Antonio Zucchi’s Portrait of James Adam, dating from 1763, depicts Adam who, along with his brother Robert, created the splendid villa which now sits on the northern edge of Hampstead Heath between 1767 and about 1779.
The Adams’ first encountered Zucchi while on a “grand tour” in Italy and engaged him as their draughtsman, recording what they were seeing.
They subsequently had him decorate ceilings and walls at Kenwood and his signature was also recently discovered on the painting of Adam – the only known portrait the artist completed – after it was cleaned.
The painting depicts Adam as both architect and “man of fashion” and shows his interest in classical statues and ornamentation, showing the famous Medici vase in the background.
The painting hadn’t been seen by the public since 1867. The painting, loaned to English Heritage – managers of Kenwood House – by Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd in New York, can be seen until 4th January.
WHERE: Kenwood House, off Hampstead Lane, Hampstead Heath (nearest Tube stations are Golders Green and Archway/nearest rail is Gospel Oak and Hampstead Heath); WHEN: daily, 10am to 5pm; COST: Free; WEBSITE: www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenwood.
PICTURE: Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd.