Adam Style  ...........................  Virtual Tours of Architecture

Portland Place, London, England
Style: Georgian / Adamesque

The Adam Brothers, Robert and James, originally laid this street out in 1773. Only a few of the original houses remain, the best being Nos. 27 to 47 on the west side, south of Devonshire Street.

John Nash added the street to his processional route that ran from Carlton house to Regent's Park and sealed its northern end with the park Crescent.

The Royal Institute of British Architects  Art Deco Building, 66 Portland Place, was a controversial addition to Portland Place in 1934.

See information about Robert Adam below photos.

#43 entrance. The main door is the principal ornamental feature of the Georgian facade.

#43 fanlight

#45 Tuscan columns

Six-paneled door ...
Traceried  side lights


Pilaster with Composite capital   ...   Detail below:


#45 fanlight

Robert Adam (1728-92) is considered the greatest British architect of the later eighteenth century. He was equally if not more brilliant as a decorator, furniture designer, etc., for which his name is still a household word. No previous architect had attempted such comprehensive schemes of interior decoration. His decorative approach included flat grotesque panels and pilasters, urns, swags and ribbons.

He was a typically hardheaded Scot, canny and remorselessly ambitious, yet with a tender, romantic side to his character as well. His work has an air of unceremonious good manners, unpedantic erudition, and unostentatious opulence which perfectly reflects the civilized world of his patrons. He developed a neoclassical style lighter and more gaily elegant than that of the Palladians who preceded or the Greek Revivalists who succeeded him.

His genius emerged only after his Grand Tour (1754~8), most of which was spent in Rome studying Imperial Roman architecture

Robert's brothers John (I721-92) and James (1732-94) were also architects, and all three trained in their father's Edinburgh office. Robert and James attended Edinburgh University, as well.

In 1758 Robert settled in London, where he was joined by his brother James after a similar Grand Tour.

The Adam style was widely disseminated through The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam (1773-8, 1779, 1822). Adam's ornament became increasingly mannered towards the end of his career and was much criticized in the first half of the 19th century. An Adam Revival began after the London Exhibition of 1862.

In the U. S., the Adam style is referred to as "Federal."


  • "The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture," John Fleming, et. al, ed. 1966

  • "The Elements of Style: An Practical Encyclopedia of Interior Architectural Details from 1485 to the Present," Stephen Calloway and Elizabeth Cromley, ed. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1991

Photos and their arrangement 2003 Chuck LaChiusa
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