Eleanor O’Kane takes us on a tour inspired by the great 18th-century architect and designer Robert Adam, and discovers how his European travels shaped some of the nation’s best-loved buildings and interiors
Eleanor O’Kane takes us on a tour inspired by the great 18th-century architect Robert Adam. Expect lavish houses and gorgeous gardens...
Before the gap year there was the Grand Tour. In the 17th and 18th centuries, young men and women of wealth and standing would visit the great cultural sites of Europe, drinking in artistic and intellectual achievements of centuries past. Back home, the riches this privileged pilgrimage revealed – from the treasures of Florence’s U! zi gallery to the ruins of Pompeii – would have a lasting e"ect on interiors and architecture the length of Britain. One of our greatest architects, Robert Adam, was deeply in #uenced by his experiences in Europe. Born in Fife, Scotland, in 1728 to a prominent architect, Adam was educated in Edinburgh. He began his travels in 1754 and spent several years in Rome, honing his architectural drawing skills. On his return, Adam set up an architects’ practice in London with his brother James and began to challenge the styles of the day. They moved away from the rigid proportions of Georgian design, playing with scale and aesthetic. To appreciate Adam’s in #uence, take a Grand Tour of your own…
RIGHT Robert Adam’s sweeping oval staircase is the dramatic centrepiece of Culzean Castle.
BELOW Perched resplendently on the Ayrshire cliffs, Culzean Castle was built as a lavish country house for the 10th Earl of Cassilis in 1792. The 260-hectare estate follows miles of sandy coastline and incorporates formal gardens, an ice-house, a Swan Pond and fruit-filled glasshouses.
Robert Adam (1728-1792), Scottish architect. Oil on canvas, c1770, attributed to George Willison.
LEFT The University of Edinburgh’s Old College building, designed by Adam.