Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Born in Kirkcaldy in 1728 and educated in Edinburgh, Robert Adam was the son of architect William Adam, the most famous Scottish architect of his time.
Robert Adam became friends with other future famous names of the Scottish Enlightenment, such as David Hume and Adam Smith.
The Grand Tour
Adam was fascinated with the art of drawing and the architecture of the classical world, and travelled through France and Italy on his Grand Tour from 1755 until 1757.
In Rome, he studied drawing and architecture and sketched classical ruins. He made contacts that would help him to establish an office in London with his brothers, James and John, on his return.
The Adams brothers
In their joint architecture practice, the Adams brothers established the 'Adam style', inspired by Italian classical wall paintings, Roman design, and Enlightenment ideals.
They saw continued success through the 1760s, until they almost ruined themselves with the speculative and ambitious Adelphi scheme of 1768-1772.
'The works in architecture'
Beginning publication in 1773, James and Robert Adam sought to re-establish themselves with 'The works in architecture', one of the finest architectural books of the 18th century.
The engravings showcased their successes and helped to establish the 'Adam style' in Britain and beyond.
Items relating to Robert Adam were on display in 'The beautiful spirit of antiquity', at the Library from 16 June to 18 September 2016.