Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio. In form, neoclassical architecture emphasizes the wall rather than chiaroscuro and maintains separate identities to each of its parts; the style is manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, in its architectural formulae as an outgrowth of some classicising features of the Late Baroque architectural tradition. Neoclassical architecture is still designed today, but may be labelled New Classical Architecture for contemporary buildings. In Central and Eastern Europe, the style is referred to as Classicism, while the newer revival styles of the 19th century until today are called neoclassical. Intellectually, neoclassicism was symptomatic of a desire to return to the perceived "purity" of the arts of Rome, to the more vague perception of Ancient Greek arts and, to a lesser extent, 16th-century Renaissance Classicism, a source for academic Late Baroque architecture.
Many early 19th-century neoclassical architects were influenced by the drawings and projects of Étienne-Louis Boullée and Claude Nicolas Ledoux. The many graphite drawings of Boullée and his students depict spare geometrical architecture that emulates the eternality of the universe. There are Edmund Burke's conception of the sublime. Ledoux addressed the concept of architectural character, maintaining that a building should communicate its function to the viewer: taken such ideas give rise to "architecture parlante". A return to more classical architectural forms as a reaction to the Rococo style can be detected in some European architecture of the earlier 18th century, most vividly represented in the Palladian architecture of Georgian Britain and Ireland; the baroque style had never been to the English taste. Four influential books were published in the first quarter of the 18th century which highlighted the simplicity and purity of classical architecture: Vitruvius Britannicus, Palladio's Four Books of Architecture, De Re Aedificatoria and The Designs of Inigo Jones... with Some Additional Designs.
The most popular was the four-volume Vitruvius Britannicus by Colen Campbell. The book contained architectural prints of famous British buildings, inspired by the great architects from Vitruvius to Palladio. At first the book featured the work of Inigo Jones, but the tomes contained drawings and plans by Campbell and other 18th-century architects. Palladian architecture became well established in 18th-century Britain. At the forefront of the new school of design was the aristocratic "architect earl", Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington; this House was a reinterpretation of Palladio's Villa Capra, but purified of 16th century elements and ornament. This severe lack of ornamentation was to be a feature of the Palladianism. In 1734 William Kent and Lord Burlington designed one of England's finest examples of Palladian architecture with Holkham Hall in Norfolk; the main block of this house followed Palladio's dictates quite but Palladio's low detached, wings of farm buildings were elevated in significance.
This classicising vein was detectable, to a lesser degree, in the Late Baroque architecture in Paris, such as in Perrault's east range of the Louvre. This shift was visible in Rome at the redesigned façade for S. Giovanni in Laterano. By the mid 18th century, the movement broadened to incorporate a greater range of Classical influences, including those from Ancient Greece. An early centre of neoclassicism was Italy Naples, where by the 1730s, court architects such as Luigi Vanvitelli and Ferdinando Fuga were recovering classical and Mannierist forms in their Baroque architecture. Following their lead, Giovanni Antonio Medrano began to build the first neoclassical structures in Italy in the 1730s. In the same period, Alessandro Pompei introduced neoclassicism to the Venetian Republic, building one of the first lapidariums in Europe in Verona, in the Doric style. During the same period, neoclassical elements were introduced to Tuscany by architect Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey, the court architect of Francis Stephen of Lorraine.
