Lady Lever Gallery Artwork of the Month – March 2007. ‘The Adam Room’, by The Adam Room
About the artwork
Discounting the ‘Napoleon Room’, devoted as it is to a cult of personality rather than to a period, there are four ‘period rooms’ in the Lady Lever Art Gallery: the ‘Tudor & Stuart Room’, the ‘William and Mary Room’, the ‘Early 18th Century Room’, and the last to be installed, in 1925, shortly before the death of Lord Leverhulme: the late 18th Century ‘Adam Room’.
The Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728-92) – in collaboration with his brother James – claimed ‘to have brought about, in this country, a kind of revolution in the whole system of this useful and elegant art’ of architecture. An important feature of this ‘Adam Revolution’ was a loosening up of the sacrosanct classical ‘Orders’, or rules governing the vertical sequence of component parts from top to bottom of a Greek or Roman building.
These Orders – ‘Tuscan’, ‘Doric’, ‘Ionic’, ‘Corinthian’ and ‘Composite’ – had been slavishly followed in the early 18th Century by exponents of the ‘Palladian’ style, characterised by strict adherence to classical rules of proportion and by restraint and sobriety of decoration. Adam exploded Palladianism, bringing about what he termed ‘a remarkable improvement in the form, conveniences, arrangement, and relief of apartments; a greater movement and variety, in the outside composition [of buildings], and in the decoration of the inside, an almost total change.’ It is as an interior architect that Robert Adam is chiefly remembered and celebrated.
Free talks on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 29 March 2007 at 13.30. Limited space available, please pick up tickets from the Information Desk.