A tribute to the Scots architect who designed many of Britain's most beautiful and best loved buildings is being staged at the National Library of Scotland. ['The beautiful spirit of antiquity: Robert Adam and his influences']
Robert Adam, who was born in 1728, is considered to be one of the world's most influential architects and introduced a style of neo-classical architecture that can be seen and enjoyed throughout Britain to this day.
To mark the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016, the National Library of Scotland is displaying some of its finest architectural books to illustrate Adam's work and tell the story about this remarkable Scot.
Adam designed some of Scotland's most celebrated buildings including the picturesque Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Trades Hall in Glasgow, Edinburgh's Charlotte Square and Hopetoun House at South Queensferry. In England, he is responsible for Bath's famous Pulteney Bridge and worked on many of the country's historic houses including Osterley Park and Syon House near London, Harewood House near Leeds and Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire.
At a time when most architects were considered to be on a par with builders and other tradesmen, Adam set out to educate himself in the art of drawing and the architecture of the classical world. From 1755-1757, he undertook a Grand Tour through France and Italy where he was tutored in drawing and sketched classical ruins.
From these studies Adam learned to blend the architecture of the ancient world with his own inspiration: creating the Adam style that propelled him to fame and which is so beautifully illustrated in the works on display at the Library.
'Robert Adam died over 200 years ago but his legacy lives on in the beautiful buildings and interiors that can be found all over Britain,' said Robert Betteridge, Rare Books curator at the National Library who has worked on the display. 'His work has proved hugely influential not just in this country but across the world.'
The books on display include:
- A 16th century illustrated edition of the sole architectural text to have survived from antiquity — the first-century BC Roman Vitrivius's 'De architectura'
- 'Ruins of the palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia' — the book that Adam produced to link his name with architectural antiquity and help establish his reputation. It was based on a detailed survey of the ruins of the third century Roman palace
- 'The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam' — this included drawings of the commissioned works of the brothers, written to act as an advertisement for the novelty and variety of the service they could offer potential clients.
'The beautiful spirit of antiquity: Robert Adam and his influences' is on at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh from 16 June until 18 September. Entry is free.
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15 June 2016