Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: Pozzuoli: Arco Felice. View of the ruined Arco Felice, which shows the vaulting of an aqueduct above a pathway.




Inscribed in ink 32

Dated/date range

Undated, probably 1755.


Pencil, pen, grey and brown washes

235 x 271


Robert Adam


Adam vol.57/32


This drawing is Robert Adam's version of the Arco Felice; Charles-Louis Clérisseau's version of the same view is found in Adam vol.57/31. The principal differences between the two drawings are in the handling of the superstructure and in the scale of the composition. This is the case with their respective works throughout the Neapolitan tour, where Adam's drawings are both more accurate and and also simplified in their treatment of detail, but duller and somewhat empty in compositional terms. This is very clear if a comparison is made with the drawing of their near contemporary Giovanni Battista Natali (1698-1765) in Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.XLV.

This view was probably drawn when Adam visited Cuma after 8 April 1755; he wrote from the town that 'there are many temples & other antiquities' (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4796).

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24 11 2006

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