3 ft. 5 ins. from flour to top of back. 2 ft. 2} ins. across front IWseat. 2 ft. 2 ins. depth of seatButside.
detail with Hepplewliite was the tapering of legs on the inside faces only ; a feature which imparted a peculiar appearance of grip and power to otherwise fragile furniture. This inside taper will be noticed later on, when the work of Hepplewliite is considered.
Figs. 41 and 42 are two large arm-chairs of carved mahogany, showing the Adam influence in the details of the front legs. Both of these models have been adapted from the square arm-chairs so extensively popularised by Chippendale, and of which several illustrations were given in the second volume of this book.
The French fashion of mounting furniture with ornaments of gilded brass— ormolu—influenced the work of Robert Adam to a considerable extent, and several designs of his are preserved, specifically designed for this embellishment. The furniture of the dining-room at Harewood House—Gawthorp, as it was then known—is an instance of this. Fig. 43 is an example of this ormolu-mounted furniture, which did not enjoy an extended fashion, however, when dissociated from the French cabriole leg. In his " wall furniture " Robert Adam found an effective substitute for ormolu in carving executed in box and pear woods, sharply cut and finished with an agate tool. The effect of this, in conjunction with rich mahogany, is often exceedingly fine, but in the purposed suppression of all virility in the carving, and in the choice of the woods used, one has the uncomfortable impression that an attempt has been made to imitate composition ornament in carving, instead of the reverse process. But the age of Robert Adam was essentially one of sham—stucco, composition, and scagliola taking the place of the more valuable materials and masquerading in their guise with the most unblushing effrontery.
Adam Chimney-pieces, Pier Glasses, etc.
ENTlON has already been made of the collection of the original Adam drawings preserved in the Soane Museum. These sketches are contained in some fifty-three large folio albums, and cover a period from about 1762 to 1790 in a remarkably complete manner. Nearly all are signed by Robert Adam, who appears to have been the moving spirit of the firm. He appears to have been almost incredibly painstaking in his work, three or four sketches for the same piece, differing only in very minor details, and each elaborately finished and tinted, being rather the rule than the exception. Added to this, a comparison of the actual pieces still existing—such as at Bowood, Kenwood, Harewood, Sion, and Nostell— with the final sketches in the Soane Museum, indicate that the process of revision— and frequently of radical alteration—was still continued during the manufacture of the piece. Several chairs and settees were designed for Sir Abraham Hume, where the actual covering fabrics were also made to accord, after Robert Adam's sketches. This wonderful collection of original drawings, comprising anything from architectural elevations to carpets and fabrics, from interiors to door furniture, indicate not only a most remarkable activity, but also a keen appreciation of the value of hip work on the part of Robert Adam, as nearly all of the finished sketches must have been at least submitted to, if not left with, his clients, and drawings have a peculiar habit of being mislaid when they are sent from one seat to another to catch a wealthy patron in a moment of leisure.
A careful examination of these sketches in chronological order will show, not only how the " Adam style " developed in the hands of its creator after the date of his return to England from his architectural wanderings in Italy and Dalmatia, until almost the date of his death, but also, curiously enough, how the same reckless disregard of the nature of the materials to be employed persists, with hardly any modification, during the same period. His door traceries, impossibly delicate for execution in wood, probably originated the dictum of Hepplewhite—who followed Adam very closely in many of the designs in the Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers' Guide—that they were intended for execution in modelled lead. In certain rare instances, especially in the
* The reproductions from the original drawings of the brothers Adam, used in illustration of this chapter, have been taken by the special sanction of the Trustees of the Soane Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.
fanlights of doors at this date, this recommendation was actually adopted, the lead-work being gilded to alleviate the " meagreness " of its appearance. Sheen House, in the East Sheen Road, demolished some nine years ago, contained some examples of this ornamental lead-work.
It is, perhaps, in his mirrors and pier glasses that Robert Adam allows his extravagant imagination the fullest play ; and, in contradistinction to these, his chimney-pieces are the most rational of all his creations, although even here much of the finer detail was only possible of execution by painting on wood or inlaying in marble. Frequently even the latter was decorated by the painter's brush more than by the mason's chisel or graver. As a necessary corollary, it is in his designs for chimney-pieces where Robert Adam departs the least from established forms, and where he confines himself to superimposing his characteristic details on to Georgian models. Fig. 44 indicates the last phase of the Palladian style as expounded by James Gibbs, Nicholas Hawks-moor, and their fellows. The greater refinement of detail as compared with the work
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