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In this illustrated In Focus talk Dr Frances Sands, Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum, will discuss a series of drawings from c.1768-70 by the Adam brothers of a terraced house belonging to their celebrity friend, the actor David Garrick.  

The house was located at number 5 Royal Terrace, in the Adam brothers’ famous Adelphi, a development of over 60 unified neoclassical houses on a plot between The Strand and the River Thames, sadly demolished in 1936. The drawings for Garrick’s house are a good example of the Adams’ London work, being advertising material for the Adelphi, but also illustrate a significant moment in the brothers’ career: a catastrophic financial failure which instigated a chain of events ending with the Adam drawings collection arriving at the Soane Museum in 1833.

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In Focus is a series of lunchtime talks with Sir John Soane’s Museum curators and conservators in which they select an item from Soane’s vast and eclectic collection for an in-depth investigation. You will hear about the history and provenance of objects collected by Soane and have an opportunity to examine at close hand works from the collection not normally on display.

About the Speaker

Dr Frances Sands is Curator of Drawings and Books, Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. Fran’s research interests lie in early modern British architectural drawings. She has worked at Sir John Soane’s Museum since 2010, first as Catalogue Editor, tasked with cataloguing the office drawings collection of Robert and James Adam – a vast project which is still ongoing. In 2016 she was appointed the Curator of Drawings and Books, taking responsibility for the Soane Museum’s wider collection of 30,000 drawings and 7,000 books. She has curated various exhibitions, most recently Hidden Masterpieces at the Museum (2022) and publishes and lectures widely. Since 2010, Fran has also served as a Trustee of the York Georgian Society, the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, and sat on the advisory committee for the Grinling Gibbons Society’s Tercentenary exhibition.

About the Event

Please note that this event takes place in the Museum's Seminar Room at Number 14 Lincoln's Inn Fields. No food or drink is permitted in the room.

Your confirmation email serves as your ticket.  

Tickets are refundable up to 7 days before the event, after which point they are non-refundable or exchangeable. 

We are in a Grade I listed, 19th-century building, so access is not always straightforward. If you require step-free access or extra assistance, please contact us in advance of your booking on or 020 7405 2107.

Image: Finished drawing for the section through the house, c1768-70, as executed. Adam office hand, possibly William Hamilton or Joseph Bonom, with addition to title inscription in the hand of William Adam. SM Adam volume 42/61. Photograph by Ardon Bar Hama. 


Event Info

07 Jun 2023


Tickets: £5

Sir John Soane's Musuem