Robert Adam: Neo-Classical Architect and Designer

Detail from a ceiling design for 5 Adelphi Terrace, by Robert Adam, England, UK, about 1771. Museum no. W.43-1936

Detail from a ceiling design for 5 Adelphi Terrace, by Robert Adam, England, UK, about 1771. Museum no. W.43-1936

Robert Adam (1728–92) was one of the most important British architects working in the Neo-classical style. He was a main force in the development of a unified style that extended beyond architecture and interiors to include both the fixed and moveable objects in a room. He incorporated design ideas from ancient Greece and Rome into his forms and decoration. His famous London houses include Kenwood House, Osterley Park and Syon House.

Born in Kirkaldy, Scotland, Robert Adam was the son of the established architect William Adam, and followed him into the family practice. In 1754 he embarked on a ‘Grand Tour’, spending five years in France and Italy visiting classical sites and studying architecture. On his return Adam established his own practice in London with his brother James. Although classical architecture was already becoming popular, Adam developed his own style, known as the Adam style or Adamesque. This style was influenced by classical design but did not follow Roman architectural rules as strictly as Palladianism did.

The Adam interior

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