This display commemorated the work and influences of Robert Adam, one of Scotland's most celebrated architects. Ran from 16 June to 18 September 2016.
room, from 'Works of
architecture' by Robert
Adam. [Library shelfmark:
A selection of our finest architectural books featured in 'The beautiful spirit of antiquity' display at the National Library of Scotland.
Items on show demonstrated how classical design and Enlightenment ideas influenced Robert Adam and the future of architecture.
Inspired by both classical Italian principles of proportion and Enlightenment thinking about individual interpretation of beauty, Robert Adam's designs are still admired 250 years later.
Robert Adam and architecture
Robert Adam (1728-1792) was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, the second son of the architect William Adam (1689-1748). To complete his education he spent two years studying in Rome. From his observations of Roman design, Adam learned to blend the architecture of the ancient world with his own inspirations.
Greatly influenced by classical Roman architecture, Robert Adam would have known the works of Vitruvius from the first century BC, and the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.
Read more about the influence of classical architecture.
Enlightenment philosophers such as David Hume developed new ways of thinking that encouraged architects to break with rules of proportion passed down from antiquity.
Read more about Adam and the Scottish Enlightenment.
Influences from the Grand Tour
Robert Adam toured around Europe, studying Roman architecture, learning architectural drawing and observing ruins in their natural surroundings.
Read more about influences from the Grand Tour.
'Works in architecture'
Bringing together ancient inspiration with Scottish Enlightenment ideas, Robert and James Adam produced 'Works in architecture', one of the finest architectural books of the 18th century.
Read more about 'Works in architecture'
The display marked VisitScotland's Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.