Robert Adam – Scottish furniture designer

During the mid to late 18th Century, one of the greatest neo-classical designers was born at Kirkcaldy. On July 3, 1728, Robert Adam, a Scottish furniture designer, interior designer and architect was born. The son of the infamous William Adam, who was Scotland’s top architect, he trained with his father alongside his old brother John who helped Robert take over the family business.

In 1746, Adams joined John in the architecture and desgn business and immediately began working on other projects such as Inverary Castle. Initially Robert planned to be an artist, and indeed his early work is very artsy compared to later architectural renderings.

Together the two brothers began delving into major design commissions, including the grand state apartments at Hopetoun House and a new buiold at Dumfries House.  The brothers spent several years being kept busy by Fort George where they spent ten years of summers working on the project.

After an extended studying tour in France, Adams later returned to be an archietect in London with his brother. This time around his focus was creating a total look for the interior design of a home.

At the time Robert was influenced by the Palladian design that was popular, and created a few country homes based on his style, but naturally preferred a different srot of style that brought in various influences, including Greek, classical Roman and even Baroque styles.

The mix of design influences helped Adam develop his own sense of design and decoration.  His furniture design techniques have been described as Classical Rococo and had a worldwide influence. His work reached across the ocean to influence modern design, architecture and furniture design worldwide. Particularly of note, Adam’s work heavily influenced the American Federal style in which the government built a large number of buildings in this style.

Adams had his hands in hundreds of designs for English homes and indeed, before he died  in 1792, was recognized as a prominent and influential architect and furniture designer. He was even appointed sole architect to the king of England in 1762, an office he later passed on to his brother James.

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