Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: Mergellina: 'Tomb of Virgil'. View of the so-called Tomb of Virgil at Mergellina in its landscape setting. In the background is a pathway and steps, leading to Posilippo.




Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Virgile Napole; in ink 21

Dated/date range

Undated, probably April 1755.


Pencil, brown, blue and grey washes

205 x 293


Robert Adam


Adam vol.57/21


This is Robert Adam's version of the drawing of Virgil's Tomb by Charles-Louis Clérisseau in Adam vol.57/16, and is the more prosaic, albeit more honest, version. Adam has not shown the distant prospect over the bay at Posilippo that gave Clérisseau's drawing both depth and greater interest. A plan and description of the tomb is given in Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.X. Adam wrote from Naples on 8 April 1755 that he had seen the 'Tomb of Virgil' and its antiquity 'induced me to make several sketches of it' (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4769); this drawing is presumably one of these sketches.

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11 11 2006

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