*Rococo Revisited
Yester House ballroom, Robert Adam’s most famous contribution to Yester House. In 1789 Adam improved on his father William’s original early-18th-century design by enlarging the windows in better proportion to the lofty, 30-foot ceiling
Detail of Robert Adam designed ceiling at Croome Court Worcestershire.
Leinster House
02:20
The Adam style

The Adam style (or Adamesque) is a style of neoclassical architecture and design as practised by Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728- 1792) and his brothers. A book of engraved designs made the “Adam” repertory available throughout Europe. A parallel development of this early phase of neoclassical design is French “Louis XVI” style.

Robert 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 able cabinet-makers like John Linnell, Thomas Chippendale and Ince and Mayhew. So many able designers were working in this style in London from ca. 1770, that the style is currently more usually termed Early Neoclassical.

It is 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:

  • Roman style decorative motifs such as framed medallions, vases, urns and tripods, arabesque vine scrolls, sphinxes and gryphons.
  • Flat grotesque panels
  • Pilasters
  • Painted ornaments such as swags and ribbons
  • Complex color schemes

The Adam style found its niche from the late 1760s in upper-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 The style was superseded from the end of the 1780s by a more massive and self-consciously archeological style, connected with the First French Empire.

The Antechamber: Osterley Park House
This is the first room of the State Apartment designed by Robert Adam for Robert Child. Horace Walpole, neighbour at Strawberry Hill, Teddington, thought this room ‘the most superb and beautiful that can be imagined’.
The set of Boucher medallion tapestries, ‘Tentures de Boucher’, was ordered from Jacques Neilson, entrepreneur of the Gobelins factory in Paris. The brilliance and passion of the crimson and claret have been lovingly maintained over two centuries by family, servants, tenants and conservators. The design is full of animals, musical instruments and, of course, flowers.
The ceiling was designed, with a central medallion depicting ‘The Dedication of a Child to Minerva’, perhaps a pun on the family name.
Eight armchairs and the sofa are upholstered in similar tapestry, in a design originally created for Madame de Pompadour in 1751-3. The carved and gilt chair frames were probably designed and made by John Linnell shortly after the delivery of the tapestries.
Adam designed a pair of unusual tripod pedestals combining pierced, painted, carved and gilt panels enriched with sphinxes, garlands, vases and other ornaments. These are adorned by the only known examples of wing-figured vases by Matthew Boulton. Adam designed the carpet, incorporating large baskets of flowers. It was made in London by Thomas Moore of Moorfields. The National Trust.
Dining room from Lansdowne House, London, 18th century (1765–68)
Robert Adam (English, 1728–1792)
Wood, plaster, and stone
The house was completed from Adam’s designs for Lord Shelburne in 1768 and was a meeting place for Whig social and political circles in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
In the preface to The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, a folio publication issued in installments during the 1770s, Robert Adam discussed the function and decoration of the dining room: “The eating rooms are considered as the apartments of conversation, in which we are to pass a great part of our time. This renders it desirable to have them fitted up with elegance and splendor, but in a style different from that of other apartments. Instead of being hung with damask, tapestry & c. they are always finished with stucco, and adorned with statues and paintings, that they may not retain the smell of the victuals.” At Lansdowne House, the room for eating and conversation became a combination dining room and sculpture gallery. Shelburne amassed his impressive collection of antique sculpture—which occupied not only the dining room niches but other rooms of the house—between 1765 and 1773, first through James Adam and later through the Scottish painter and antiquary Gavin Hamilton.
Entrance Hall: South Apse ~ Osterley Park House
You can see from this shot that the floor and ceiling echo each other in design.
The Stucco work was executed by the firm of Joseph Rose and the grisaille paintings above the fireplaces are by Giovanni Pattista Cipriani. 
The Entrance Hall was created in 1767. It fulfils Robert Adam’s great desire to bring ‘movement’ of shapes, light and shadow to a space. Its rectangular shape is enhanced by semicircular alcoves at each end, both with a fireplace flanked by niches filled with statues.
Constructed as an all-purpose room, the Hall was used as a saloon, reception room and occasional dining room.
Stucco panels of military trophies adorn the walls, inspired by the marble trophies of Octavianus Augustus on the Campidoglio in Rome. Adam created similar stucco trophies for the vestibule at nearby Syon Park.
The patterned floor is fashioned in white Portland stone and red sandstone. The chimney pieces, also in Portland stone, are embellished with the Child family crest of an eagle holding an adder in its beak.