Student design for a villa with two domes: elevation, 1769
John Yenn RA (1750 - 1821)
RA Collection: Art
This drawing is Yenn's acceptance work to gain entrance to the newly formed Royal Academy Schools. The Royal Academy of Arts had been founded by King George III in 1768. One of the principal forces behind its foundation had been the architect Sir William Chambers, who acted as the first RA Treasurer. John Yenn was one of his young apprentices in his office, and the most talented in architectural draughtsmanship, so it was natural that Chambers should sponsor Yenn's admission as one of the first pupils to the RA Schools.
On the back of the drawing, Chambers attests that the work is Yenn's; he also signs and dates it 22 August 1769. Yenn has backed his drawing with a sheet of plain paper, but carefully cut out around the inscription to leave it visible.
The design, probably set by Chambers, is for some type of villa or nobleman's mansion, both typical set pieces. The elevation shows a one-storey building lined with Ionic columns, raised on a platform, and of five bays. The outer bays, identical to one another, are approached by flights of stairs to large doors beneath porticoes that are crowned by circular domes pierced by round windows and topped by statuary. The middle bay has a single window and is flanked by bays with niches containing urns.
The draughtmanship is very skilled for a 19-year old and typifies a style that Yenn was to never stray far from throughout his long career. Almost every year he submitted such elevations, although usually with added landscape behind, to the annual Royal Academy summer exhibition.
454 mm x 605 mm
Start exploring the RA Collection
- Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
- Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
Our Collection is a record of them.