On Jadot's lead, an original neoclassical style was developed by Gaspare Paoletti, transforming Florence into the most important centre of neoclassicism in the peninsula. In the second half of the century, Neoclassicism flourished in Turin and Trieste. In the latter two cities, just as in Tuscany, the sober neoclassical style was linked to the reformism of the ruling Habsburg enlightened monarchs; the Rococo style remained much popular in Italy until the Napoleonic regimes, which brought a new archaeological classicism, embraced as a political statement by young, urban Italians with republican leanings. The shift to neoclassical architecture is conventionally dated to the 1750s, it first gained influence in France. In France, the movement was propelled by a generation of French art students trained in Rome, was influenced by the writings of
Royal Scottish Academy
For Scotland's national academy, see Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Royal Scottish Academy is the country’s national academy of art, it promotes contemporary Scottish art. Founded in 1819 as the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, in 1826 it was named the Scottish Academy, it became the Royal Scottish Academy on being granted a royal charter in 1838; the RSA maintains a unique position in the country as an independently funded institution led by eminent artists and architects to promote and support the creation and enjoyment of visual arts through exhibitions and related educational events. In addition to a continuous programme of exhibitions, the RSA administers scholarships and residencies for artists who live and work in Scotland; the RSA's historic collection of important artworks and an extensive archive of related material chronicling art and architecture in Scotland over the last 180 years are housed in the National Museums Collection Centre at Granton, are available to researchers by appointment.
Displays of the historic collections are mounted. Its home since 1911 has been the Royal Scottish Academy Building on The Mound, Princes Street, adjacent to the National Gallery of Scotland; the building is managed by the National Galleries of Scotland but the 1910 Order grants the RSA permanent administration offices in the building. Exhibition space is shared throughout the year with other organisations; the building designed by William Henry Playfair, was refurbished as part of the Playfair Project, is used by the National Galleries of Scotland. The RSA is led by a body of eminent artist and architect members who encompass a broad cross-section of contemporary Scottish art. Members are known as Academicians, are entitled to use the post-nominal letters RSA; the president uses the postnominal letters PRSA while in office, PPRSA thereafter. Academicians are elected to the Academy by their peers. There are Honorary Academicians, including the RSA's patron, the Duke of Edinburgh. After amendments to the Supplementary Charter in 2005, once Associates have submitted a Diploma work into the Permanent Collection of the RSA, they are entitled to full membership of the Academy.
The membership includes 104 Academicians. From 2010–12, the RSA President was Professor Bill Scott, Secretary Arthur Watson and Treasurer Professor Ian Howard. Royal West of England Academy Esme Gordon The Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture & Architecture 1826-1976. Edinburgh; the Royal Scottish Academy
Scottish National Gallery
The Scottish National Gallery is the national art gallery of Scotland. It is located on The Mound in central Edinburgh, close to Princes Street; the building was designed in a neoclassical style by William Henry Playfair, first opened to the public in 1859. The gallery houses Scotland's national collection of fine art, spanning Scottish and international art from the beginning of the Renaissance up to the start of the 20th century; the Scottish National Gallery is run by National Galleries of Scotland, a public body that owns the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Because of its architectural similarity, the Scottish National Gallery is confused by visitors with the neighbouring Royal Scottish Academy Building, a separate institution which works with the Scottish National Gallery; the origins of Scotland's national collection lie with the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, founded in 1819. It began to acquire paintings, in 1828 the Royal Institution building opened on The Mound.
In 1826, the Scottish Academy was founded by a group of artists as an offshoot of the Royal Institution, in 1838 it became the Royal Scottish Academy. A key aim of the RSA was the founding of a national collection, it began to build up a collection and from 1835 rented exhibition space within the Royal Institution building. In the 1840s, plans were put in place for a new building to house the RSA; the noted Scottish architect William Henry Playfair was commissioned to prepare designs, on 30 August 1850, Prince Albert laid the foundation stone. The building was divided along the middle, with the east half housing the exhibition galleries of the RSA, the western half containing the new National Gallery of Scotland, formed from the collection of the Royal Institution. In 1912 the RSA moved into the Royal Institution building, which remains known as the Royal Scottish Academy Building; when it re-opened, the gallery concentrated on building its permanent collection of Scottish and European art for the nation of Scotland.
