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The Adam style (or Adamesque and "Style of the Brothers Adam") is an 18th-century neoclassical style of interior design and architecture, as practised by Scottish architect William Adam and his sons, of whom Robert (1728–1792) and James (1732–1794) were the most widely known.
The Adam brothers advocated an integrated style for architecture and interiors, with walls, ceilings, fireplaces, furniture, fixtures, fittings and carpets all being designed by the Adams as a single uniform scheme. Commonly and mistakenly known as "Adams Style", the proper term for this style of architecture and furniture is the "Style of the Adam Brothers".
The Adam style found its niche from the late 1760s in upper-class and middle-class residences in 18th-century England, Scotland, Russia (where it was introduced by Scottish architect Charles Cameron), and post-Revolutionary War United States (where it became known as Federal style and took on a variation of its own). The style was superseded from around 1795 onwards by the Regency style and the French Empire style.
During the 18th century there was much work for eager architects and designers, as Britain experienced a boom in the building of new houses, theatres, shops, offices and factories, with towns growing rapidly due to the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The emphasis was on modernisation, with regulations being introduced to clean up the nation's streets, promoting the re-paving of roads and pavements, improving drainage and street lighting, and better fireproofing of buildings with the widespread use of brick and stone. Speculative building was rife, with some developers focussing on high speed and low cost. Sometimes, newly built houses collapsed due to poor workmanship; whilst others continually shifted on their foundations, giving rise to the phrase "things that go bump in the night", as mysterious crashes, creaks and thuds were heard by their inhabitants late at night. London experienced major expansion, with the newly built West End, which included the elegant squares of Mayfair; areas of the East End of London were also developed, such as the new terraces in Spitalfields. The cities of Edinburgh, Bristol and Dublin were all expanded and modernised. Birmingham was described in 1791 as being the "first manufacturing town in the world". Manchester and Liverpool each saw their population triple between 1760 and 1800. New towns, like Bath, were constructed around natural spas. Old medieval cities and market towns, such as York and Chichester, had their buildings re-fronted with brick or stucco, plus new sash windows, to give the impression of modernity, despite the underlying structures remaining medieval.
The Neoclassical style was all the vogue throughout the 18th century, and many style guides were published to advise builders how their finished properties should look. Influential guides included Stephen Riou's The Grecian Orders (1768), and Batty Langley's A Sure Guide to Builders (1729), The Young Builder's Rudiments (1730 and 1734), Ancient Masonry (1736), The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs (1740 and later editions), The Builder's Jewel (1741). Architects, designers, cabinet makers, stonemasons, and craftsmen published pattern books and style guides to advertise their ideas, thereby hoping to attract a lucrative clientele.
The work of the Adam brothers set the style for domestic architecture and interiors for much of the latter half of the 18th century.
Robert and James Adam travelled in Italy and Dalmatia in the 1750s, observing the ruins of the classical world. On their return to Britain, they set themselves up with their older brother, John, as architects. Robert and James published a book entitled The Works in Architecture in instalments between 1773 and 1779. This book of engraved designs made the Adam repertory available throughout Europe. The Adam brothers aimed to simplify the rococo and baroque styles which had been fashionable in the preceding decades, to bring what they felt to be a lighter and more elegant feel to Georgian houses. The Works in Architecture illustrated the main buildings the Adam brothers had worked on and crucially documented the interiors, furniture and fittings, designed by the Adams. A parallel development of this phase of neoclassical design is the French Louis XVI style.
The Adam style moved away from the strict mathematical proportions previously found in Georgian rooms, and introduced curved walls and domes, decorated with elaborate plasterwork and striking mixed colour schemes using newly affordable paints in pea green, sky blue, lemon, lilac, bright pink, and red-brown terracotta.
Artists such as Angelica Kauffman and Antonio Zucchi were employed to paint classical figurative scenes within cartouches set into the interior walls and ceilings.
The Adam's main rivals were James Wyatt, whose many designs for furniture were less known outside the wide circle of his patrons, because he never published a book of engravings; and Sir William Chambers, who designed fewer furnishings for his interiors, preferring to work with such able cabinet-makers as John Linnell, Thomas Chippendale, and Ince and Mayhew. So many able designers were working in this style in London from circa 1770 that the style is currently more usually termed Early Neoclassical.
It was typical of Adam style to combine decorative neo-Gothic details into the classical framework. So-called "Egyptian" and "Etruscan" design motifs were minor features.
The Adam style is identified with:
The Adam style was superseded from around 1795 onwards by the simpler Regency style in Britain; and the French Empire style in France and Russia, which was a more imperial and self-consciously archeological style, connected with the First French Empire.
