Basic Biographical Details

Name: R & J Adam
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1763
Ended: 1794
Bio Notes: Robert Adam returned from his tour to Italy in January 1758. He established himself in a house in Lower Grosvenor Street which also served as the office and was soon joined by his brothers James and William and his sisters. The practice of R & J Adam was established soon thereafter. The partnership lasted until Robert's death in 1792.

Robert Adam was the principal director of the family firm but both James and William played significant roles. James's architectural talents was more modest than those of his brother but was nevertheless an able architect while William provided business acumen.

James undertook a tour on the Continent from 1760-63 and Robert developed the practice in his absence. He had already established the 'Adam style' by the time James returned from Italy. In 1773 the brothers produced the first part of 'Works in Architecture by Robert and James Adam' which was completed in 1778. The second volume appeared in 1779 and the third in 1822 after both of their deaths.

The history of the practice cannot be considered independently from that of Robert as the dominant figure. However after Robert's death James was responsible for four buildings in Glasgow. Although the Infirmary in Glasgow was a joint design, James is credited with the design of the Tron Church and the Assembly Rooms in ‘The Picture of Glasgow’ (1812). James signed the drawings St George’s Episcopal Chapel in York Place, Edinburgh and was also probably responsible for the adjoining manse.

James died in 1794 and this meant the end of the firm.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 313, Albemarle Street, London, EnglandPrivate/business 1792 
Item 2 of 3Lower Grosvenor Street, London, EnglandPrivate/business1758  
Item 3 of 3Royal Terrace, London, EnglandPrivate/business1772  

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4George Richardson  Draughtsman 
Item 2 of 4Robert Adam17581792Partner 
Item 3 of 4James Adam17581794Partner 
Item 4 of 4Robert BalfourBefore 179 Clerk of WorksDate given by Colvin for obtaining ground for Balfour House is 1779 but this is an error for 1797. He was less than 10 years old in the late 1770s.