In the early 21st century, the National Galleries launched the Playfair Project, a scheme to create a new basement entrance to the National Gallery in Princes Street Gardens and an underground connecting space, called the Weston Link, between the Gallery and the renovated Royal Scottish Academy building. The new underground space opened in 2004. In 2012, the gallery's umbrella organisation, National Galleries of Scotland, underwent a rebranding exercise, National Gallery of Scotland was renamed the Scottish National Gallery. William Playfair's building — like its neighbour, the Royal Scottish Academy — was designed in the form of an Ancient Greek temple atop a stylobate steps. While Playfair designed the RSA in the Doric order, the National Gallery building was surrounded by Ionic columns topped with tetrastyle porticoes; the pair of porticoes at the main entrance reflect the building's original dual purpose, to house the two collections of the NGS and the RSA, these served as two separate entrances.
Playfair worked to a much more limited budget than the RSA project, this is reflected in his comparatively austere architectural style. He may have drawn inspiration from an 1829 scheme for an arcade of shops by Archibald Elliot II, son of Archibald Elliot. Playfair's National Gallery was laid out in a cruciform plan; when the RSA moved into the former Royal Institution building in 1912, the English architect William Thomas Oldrieve was engaged to remodel the NGS interior to house the National Gallery collection exclusively. In the 1970s, when the gallery was under the direction of the Department of the Environment, the building was extended. An upper floor was added at the south end in 1972, creating five new small galleries, in 1978 a new gallery was opened in the basement to house the Gallery's Scottish Collection; the new Princes Street Gardens entrance and underground space opened in 2004 was designed by John Miller and Partners. Construction cost £ 32 million; the area contains a lecture theatre, education area, restaurant, an interactive gallery, a link to the RSA building.
In January 2019, construction work began on a project to alter the lower level areas and to create extended exhibition space. It is planned. Architectural features The research facilities at the Scottish National Gallery include the Prints and Drawings Collection of over 30,000 works on paper, from the early Renaissance to the late nineteenth century; the Research Library covers the period from 1300 to 1900 and holds 50,000 volumes of books, journals and microfiches, as well as some archival material relating to the collections and history of the National Gallery. The Print Room or Research Library can be accessed by appointment. At the heart of the National Gallery's collection is a group of paintings transferred from the Royal Scottish Academy Building; this includes masterpieces by Van Dyck and Giambattista Tiepolo. The National Gallery did not receive its own purchase grant until 1903. In the Gallery's main ground floor rooms are displayed a number of major large-scale canvases such as Benjamin West's Alexander III of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of a Stag, Rubens's The Feast of Herod
David Cousin was a Scottish architect, landscape architect and planner associated with early cemetery design and many prominent buildings in Edinburgh. From 1841 to 1872 he operated as Edinburgh’s City Superintendent of Works. Cousin was born in North Leith on 19 May 1809, the son of Isabella Paterson and John Cousin, was christened in North Leith Church, he trained under his father as a joiner, but went on to study mathematics with Edward Sang. He trained as an architect under William Henry Playfair, Scotland’s most eminent architect of the time, leaving Playfair's practice in 1831 to set up on his own. During this time he was unsuccessful, in the competition to design the Scott Monument, he established a partnership with Glaswegian engineer William Gale, together they won two competitions for the design of the West Church in Greenock and the Parish Church at Cambuslang. In 1841 he was appointed assistant to Thomas Brown, Superintendent of City Works in Edinburgh, replacing him in this role when Brown retired.
During the Disruption of 1843, he left the Church of Scotland and joined the Free Church, after which he received many commissions for the new churches and graveyards that were necessary as a result of the split. He himself was an elder of Pilrig Free Church, to his own design and only the second purpose-built church for the Free Church, he worked at 7 Greenhill Gardens in Edinburgh. He employed John Chesser at his City Architect's office at 12 Royal Exchange, he trained John Henderson, Robert Morham and Morham's brother-in-law, John McLachan. He retired to Louisiana in the United States and died there in Baton Rouge in 1878, aged 69. Although buried in the United States he has a memorial in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh where the remainder of his family lie, including his wife, Isabella; the memorial stands on the west side of a north-south path, just north of the large Highlanders monument. His brother, George Cousin a surveyor, lies nearby. On 23 April 1838 Cousin married Isabella Galloway, the daughter of a tailor.