The Adam style was strongly influenced by:
Interest in the Adam style was revived in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, initiated by a spectacular marquetry cabinet by Wright & Mansfield exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1867. Reproduction furniture in the general "Regency Revival" style, to which the Adam revival was closely linked, was very popular with the expanding middle classes from circa 1880 to 1920. They were attracted to the light and elegant designs, as a contrast to the heavier and more cluttered interiors which had dominated their homes during the second half of the 19th century. The revival competed with the Arts and Crafts style, which continued to be popular in Britain up to the 1930s. The Adam and Regency revivals, however, lost mainstream momentum after World War I, being replaced by Art Deco in popular taste.
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1714 and 1830. It is named after the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I, George II, George III, and George IV—who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. The so-called great Georgian cities of the British Isles were Edinburgh, Bath, pre-independence Dublin, and London, and to a lesser extent York and Bristol. The style was revived in the late 19th century in the United States as Colonial Revival architecture and in the early 20th century in Great Britain as Neo-Georgian architecture; in both it is also called Georgian Revival architecture. In the United States the term "Georgian" is generally used to describe all buildings from the period, regardless of style; in Britain it is generally restricted to buildings that are "architectural in intention", and have stylistic characteristics that are typical of the period, though that covers a wide range.
Rococo, less commonly Roccoco or Late Baroque, is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colours, sculpted moulding, and trompe-l'œil frescoes to create surprise and the illusion of motion and drama. It is often described as the final expression of the Baroque movement.
Robert Adam was a British neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam (1689–1748), Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him. With his older brother John, Robert took on the family business, which included lucrative work for the Board of Ordnance, after William's death.
William Kent was an English architect, landscape architect, painter and furniture designer of the early 18th century. He began his career as a painter, and became Principal Painter in Ordinary or court painter, but his real talent was for design in various media.
The Greek Revival was an architectural movement which began in the middle of the 18th century but which particularly flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, predominantly in northern Europe and the United States and Canada, but also in Greece itself following independence in 1832. It revived many aspects of the forms and styles of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the Greek temple, with varying degrees of thoroughness and consistency. A product of Hellenism, it may be looked upon as the last phase in the development of Neoclassical architecture, which had for long mainly drawn from Roman architecture. The term was first used by Charles Robert Cockerell in a lecture he gave as Professor of Architecture to the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1842.
Neoclassicism was a Western cultural movement in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that drew inspiration from the art and culture of classical antiquity. Neoclassicism was born in Rome largely thanks to the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, at the time of the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but its popularity spread all over Europe as a generation of European art students finished their Grand Tour and returned from Italy to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals. The main Neoclassical movement coincided with the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, and continued into the early 19th century, laterally competing with Romanticism. In architecture, the style continued throughout the 19th, 20th and up to the 21st century.
Néo-Grec was a Neoclassical Revival style of the mid-to-late 19th century that was popularized in architecture, the decorative arts, and in painting during France's Second Empire, or the reign of Napoleon III (1852–1870). The Néo-Grec vogue took as its starting point the earlier expressions of the Neoclassical style inspired by 18th-century excavations at Pompeii, which resumed in earnest in 1848, and similar excavations at Herculaneum. The style mixed elements of the Graeco-Roman, Pompeian, Adam and Egyptian Revival styles into "a richly eclectic polychrome mélange." "The style enjoyed a vogue in the United States, and had a short-lived impact on interior design in England and elsewhere."
Regency architecture encompasses classical buildings built in the United Kingdom during the Regency era in the early 19th century when George IV was Prince Regent, and also to earlier and later buildings following the same style. The period coincides with the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Federal style in the United States and the French Empire style. Regency style is also applied to interior design and decorative arts of the period, typified by elegant furniture and vertically striped wallpaper, and to styles of clothing; for men, as typified by the dandy Beau Brummell and for women the Empire silhouette.
Since ancient times, Greeks, Etruscans and Celts have inhabited the south, centre and north of the Italian peninsula respectively. The very numerous rock drawings in Valcamonica are as old as 8,000 BC, and there are rich remains of Etruscan art from thousands of tombs, as well as rich remains from the Greek colonies at Paestum, Agrigento and elsewhere. Ancient Rome finally emerged as the dominant Italian and European power. The Roman remains in Italy are of extraordinary richness, from the grand Imperial monuments of Rome itself to the survival of exceptionally preserved ordinary buildings in Pompeii and neighbouring sites. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, in the Middle Ages Italy, especially the north, remained an important centre, not only of the Carolingian art and Ottonian art of the Holy Roman Emperors, but for the Byzantine art of Ravenna and other sites.