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 791750sWestminster Abbey, monuments  LondonEngland 
Item 2 of 791753Mausoleum to William Adam, Greyfriars Churchyard  EdinburghScotlandMay be by Adam office with John Adam
Item 3 of 791753Yester House, St Bothan's ChapelYester East LothianScotlandProbably designed Gothic facade to truncated church to serve as burial place for 4th Marquess of Tweeddale
Item 4 of 791756Newhall HouseGifford East LothianScotlandAlterations or additions contemplated - not carried out?
Item 5 of 791761Bowood House  WiltshireEnglandMausoleum - in memory of the 1st Earl
Item 6 of 791762St Nicholas' Chapel, Monument to Sir Benjamin Keene (d.1757)King's Lynn NorfolkEngland 
Item 7 of 791763Kedleston Church, Monument to Sir Nathaniel Curzon (d. 1758)  DerbyshireEngland 
Item 8 of 791763St Michael Penkevil Church, Monument to Admiral Edward Boscawen (d.1761)  CornwallEngland 
Item 9 of 79After 1763Mersham Church, tablet to Sir William Knatchbull (d.1763)Mersham KentEngland 
Item 10 of 79After 1768Castle Upton, mausoleum in memory of Hon. Arthur Upton (d.1768)  Co. AntrimNorthern Ireland 
Item 11 of 79After 1769Romsey Abbey Church, tablet to Lady Palmerston (d.1769)  HampshireEngland 
Item 12 of 791773Caldwell HouseUplawmoor RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 13 of 791774Ardencaple HouseHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandCastellated addition
Item 14 of 791774The OaksCarshalton SurreyEnglandTemporary garden pavilion for fete-champetre held on 9 June 1774.
Item 15 of 79After 1774Worcester Cathedral, monument to Bishop James Johnson (d.1774)  WorcesterEngland 
Item 16 of 79c. 1774Woolton Hall  LancashireEngland'Greatly enlarged'
Item 17 of 791775Hampton  MiddlesexEnglandAlterations to villa, probably including the remodelling of the portico.
Item 18 of 791775Kelburn Castle grounds including monument to 3rd Earl of Glasgow (d. 1775)Kelburn AyrshireScotlandMonument to the 3rd Earl
Item 19 of 791775Milton Abbey Church, table tomb to Lady Milton  DorsetEngland 
Item 20 of 791775Moccas Court  HertfordshireEnglandDraw up plans for house. Executed not by the Adams but by A Keck.
Item 21 of 791775The ElmsEpsom SurreyEnglandAdditions and alterations
Item 22 of 79c. 1775Combe BankSundridge KentEnglandAddition of two wings with domed pavilions. One built at this time, the other later.
Item 23 of 791776Hendon PlaceHendon MiddlesexEnglandNew front
Item 24 of 791776Knowsley  LancashireEnglandDairy
Item 25 of 791776Wenvoe Castle  GlamorganWalesCastle style house. Plans carried out with some modifications.
Item 26 of 791777Mamhead  DevonEnglandEnlarged ('probably')
Item 27 of 791777Wormleybury  HertfordshireEnglandInterior decoration
Item 28 of 79c. 1777The OaksCarshalton SurreyEnglandCastellated additions to house - begun but never completed.
Item 29 of 791778Botanic Gardens, memorial urn to Carl Linnaeus  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 791778Langside  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 31 of 791778Old Calton Burying Ground, Monument to David Hume (d.1776)  EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 791778Weald Hall  EssexScotlandDecoration of dining room
Item 33 of 791780Byram Hall  YorkshireEnglandDecoration of library etc.
Item 34 of 791780Column in memory of the 3rd Duke of Queensberry (d.1778)Dumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 35 of 79c. 1780Mistley Hall with Swan Fountain and nearby cottages  EssexEnglandAlterations
Item 36 of 79c. 1780Oxenfoord Castle  MidlothianScotlandRemodelling
Item 37 of 791781Moccas Court  HertfordshireEnglandCeiling etc of circular drawing room.
Item 38 of 79After 1781St Michael's Graveyard, monument to Hugh Lawson (d.1781)Dumfries DumfriesshireScotlandProbably
Item 39 of 791782Dalquharran Castle  AyrshireScotlandColvin gives 1789-90
Item 40 of 791782Jerviston HouseMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 41 of 79After 1782Heston Church, monument to Robert Child (d. 1782)Heston MiddlesexEngland 
Item 42 of 791783Castle Upton  Co. AntrimNorthern IrelandAlterations.
Item 43 of 791784Brasted Place  KentEngland 
Item 44 of 791785Ashburnham Place  SussexEnglandEntrance lodges
Item 45 of 791785Sunnyside HouseLiberton EdinburghScotland 
Item 46 of 79c. 1785Houses on South Bridge and Hunter Square  EdinburghScotlandScheme drawn up but not executed. Kay's scheme used instead.
Item 47 of 791786Marlborough HouseBrighton SussexEnglandRemodelling
Item 48 of 791787Glasserton House  WigtownshireScotland 
Item 49 of 791787Kirkdale HouseCarsluith KirkcudbrightshireScotlandOriginal house by Robert Adam. Bridge designed by Adam and also probably the octagonal farmstead.
Item 50 of 791787MilburnEsher SurreyEngland 
Item 51 of 791788BarholmCreetown (near) KirkcudbrighthsireScotland 
Item 52 of 791788Castle Upton  Co. AntrimNorthern IrelandFurther alterations and castellated stables.
Item 53 of 791789Balmakewan House  AberdeenshireScotlandDrew up design - not executed.
Item 54 of 791789Buscombe HouseHare Hatch BerkshireEnglandProbably remodelling
Item 55 of 791789NewlistonKirkliston West LothianScotland 
Item 56 of 791789Yester HouseGifford East LothianScotlandRemodelling of centre of north front
Item 57 of 79c. 1789WyresideGarstang (near) LancashireEnglandAlterations and additions including portico.
Item 58 of 791790Airthrey CastleBridge of Allan StirlingshireScotland 
Item 59 of 791790Alva Churchyard, Johnstone Family Mausoleum, Monument to John Johnstone     
Item 60 of 791790Archerfield  East LothianScotlandRemodelling of interior
Item 61 of 791790Balavil HouseKingussie Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 62 of 791790ChampfleurieKingscavil, Linlithgow  ScotlandDesigned plan for house. Bears no relation to present house which is a late 19th century tower-house, L-plan, beef-red sandstone.
Item 63 of 791790Cluny CastleCluny AberdeenshireScotlandProposals for duplicating 17th century house
Item 64 of 791790Dunbar Castle  East LothianScotland 
Item 65 of 791790Glencarse House  PerthshireScotland 
Item 66 of 791790Seton House  East LothianScotland 
Item 67 of 791790Tulloch CastleDingwall Ross and CromartyScotlandCastellated folly called Caisteal Gorach.
Item 68 of 791790Westerkirk Churchyard, Johnstone family mausoleum for Sir James JohnstoneWesterkirk DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 69 of 79c. 1790Fullarton House, piers terminating forecourt walls and stables  AyrshireScotlandCastellated stables and farm buildings. Also possibly gatepiers (Close & Rich).
Item 70 of 79c. 1790(?)Udny HouseTeddington MiddlesexEnglandProbably added picture gallery about this date.
Item 71 of 791791Bush House  MidlothianScotlandAlterations
Item 72 of 791791Walkinshaw HousePaisley (near) RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 73 of 791792Dalkeith House  MidlothianScotlandBridge over River Esk in grounds (Montagu Bridge)
Item 74 of 791792Glasgow Infirmary  GlasgowScotland 
Item 75 of 791792Mauldslie CastleCarluke LanarkshireScotland 
Item 76 of 791792Stobs CastleCavers RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 77 of 791793Balbardie HouseBathgate West LothianScotland 
Item 78 of 791794Dalkeith House  MidlothianScotlandEntrance gates from Dalkeith
Item 79 of 79c. 1795Parish ChurchLasswade MidlothianScotlandBuildings of Scotland states 1793


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Colvin, Howard2008A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 London: YUP. 4th edition 
Item 2 of 2New DNB New Dictionary of National Biography  Article by Alan A Tait on Robert Adam.