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Robert Adam (1728-1792)

England received the same inspiration as France from Pompeii. The architect Robert Adam made a careful study of ancient buildings in Italy and fully appreciated their beauty. It was he who brought the Classic revival to England. His brothers, James, John, and William, were associated with him in architectural work, their trademark being the Adelphi (brothers). Robert Adam was made the king's architect.

The Adelphi built many buildings in a refined Classic style. They realized that the Baroque furniture then in use was entirely unsuited to this architecture, so they designed furniture in harmony with their buildings. They did not make furniture, however, but had cabinet makers follow their designs. This furniture was fine, graceful, and delicate to the point of fragility. The contours were straight except in seats and in the fronts of console tables and cabinets.

Even when he was sixty years old Chippendale made furniture from Adam designs for the finest houses that Adam built, but, strangely enough, he never used the Neo-Classic lines in his own original productions. Heppelwhite, Sheraton, and many other fine cabinet makers of the time also made Adam furniture.

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