James Adam was a Scottish architect and furniture designer, but was often overshadowed by his older brother and business partner, Robert Adam. They were sons of architect William Adam.
Federal-style architecture is the name for the classicizing architecture built in the newly founded United States between c. 1780 and 1830, and particularly from 1785 to 1815, which was heavily based on the works of Andrea Palladio with several innovations on Palladian architecture by Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries first for Jefferson's Monticello estate and followed by many examples in government building throughout the United States. An excellent example of this is the White House. This style shares its name with its era, the Federalist Era. The name Federal style is also used in association with furniture design in the United States of the same time period. The style broadly corresponds to the classicism of Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Regency architecture in Britain and to the French Empire style. It may also be termed Adamesque architecture. The White House and Monticello were setting stones for federal architecture.
Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the Neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century in Italy and France. It became one of the most prominent architectural styles in the Western world. The prevailing styles of architecture in most of Europe for the previous two centuries, Renaissance architecture and Baroque architecture, already represented partial revivals of the Classical architecture of ancient Rome and ancient Greek architecture, but the Neoclassical movement aimed to strip away the excesses of Late Baroque and return to a purer and more authentic classical style, adapted to modern purposes.
Sheraton is a late 18th-century Neoclassical English furniture style, in vogue c. 1785–1820, that was coined by 19th-century collectors and dealers to credit furniture designer Thomas Sheraton, whose books, The Cabinet Dictionary (1803) of engraved designs and the Cabinet Maker's & Upholsterer's Drawing Book (1791) of furniture patterns exemplify this style.
London's architectural heritage involves many architectural styles from different historical periods. London's architectural eclecticism stems from its long history, continual redevelopment, destruction by the Great Fire of London and The Blitz, and state recognition of private property rights which have limited large scale state planning. This sets London apart from other European capitals such as Paris and Rome which are more architecturally homogeneous. London's architecture ranges from the Romanesque central keep of The Tower of London, the great Gothic church of Westminster Abbey, the Palladian royal residence Queen's House, Christopher Wren's Baroque masterpiece St Paul's Cathedral, the High Victorian Gothic of The Palace of Westminster, the industrial Art Deco of Battersea Power Station, the post-war Modernism of The Barbican Estate and the Postmodern skyscraper 30 St Mary Axe 'The Gherkin'.
Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. Victorian design is widely viewed as having indulged in a grand excess of ornament. The Victorian era is known for its interpretation and eclectic revival of historic styles mixed with the introduction of Asian and Middle Eastern influences in furniture, fittings, and interior decoration. The Arts and Crafts movement, the aesthetic movement, Anglo-Japanese style, and Art Nouveau style have their beginnings in the late Victorian era and gothic period.
Louis XVI style, also called Louis Seize, is a style of architecture, furniture, decoration and art which developed in France during the 19-year reign of Louis XVI (1774–1793), just before the French Revolution. It saw the final phase of the Baroque style as well as the birth of French Neoclassicism. The style was a reaction against the elaborate ornament of the preceding Baroque period. It was inspired in part by the discoveries of Ancient Roman paintings, sculpture and architecture in Herculaneum and Pompeii. Its features included the straight column, the simplicity of the post-and-lintel, the architrave of the Greek temple. It also expressed the Rousseau-inspired values of returning to nature and the view of nature as an idealized and wild but still orderly and inherently worthy model for the arts to follow.
A klismos or klismos chair is a type of ancient Greek chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs.
Casa Wiechers-Villaronga is a Classical Revival style mansion in Ponce, Puerto Rico designed and built in the early twentieth century. The house was acquired and restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and now operates as the Museo de la Arquitectura Ponceña. The house sits in the Ponce Historic Zone. The Villaronga Residence is an outstanding example of the Classical Revival style in used in Ponce designs in the early part of the 20th century and is one of two residences still standing of a series of houses designed and built by Alfredo B. Wiechers, so important to the architectural and cultural heritage of the city of Ponce.
Italian Neoclassical interior design refers to furnishing and interior decorating trends in Italy which occurred during the Neoclassical period
Neoclassicism is a movement in architecture, design and the arts which was dominant in France between about 1760 to 1830. It emerged as a reaction to the frivolity and excessive ornament of the baroque and rococo styles. In architecture it featured sobriety, straight lines, and forms, such as the pediment and colonnade, based on Ancient Greek and Roman models. In painting it featured heroism and sacrifice in the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks. It began late in the reign of Louis XV, became dominant under Louis XVI, and continued through the French Revolution, the French Directory, and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Bourbon Restoration until 1830, when it was gradually replaced as the dominant style by romanticism and eclecticism.