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  • Drawing
    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probable, made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink, pencil and yellow wash

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 229, box C

Chambers was born in Sweden and died in London. He travelled widely, visiting China, and studied architecture at the Ecole des Arts, Paris, from 1749 and in Italy from 1750 to 1755. Many of his drawings from this period are contained in his important 'Franco-Italian' album, held in the V&A. Chambers moved to London in 1755 and published his influential Treatise on Civil Architecture in 1759. Chambers demonstrated the breadth of his style in buildings such as Gower (later Carrington) House and Melbourne House, London, in such country houses as Duddingston, Scotland, and in the garden architecture he designed for Wilton House, Wiltshire, and at Kew Gardens. He became head of government building in 1782, and in this capacity built Somerset House, London.

Physical description

Plan of a triumphal arch. The plan, probably made in Italy, shows a colossal arch of complicated plan, an imaginative scheme for an almost unbuildable project. The arch is flanked at each side by a pair of detached columns. The opening at the front is wider than the openings on the other three sides. All four of the main legs of the arch are decorated with numerous attached pilasters and niches. In the centre of the archway is a smaller arch. This is square in plan. Each of the four corner legs is flanked by a pair of detached columns.

Place of Origin

Italy (probable, made)


18th century (made)


Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink, pencil and yellow wash

Marks and inscriptions

'Plan of a Triumphal Arch'
in ink


Height: 548 mm, Width: 379 mm

Object history note

Bought from E. Parsons, 1869.

Descriptive line

Plan of a triumphal arch; William Chambers

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Snodin Catalogue Number: 752


Pen and ink; Pencil; Wash


Architectural drawing

Subjects depicted

Triumphal arches




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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