33 Facts About Robert Adam


Robert Adam was a British neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer.


Robert Adam was the son of William Adam, Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him.


Robert Adam held the post of Architect of the King's Works from 1761 to 1769.


Robert Adam was a leader of the first phase of the classical revival in England and Scotland from around 1760 until his death.


Robert Adam influenced the development of Western architecture, both in Europe and in North America.


Robert Adam served as the member of Parliament for Kinross-shire from 1768 to 1774.


From 1734 at the age of six Robert Adam attended the Royal High School, Edinburgh where he learned Latin until he was 15, he was taught to read works by Virgil, Horace, Sallust and parts of Cicero and in his final year Livy.

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Students could choose three elective subjects, Robert Adam attended classes in mathematics, taught by Colin Maclaurin, and anatomy, taught by Alexander Monro primus.


Robert Adam's studies were interrupted by the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highlanders, who occupied Edinburgh during the 1745 Jacobite rising.


Robert Adam assisted William Adam on projects such as the building of Inveraray Castle and the continuing extensions of Hopetoun House.


From his father, Robert Adam inherited an extensive library and extended it.


Robert Adam immediately took Robert into partnership, later to be joined by James Adam.


Robert Adam took the opportunity for architectural study, visiting Wilton, designed by Inigo Jones, and the Queens Hermitage in Richmond by Roger Morris.


Robert Adam joined Charles Hope-Weir, brother of the Earl of Hopetoun in Brussels and together they travelled to Rome.


Robert Adam stayed on in Rome until 1757, studying classical architecture and honing his drawing skills.


Robert Adam's tutors included the French architect and artist Charles-Louis Clerisseau, and the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi.


Robert Adam returned to Britain in 1758 and set up in business in London with his brother James Adam.


Palladian design was popular, and Robert Adam designed a number of country houses in this style, but he evolved a new, more flexible style incorporating elements of classical Roman design alongside influences from Greek, Byzantine and Baroque styles.


In 1768 the Robert Adam brothers purchased a 99-year lease for a marshy plot of land beside the Thames in Westminster, where they built a 24-house terrace development known as the Adelphi.


The houses were built on a huge artificial terrace resting on vaulted substructures on the level of the Thames, which Robert Adam was certain could be leased to the British government as warehouses.


However, this interest failed to materialize, and the Robert Adam brothers were left with huge debts and in 1772 had to lay off 3,000 workmen and cease building.


Robert Adam himself moved into one of the houses in the Adelphi, along with supportive friends like David Garrick and Josiah Wedgewood, who opened a showroom for his ceramics in one of the houses.


Robert Adam was elected a fellow of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in 1758 and of the Society of Antiquaries in 1761, the same year he was appointed Architect of the King's Works.


Robert Adam rejected the Palladian style, as introduced to England by Inigo Jones, and advocated by Lord Burlington, as "ponderous" and "disgustful".


Robert Adam developed a new style of architectural decoration, one which was more archaeologically accurate than past Neoclassical styles, but nonetheless innovative and not bound only by ancient precedents.

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Robert Adam's work had influenced the direction of architecture and design across the western world.


In Europe, Robert Adam notably influenced Charles Cameron, the Scotsman who designed Tsarskoye Selo and other Russian palaces for Catherine the Great.


However, by the time of his death, Robert Adam's neoclassicism was being superseded in Britain by a more severe, Greek phase of the classical revival, as practised by James "Athenian" Stuart.


The Adam brothers employed several draughtsmen who would go on to establish themselves as architects, including George Richardson, and the Italian Joseph Bonomi, who Robert originally hired in Rome.


Robert Adam had long suffered from stomach and bowel problems, probably caused by a peptic ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome.


Mr Robert Adam produced a total change in the architecture of this country: and his fertile genius in elegant ornament was not confined to the decoration of buildings, but has been diffused to every branch of manufacture.


Robert Adam's talents extend beyond the lie of his own profession: he displayed in his numerous drawings in landscape a luxuriance of composition, and an effect of light and shadow, which have scarcely been equalled.


Coutts Bank, John Robert Adam Street, demolished and replaced with this building.