Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: Rome: ? Baths of Caracalla. View along a pathway through a series of ruined vaults with the remains of coffering at the impost of the lower arch. Vegetation and small domestic structures are incorporated into the building.




Inscribed in ink 82

Dated/date range

Undated, probably 1755 or 1756.


Pencil, pen; grey, brown and blue washes

128 x 185


Charles-Louis Clérisseau (attributed to)


Adam vol.57/82


The scene depicted is likely to have been amongst the remains of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome and a similar arch to that shown here appears in Adam vol.57/83, and possibly again in 57/95. The compositions are similar to Piranesi's 1765 view of the interior of the Caracalla central hall, 'Rovine del Sisto o sia della gran sala delle Terme Antoniniane' in the Vedute di Roma. In July 1755 Robert Adam wrote that 'Signor Piranesi and Monsieur Clérisseau [went] to see the ancient thermae or baths of Caracalla, the ruins of which are most magnificent'. Adam worked with his draughtsmen on these Baths when making his abortive revision of A. B. Desgodetz, Les Édifices Antiques de Rome (Paris, 1682) in the autumn of 1756 (see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.217).

The size of the sheet, the nature of the paper and the style of drawing suggest that this and Adam vol.57/81 and 83 came originally from the same sketchbook.

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15 12 2006

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