Robert Adam: The Long Gallery at Syon

Stephen Astley, Adriano Aymonino, Markus Lähteenmäki and Frances Sands

On 18 December 2015, Frances Sands and Stephen Astley took out two leather-bound volumes from the Robert Adam Archive and laid them on the long table in the first-floor library at Sir John Soane’s museum. Adriano Aymonino and Markus Lähteenmäki, the initiators and editors of the Soane Oral Project, joined them at the table. The event marked the beginning of a series of discussions planned around the architectural drawings held at at the museum, designed to record and disseminate the combined knowledge, expertise and points of view of different specialists.

This first conversation focused on three preparatory drawings for the Long Gallery at Syon House kept at the museum. The Long Gallery was one of the last rooms built at Syon House for the 1st Duke of Northumberland, an ambitious renovation project that took place between about 1760 and 1768 and involved at least half of the major rooms at ground-floor level.

A transcript of the conversation was first published in Drawing Matter Dialogues: The Long Gallery at Syon (2016) (out of print). Also included in the publication was architect Freddie Phillipson’s text ‘Impossible Architecture: Syon House and the Afterlife of Architectural Drawing’, which we recently republished. (Read here)