Together they had three daughters. David's brother William Cousin was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland, latterly in Melrose inj the Scottish Borders. Mausoleum for Major Archibald Monteath in Glasgow Necropolis Warriston Cemetery Dean Cemetery Dalry Cemetery Rosebank Cemetery Newington Cemetery East Princes Street Gardens: terraces, quatrefoil-pierced ballustrades and steps Layout of the villas in the Grange estate Layout of the villas in the Mayfield estate St Mary Street Improvement Plan Blackfriars Street Improvement Plan Jeffrey Street Chambers Street West Savile Road Many of these were done to a standard plan as "temporary" solutions which were replaced. Auchterarder Cramond Kirkcaldy Newington, Edinburgh Pathhead, Kirkcaldy St Andrews, Edinburgh St Devenick’s, Banchory St Georges, Lothian Road, Edinburgh Borgue, Kirkcudbrightshire Dean Village, Edinburgh Kilmarnock Roseneath, Dunbartonshire Saltcoats Kinghorn Oban Free Church Offices on the Mound in Edinburgh Cambuslang Parish Church Kingston Church, Glasgow Olrig Parish Church, Caithness Chirnside Bridge Paper Mills Dalrymple Church, Ayrshire Villa at 7 Greenhill Gardens Dalkeith Corn Exchange Kelso Corn Exchange Curriehill House near Currie, Edinburgh The Reid School of Music, Edinburgh Melrose Corn Exchange The India Buildings Scott Monument Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh by McWilliam Gifford and Walker Buildings of Scotland: Lothian by Colin McWilliam
Royal Terrace, Edinburgh
Royal Terrace is a grand street in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, on the north side of Calton Hill within the New Town and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1995, built on the south side of a setted street, facing the sloping banks of London Road Gardens Royal Terrace Gardens, with views looking north towards Leith and the Firth of Forth. William Henry Playfair designed Royal Terrace between 1820 and 1824. Together with the adjoining Carlton and Regent Terraces, the three streets are in a continuous line, cut only by Carlton Terrace Lane giving access to mews, leading around the eastern end of Calton Hill and surrounding Regent Gardens, the largest of the private gardens of the New Town; these streets, with Royal Terrace the grandest, were the showpiece of Playfair's conception for the Eastern New Town, intended to be grander than James Craig's original development. The streets were named in connection with the visit to Edinburgh in 1822 of George IV; the extension was projected to reach from Calton Hill down towards Leith, although very little of the northern section was built.
Royal Terrace is in the form of an 121-bay ` palace front' of classical 3-bay townhouses. Playfair's original drawings are held by Edinburgh University, including plans for the whole facade as well as individual sections; the houses are now all category A listed buildings. The design of the townhouses is unlike those in neighbouring streets. Door entrances and windows on the ground floor are arched and surrounded by V-chamfered rusticated stone work. Ten of the houses still have their original fanlights; the upper floors throughout are of polished ashlar stone with basements of droved ashlar. The houses are of three storeys with attics to the colonnaded sections; the long symmetrical facade alternates between colonnaded and un-colonnaded sections, from east to west, as follows: Playfair hoped to attract "fashionable and wealthy people" to Calton Hill, but immediately he encountered competition from new developments to the western end of the New Town, in particular the Moray Estate. Building began in Royal Terrace in 1821, but was not completed until 1859–60.
