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Antonio Zucchi (Venice 1726-1795 Rome)
PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN (LOT 202)
Antonio Zucchi (Venice 1726-1795 Rome)

Portrait of James Adam (1732-1794), three-quarter-length, in an embroidered waistcoat and fur-lined blue coat, holding a pair of compasses, and a scroll, leaning on a capital, in an interior

Details
Antonio Zucchi (Venice 1726-1795 Rome)
Portrait of James Adam (1732-1794), three-quarter-length, in an embroidered waistcoat and fur-lined blue coat, holding a pair of compasses, and a scroll, leaning on a capital, in an interior
indistinctly signed and dated 'Antio Zuc... ae fecit Anno 1763' (partially strengthened, lower right)
oil on canvas
68 x 48½ in. (172.8 x 123.2 cm.)
Provenance
J. Lupton Lister, Deans Court, Doctors Commons, London; Christie's, London, 5 December 1863, lot 67, as 'Pompeio Battoni[sic.], Portrait of Sir William Chambers - admirably painted' (31 gns. to Anthony).
Baron John Bonde (1918-2009), a descendent of the Adam family; Christie's, London, 26 June 1964, lot 106.
Literature
J. Swarbrick, Robert Adam and his Brothers, London, 1915, pp. 141-2, fig. 101, where described as of Robert Adam.
J. Steegman, ‘Some English Portraits by Pompeo Batoni’, The Burlington Magazine, LXXXVII, March 1946, p. 60, no. 32, as 'Batoni'.
A. Smart, 'An unknown portrait of James Adam', The Burlington Magazine, XCVI, April 1954, p. 102, as 'Batoni'.
J. Fleming, 'Allan Ramsay and Robert Adam in Italy', The Conoisseur, March 1956, p. 83, fig. 9.
J. Fleming, Robert Adam & his Circle, London, 1962, p. 261, pl. 88, as 'Batoni'.
J. Fleming, 'Robert Adam the Grand Tourist', Cornhill Magazine, no. 1004.
H. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, London, 1978, p. 44; 3rd edition, New Haven and London, 1995, p. 46, as 'Batoni'.
A.M. Clark, ed. E.P. Bowron, Pompeo Batoni, Oxford, 1985, p. 373, as 'not by Batoni'.
Exhibited
London, South Kensington, National Portraits, 1867, no. 583, as of Robert Adam.

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Lot Essay

James Adam (1732-1794) was the third son of William Adam (1689-1748), the leading Scottish architect of his generation. Like his elder brothers, John and Robert, he in turn became an architect. Following the example of Robert, he travelled to Italy in 1760, returning in 1763. He travelled extensively in Italy, and dealt in works of art, acting as agent on behalf of his brother’s patron, John, 3rd Earl of Bute, in the purchase of the drawings collection of Cardinal Albani for King George III. On his return to Britain, James worked in partnership with his brother Robert, and designed a number of buildings independently.
That the portrait is signed by Zucchi, no other portrait by whom is apparently recorded, has rather surprisingly been overlooked until now. Zucchi’s talents as an engraver had been recognized by Robert Adam in 1757. James Adam met Zucchi in Venice in 1760 and planned to employ him as draftsman for a projected Antiquities of Magna Grecia: the artist travelled with him to Rome, where they arrived in February 1761. Adam travelled in some style, and wrote that he was the only artist in Rome who ‘keeps his own coach and assumes the title of Cavalieri’ (Fleming, op. cit., p. 281): Zucchi’s portrait is a clear expression of this pretension. Inspired by portraits of those on the Grand Tour by Batoni, Adam is shown both as an architect and a man of fashion, with a particular interest in classical statuary and ornament. Adam regarded Zucchi as ‘a worthy honest lad, a most singular character in this degenerate country’ but failed to persuade him to come to England and work for the Adam firm on his return in 1763. In 1766, however, he accepted an invitation from Robert Adam to work for this. Zucchi's abilities as a decorative painter are demonstrated in many of Adam’s most celebrated houses, including Harewood, Kenwood, Kedleston, Newby, Nostell, Osterley and Saltram, as well as a number of outstanding London houses. In 1781 Zucchi married Angelica Kauffmann and settled with her in Rome.

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