*Adam, Robert


Robert Adam

Robert Adam

portraits-le-corbusier

►→home

Table of content “united architects – great architects”
* Table of Content all Sites:

Robert Adam

(b. Kirkcaldy, Fife 1728; d. London, England 1792)

Robert Adam was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife in 1728. Often considered Scotland’s most famous architect, Adam became a leader of classical revival in England for both architecture and interior decoration. His designs are particularly notable for their lavish use of color.

Robert Adam was an eclectic who depended as much on good business sense as on his personal design innovations. His designs incorporated light, color, and detailed ornamentation. To generate his style he adapted motifs from classical antiquity, Italian, French and Renaissance influences and abstracted them into a personal style.

Adam’s most unusual designs were based on Etruscan vase decorations. The Etruscan Dressing Room at Osterley Park, Middlesex (1775-1776) is the only substantial survivor of eight such designs.

Adam died in London in 1792.

References
Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p 11.

Green Park Ranger’s House

Green Park Ranger's House

Green Park Ranger's House

“The Adams designed one small but notable building in central London at this period: the Deputy-Ranger’s Lodge in Green Park, on Piccadily : this was not a gardener’s cottage, but a small stately house, since the office was a royal gift, and its then occupier, Colonal Lord Archibald Montgomerier, was to succeed to his Earldom of Eglinton just after the house was finished.
“It is a rectangular block, into which a cylinder is inserted by two-thirds of its diameter, so that the projecting third makes one of those segmental curves much favoured by the Adams. In it are a dining-room below and a drawing-room above. The exterior is relatively low, of two storeys. The lower is a plain basement: its heaviness is only indicated by the deep recession fo the three windows in the cylinder-projection, while the upper has a Doric order, something of a rarity in Adam exteriors, perhaps thought appropriate to the house of a deputy-keeper.…”
— Joseph and Anne Rykwert. Robert and James Adam: The men and the style. p144.

Syon House

Syon House

“Central to Enlightenment thought was the conviction that through rational enquiry a knowledge of basic laws and principles was attainable and doctrines could be formulated afresh, in politics, religion, art or any other sphere of human thought.” David Irwin’s Neoclassicism

Many of Jane Austen’s novels are centered around locations and structures, and to such a degree that Netherfield, Rosings, Pemberley, etc. almost become (sedentary) characters of the novels. I have commented before about Austen’s distinct lack of description and I am going to spend some time today exploring some of these domestic settings. However, like the fictional homes I have previously mentioned, these structures are going to be more favored by the Darcy-set versus the Bennets.

ante room

ante room

The first picture displayed at the top is of Syon House in Middlesex. The Duke of Northumberland commissioned Robert Adam to work on the house during the 1760s. “As so often during his career, Adam had to cope with the existing fabric of an older house, rather than building a totally new structure” (Irwin 97). Adams embraced the idea of unified design and in addition to remodeling outside portions of the home he spent a great deal of time harmonizing the interior of the house with his ideas of design. (This included manufacturing his own carpets, wallpapers, and furniture.) In class there was much discourse on the exterior versus the interior of these homes as well as the significant difference between the public and private rooms. Much of the Neo-Classical style seems to embrace simplistic (or primitive – though this is a long outdated term) structures and designs (some of which we will look at) so when we begin to look at images of the interior of Syon House one might become bewildered at the bold and imposing decor. In class we discussed how in some ways the whim and opulence displayed in Syon’s ante-room (the second picture displayed) seems a throwback to the Rococo era.

great hall

great hall

After rereading David Irwin’s passages on Syon House I am beginning to disagree with that idea, as Syon House seems more and more of the interpretation and representation of Enlightenment and Neo-Classicism by the peerage. Adam was commissioned by a Duke and seemingly had a blank check when it came to furnishing the house. The Great Hall (the third picture) had columns from classical antiquity while other homes (including some Adam designed) had new columns carved or even used faux columns. Think of it as owning a nice reproduction of the Mona Lisa versus owning the actual Mona Lisa. Thus these homes very much reflected the patron and the patron’s decisions very much reflected their socio-economic status.

2004_3207

Dropping down on the English peerage scale would be Lord Scarsdale’s home Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire (c. 1765 – 1770). This (fourth picture) is the south or rear view of Kedleston Hall, which Adam worked on as well. Here we can see an example of the Grand Tour’s influence as the façade is influenced by the Arch of Constantine (BCE 312 – 315). The central portion of the house is nearly an exact replica with some minor alterations to better suit the building. However, these alterations are interesting in illustrating how flexible Neo-Classical architects and Adam were at combining ancient influences (Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Etruscan, etc.) as well as developing them to meet modern demands.

etruscan room

etruscan room

One more interior scene of Adam’s that I would like to show is the Etruscan dressing room at Osterley Park in Middlesex. This latter room perhaps will seem somewhat more familiar in interior design than Syon House, as it is indeed elegant and superbly done. The suggestion of opulence is more reserved than the gold gilding of the Ante-Room. The Etruscan room (fifth picture) has to be my favorite domestic scene I have seen by Adam. It is a private room, a lady’s dressing room, where much of the decoration is indeed the wall and ceiling panels and decorations and inserted paintings. By modern comparison the room certainly appears to be rather “busy” with the elongated figures and extreme details (meant to replicate Etruscan vases) of the wall’s artwork, but it is refined and beautiful.

Adam was from a family of architects and though the most notable was one of four brothers. Their firm was immense and during his time, Adam was one of the reigning king’s of architecture and leaves a legacy of the “Adam Style.” To place Adam more within his artistic period I would like to comment on some of the ideas buzzing about in this period. “Two of the leading concepts of the eighteenth century, reason and nature” (Irwin 73) can certainly be observed in Adam’s work. If you are unfamiliar with the art proceeding Adam this maybe an unreasonable observation. However, for centuries prior to Adam many artists and architects employed trompe l’oeil, which describes an illusionary quality meant to trick or deceive the viewer. Thus (and try to look beyond some of the interior decorating if this is still confusing) a source of clarity was presented in Adam’s work. Nature perhaps seems just as confusing but if we look back to Van Loon’s description of the English country side as durchkomponiert perhaps it begins to make more sense in nature being manicured and this quality of being beyond nature as more aesthetically pleasing than the natural landscape. I suppose what I am saying is that in regards to the 18th Century’s standards of reason and nature Adam seems to make perfect sense.

Additionally, an important aspect of Adam’s work is his use of color. “Unlike many of his contemporaries, Adam regardde colour as a very important element in architecture. Instead of the prevailing palette of white, greys and natural tones he used a multi-coloured palette, favouring paler shades interspersed on occasions with richer and deeper colours, sometimes in unexpected combinations” (98).

Please contact the autor for suggestions or further informations: architects.co@gmail.com
portraits-le-corbusier

►→home

Table of content “united architects – great architects”
* Table of Content all Sites:

MORE INFORMATION ON MY OTHER SITES:

architecture, literature, essays, philosophy, biographies

►→ united architects;
►→ united architects – legislaţie;
►→ united architects – legislaţie 2;
►→ united architects – legislaţie 3;
►→ united architects – legislaţie 4;
►→ united architects – essays;
►→ united architects – writings;
►→ united architects – biographies;
►→ united arhitects – great architects;
►→ united architects – poetry
►→ united architects – art;
►→ united architects – essays, philosophy;
(and counting)

free counters

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: