1780 - Book of Neo-Classical Designs

The intellectual triumphs of the Scottish Enlightenment had their counterpart in the arts and architecture. Robert Adam (1728-92) claimed to have initiated 'a kind of revolution' in architecture, and his style - particularly in interior decoration - was widely imitated. This album is the work of an anonymous Scottish decorator. Its designs for wall-surfaces, ceilings and furniture clearly reflect Adam's all-pervasive influence.

Adam's achievement was built on that of his father's generation of architects and decorators; and in the totality of its vision it looked forward to the unity of design advocated by Victorians such as Alexander 'Greek' Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Between the 1770s and the end of the century Adam's elegant, graceful, highly sophisticated and endlessly varied decorative schemes, based upon an eclectic blend of antique and Renaissance motifs, were the very height of fashion. Scottish classicism dominated the world.

MS. 2876

Book of Neo-Classical Designs


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