the passageway beside the sea at the Grotto of Pausillipo in Abbé de Saint-Non's Voyage Pittoresque en Sicile et Naples, Paris, 1781-86, vol.II, p.165, and another one shown in Adam vol.57/8.

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03 11 2006

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