Zucchi ceiling in the Adam Library, Kenwood House

Antonio Zucchi

English Heritage

English Heritage
United Kingdom

The painted ceiling by Antonio Zucchi in the Robert Adam library. The ceiling paintings are oil on paper and the intricate platerwork is done by Joeseph Rose.

The Great Room (or Adam Library) functioned as the library of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, who commissioned the architects Robert and James Adam to design the space along with its furnishings. The Zucchi ceiling of the Adam Library was completed c.1769.

The delicate filigree of plaster work was executed to Adam’s design by Joseph Rose and incorporates festoons, demi-boys, swans, vases, anthemia (or Greek Honeysuckle) and rinceaux (or acanthus fronds). All motifs are taken from the repertoire of classical (and in particular) Roman architecture. The paint scheme of pale pinks, blues and white reflects Robert Adam’s use of light colours in his interiors, one of the characteristic features Adam's ‘revolutionary’ style. Rose’s plasterwork acts as a frame for the thirteen, Zucchi ceiling paintings. James Adam and Antonio Zucchi met in Italy in 1760. Three years later, he was persuaded by Robert and James Adam to come to London and work for the architectural practice as a decorative painter. Kenwood, was one of his first projects. As these are early paintings by Zucchi, the colours used by the artist still reflect much of his training in the late-Baroque or Venetian-Rococo style.


  • Title: Zucchi ceiling in the Adam Library, Kenwood House
  • Creator: Antonio Zucchi
  • Date Created: c.1769
  • Location: Kenwood House
  • Location Created: Kenwood House, Hampstead, London
  • Type: Ceiling paintings
  • Original Source: KENWOOD

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