This was in contrast to Carlton Terraces which were completed in the 1830s. Royal Terrace is a continuous straight structure of about 360 metres, reputedly the longest Georgian terrace in Europe, it is 30 metres longer than the Royal York Crescent in Bristol. The Moray Estate claim a single built-up environment of nearly 600 metres, but unlike Royal Terrace, this is a series of unbroken streets rather than a single entity. Royal Terrace was known in Edinburgh as'Whisky Row' because merchants living there had an unobstructed view of their ships coming into Leith Harbour. In fact, some wine merchants did come to live in the terrace, including John Crabbie, founder of John Crabbie & Company, responsible for Crabbie's Ginger Wine, who lived in number 22 from 1861 to 1891. 1 - John Colquhoun sportsman and sportswriter 1 - Lucy Bethia Walford novelist and artist, daughter of John Colquhoun 1 - Frances Mary Colquhoun author, daughter of John Colquhoun 3 - William Paterson Paterson theologian and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 5 - Robert Kerr Hannay historian 5 - Robert Flint theologian and philosopher 8 - Alexander Ignatius Roche artist, an important figure in the “Glasgow Boys” 15 - Charles Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer Royal for Scotland 19 - Rev Robert Boog Watson malacologist and minister of the Free Church of Scotland, his brother Patrick Heron Watson 19 - Francis Chalmers Crawford FRSE, amateur botanist and ornithologist 20 - Charles Alexander Stevenson lighthouse engineer, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson 21-22 - Charles Saroléa Professor of French and writer on international affairs 22 - George Reid artist 24, 38, 35 - James Cowan Liberal Party politician, son of Alexander Cowan 25 - Alan Stevenson lighthouse engineer, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson 25 - David Stevenson lighthouse designer, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson 27 - Sir William Taylour Thomson KCMG CB, military officer and diplomat 28 - Roderick Ross Chief Constable of Edinburgh City Police 28 - Thomas Hutchison landowner and politician, Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1921 to 1923 32 - John Bartholomew cartographer 32 - Thomas Brown architect 33 - Lt Gen Thomas Robert Swinburne and Adam Alexander Dawson film and television author 35 - Alexander Cowan papermaker and philanthropist, father of James Cowan and Charles Cowan 35 - Helen Bannerman author of children's books, daughter of Robert Boog Watson and granddaughter of Alexander Cowan 37 - Rev Prof William Stevenson and Charles Cowan politician and paper-maker, son of Alexander Cowan 39 - Donald Tovey musicologist and musician The terrace is now in both commercial and residential use.
This includes six hotels, including the Crowne Plaza that occupies the central colonnaded section, a restaurant, the Finnish Consulate, the Ukrainian Club, including those of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the arts-supporting Dunard Fund, rental accommodation. Most of the former townhouses have been split into flats. Carlton Terrace, Edinburgh Regent and Carlton Terrace Gardens London Road Gardens Calton Hill Regent Terrace William Henry Playfair Mitchell, Anne, "The People of Calton Hill", pp 73–98 Mercat Press, James Thin, Edinburgh, ISBN 1-873644-18-3 Rege
Regent Terrace is a residential street of 34 classical 3-bay townhouses built on the tail of Calton Hill in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Regent Terrace is within the Edinburgh New and Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1995; the name Regent Terrace was used because of the visit to Edinburgh in 1822 of George IV, Prince Regent until 1820 during the illness of his father George III. The terrace was designed by the architect William Playfair in 1825 and built between 1826 and 1833. Playfair designed Regent and Carlton Terraces at the same time as part of an Eastern extension to the New Town, planned to be more magnificent than Craig's original New Town. Playfair hoped to attract the "wealthy people" to Regent Terrace; the houses are all category A listed buildings. The houses were built as a terrace on the north side of the street, stepped down at intervals following the slope of the road. Eighteen houses were of two stories and basement while the remaining sixteen houses were three stories and basement.
The front elevation features continuous cast-iron trellis balconies while each house has a porch with fluted attached Greek Doric columns. Thirteen of the houses retain the original three-ringed transom windows above the main doors; the terrace faces Holyrood Park, Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Palace, the Old Town and the Scottish Parliament building. The houses in the terrace are a mixture of tenures — most are owned and occupied but some are rented as holiday accommodation; some of the houses in the terrace have been split into flats. Number 3 Regent Terrace has been the United States Consulate since 1951. Number 28 was the Free French House and was opened by General de Gaulle in 1942, it became the French Consulate and the home of the French consul-general. Number 32 was the home of the Norwegian consul-general until 2008; the Western end of Regent Terrace was closed in 2001 to traffic because of security concerns about the United States Consulate. Number 6 Regent Terrace was sold for £1,500 in 1831 and £2,700 in 1877.
