Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: Pozzuoli: the Forum. View of the ruins of the market building at Pozzuoli, showing the remains of the central circular pavilion surrounded on four sides by a portico, of which three columns remain. In the background are more ruins and a castello.




Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Puzzoli; in ink 35

Dated/date range

Undated, probably 1755.


Pencil, pen, brown, grey and blue washes

228 x 513 (two joined sheets)


Dove on monti in circle


Charles-Louis Clérisseau


Robert Adam, The Creative Mind: from the sketch to the finished drawing Catalogue of an exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, 1996, and New York (1997-8), Los Angeles (1998), Washington (1998) and Edinburgh (1999), Cat.5


A. A. Tait, Robert Adam, The Creative Mind: from the sketch to the finished drawing, catalogue of an exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 1996, cat.5, illus. p.2


Adam vol.57/35


This view by Charles-Louis Clérisseau clearly sets out the new excavations and reconstruction of the market area of Pozzuoli dating from the first half of the 2nd century AD. It was a successful attempt to make what is largely an archaeological drawing stimulating and attractive, in the style of similar drawings by Piranesi. The more conventional bird's-eye view of the site is shown in Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.XLII, and, rather more attractively, in Filippo Morghen, Le Antichita di Pozzuoli, Baja e Cuma, 1769, pl.II. Abbé de Saint-Non, Voyage Pittoresque en Sicile et Naples, Paris, 1781-6, vol. II, p.162, shows an imaginative depiction of the ruins, partly reconstructed. A version of Clérisseau's view was issued as one of a suite of 14 prints by Domenico Cunego in London in 1766. 

For an account of the site and its appeal in the late eighteenth century, see I. Jenkins and K. Sloan, Vases and Volcanoes, catalogue of an exhibition at the British Museum, London, 1996 pp.164-5.

Clerisseau's drawing, using two joined sheets of paper, is of similar size to those in Adam vol.57/12 and 57/30.

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24 11 2006

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