The Adam Brothers in Rome

Drawings from the Grand Tour

A.A. Tait

    ISBN: 978 1 85759 574 1

    Size: 280 x 240 mm / 9.5 x 11 in.

    Binding: Paperback

    Pages: 160

    In association with:

    Date published: September, 2008

    UK £25 /US $45


  • Illustrated volume on the works of the Adam brothers held at Sir John Soane’s Museum, described by Robert Adam as ‘the whole Soul, Body and Guts’ of their architecture.
  • Text by world-renowned art historian Professor Alan Tait accompanies the stunning reproductions of drawings, including many that have never been published before
  • These drawings, together with the brothers’ personal letters and James’s journal make up a remarkable document for all those interested in 18th-century architecture and Italy


Robert and James Adam dominated British architecture for the second half of the eighteenth century. The key period in the development of the Adam style was their time as Grand Tourists in Italy. The way in which they composed their architecture and even the manner in which they drew in watercolour and wash was the achievement of these years. As architects they studied and drew after the Antique, as Grand Tourists they formed a vast collection of paintings and drawings. It was this collection that was sold during the years 1765-1821. The drawings themselves were acquired by Sir John Soane in 1833 for his new Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. These drawings, together with the brothers’ fascinating letters and James’s journal, form a unique picture. This book gives an account of the brothers’ aspirations and achievements in making their Grand Tours, tracing James’s role as well as Robert’s. It was James, during his four years in Italy, who amassed an outstanding collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture and, moreover, arranged the purchase of the huge Albani collection for George III. Much of this was displayed in the brothers’ house and office at 75 Lower Grosvenor Street, in a casino in the garden, before the first Adam sale of 1765.

Author information

Professor A.A. Tait is an art historian with a particular interest in 18th-century architecture and landscape. He published a survey of the Soane Adam collection in 1996, Robert Adam, the Creative Mind. He is also the author of Robert Adam: drawings and imagination (1993).