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Robert Adam in an imaginary country


Robert Adam, Cullen Castle, Banffshire (1770-1780)
Pen and brown ink and grey wash over black chalk on paper
Image: National Galleries of Scotland

When he died in 1792, Robert Adam had "transformed the architectural and decorative worlds of Britain and America, bringing a new grace, lightness and humour to exteriors and interiors alike" (Steven Parissien, Adam Style).

Less well-known are Robert Adam's landscape drawings, which he made with his sketching partners Paul Sandby and John Clerk in Scotland.

Adam's personal sketches feature castles "perched on high rocks, winding roads and towering waterfalls." They are "mostly entirely imagined" - landscapes which Adam dreamed into the countryside he saw. At Cullen, however, he drew the bridge his architect father had designed and built.

Thirty watercolour and pen drawings by Adam and his partners are now on display at the National Galleries of Scotland. How I would like to wander through them!

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