Design In Process

Drafting: interior finishes

Robert Adam and J. Johnson's proposals for interior elevations and decorations

Design drawing showing the four elevations of a library, Mamhead, 1766-69
Pen and ink with grey wash
Designer: Robert Adam
© Victoria and Albert Museum. Museum number: D.2174-1896


Robert Adam's neoclassical interiors were the epitome of style in late 18th century London. Adam's architectural practice, some 200-staff strong, kept demanding patrons happy by producing highly detailed, quality drawings of proposed interiors.

This drawing details a small neoclassical library. The room was part of a proposal to extend and redesign the home of Lord Lisburne at Mamhead, Devon. First, all the elevations were drawn, replete with fully detailed friezes, pilasters, statuettes and mouldings, across a single sheet of paper. This ensured that all the panelling was aligned, but to help the client understand the drawing, it was cut and pasted onto another board. The resulting composition shows all four walls and the room's basic plan. Although drawn to gain the homeowner's approval of the scheme, the accuracy of the rendering might have been presented as an aide to the craftsmen working on the project.

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