James Adam (architect)
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Portrait of Adam by Antonio Zucchi
|Died||20 October 1794 (aged 62)|
James Adam (21 July 1732 – 20 October 1794) 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.
Life and career
In 1758, Adam, along with his brother Robert started his business in London (living in Lower Grosvenor Street), focusing on designing complete schemes for the decoration and furnishing of houses. Palladian design was popular, but Robert had evolved a new, more flexible style incorporating elements of classic Roman design alongside influences from Greek, Byzantine and Baroque styles. The Adam brothers' success can also be attributed to a desire to design everything down to the smallest detail, ensuring a sense of unity in their designs.
He then followed in Robert's footsteps by undertaking the Grand Tour, leaving in May 1760 to October 1763, when he arrive back in London.
Adam succeeded Robert as Architect of the King's Works in 1768 just before work on the brothers' Adelphi project (1768–1772) almost bankrupted the firm (the business employed other notable architects including Joseph Bonomi (1739–1808) who, from 1768, remained with the Adams until 1781).
Adam emerged from his brother's shadow after Robert's death in 1792, designing several notable buildings in Glasgow, including the old Infirmary (1792; demolished 1907), Assembly Rooms (1794; demolished in 1890) and the Tron Kirk (1794). He also designed Portland Place in central London. In 1793 he was part of a group of architects that John Soane was asked to supply plans to for the House of Lords. However, his glory was short-lived – he died at his home in London's Albermarle Street in 1794.
During their lifetime Robert and James Adam published two volumes of their designs, Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam (in 1773–1778 and 1779; a third volume was published posthumously, in 1822).
List of architectural works
- Courts of Justice and Corn Market, Hertfordshire, now Shire Hall, Hertford (1768). Altered, but partially restored to original design. A joint project with Robert Adam.
Urban domestic work
- The Adelphi development, London (1768–1775) mostly demolished 1930s, a ceiling & fireplace are in the Victoria and Albert Museum
- 7 Adam Street
Country houses with major work
- Gunsgreen House, Berwickshire (1755)
- "The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam". The British Library. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- "Gunsgreen House". BBC – Scotland – Coast. April 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Cooke, Sir Robert (1987). The Palace of Westminster. London: Burton Skira. p. 52. ISBN 978-0333459232.