Prices dropped as low as £1,000 before World War II and rose to £2,000 at the end of the war, £4,000 by the mid 1950s, £400,000 in 1993 and over £2,000,000 in 2008. The first resident was Isaac Bayley, a solicitor in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, who occupied number 13 Regent Terrace in 1826. Bayely's father-in-law Dr. George Husband Baird, principal of Edinburgh University lived there towards the end of his life. Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême and his wife Madame Royale, moved into what is now 22 Regent Terrace in 1830; the widowed duchesse de Berry, sister in law of the Duke of Angoulême lived at what is now 12 Regent Terrace at that time. Her young son, Count of Chambord grandson of Charles X and next in line after the Duke of Angoulême, is said to have wept bitterly when his family left for Austria in 1832 as he had become attached to Scotland; the painter Sir George Harvey lived at 21 Regent Terrace from 1854 to 1876. Sir George was one of the founders of the Royal Scottish Academy, was elected president in 1864 and was knighted in 1867.
The influential Scottish minister and author the Reverend Dr. Maxwell Nicholson lived at 3 Regent Terrace for most of his life until 1874; the architect Duncan Menzies lived at 31 Regent Terrace from about 1891-1910.. Sir James Puckering Gibson 1st Baronet of Regent Terrace was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1906 to 1909 and represented Edinburgh East in the House of Commons as a Liberal between 1909 and 1912, he lived at 33 Regent Terrace from 1880 and was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 23 November 1909. Sir James had no children. Professor Sir Thomas Hudson Beare was Professor of Engineering Heriot-Watt University and University College, London, he was Regius Professor of Engineering in Edinburgh University and lived at 10 Regent Terrace from 1901. The architect William Gordon Dey was born at 9 Regent Terrace in 1911 and went to the Royal High School, close by. A Regius Professor of English at Edinburgh University Sir H. J. C. Grierson lived at 12 Regent Terrace from 1913-1933.
His daughter Janet was an author who wrote Divided Loyalties about her years as a Scottish woman in the Cevennes in occupied France during the war when the French resistance was active. The painter Francis Cadell, one of the Scottish Colourists, lived in 30 Regent Terrace from 1930-1935. Lady Margaret Sackville, daughter of Reginald Windsor Sackville, 7th Earl De La Warr, second cousin of Vita Sackville-West lived at 30 Regent Terrace from 1930-1932. Sir George Dick-Lauder, 10th Baronet, an Indian Civil Service Administrator, lived at 16 Regent Terrace and died there in 1936. Queen Mary used to visit Sir Hew Hamilton Dalrymple KCVO at Number 24. Sir Hew, brother of the Earl of Stair, Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire and Captain of the Royal Company of Archers, the King's Bodyguard for Scotland, lived there until he died in 1945. John Murray, 9th Earl of Dunmore lived at 14 Regent Terrace until his death in 1980. In 1993 Peter Fraser, Baron Fraser of Carmyllie Minister of State at the Scottish Office, was living in Regent Terrace.
The author and mathematician Ann Mitchell, who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II on the German Enigma cypher machines, lived for forty years at number 20 Regent Terrace. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, composer and Master of the Queen's Music, lived at 13 Regent
Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam, Scotland's foremost architect of the time, trained under him. With his older brother John, Robert took on the family business, which included lucrative work for the Board of Ordnance, after William's death. In 1754, he left for Rome, spending nearly five years on the continent studying architecture under Charles-Louis Clérisseau and Giovanni Battista Piranesi. On his return to Britain he established a practice in London, where he was joined by his younger brother James. Here he developed the "Adam Style", his theory of "movement" in architecture, based on his studies of antiquity and became one of the most successful and fashionable architects in the country. Adam held the post of Architect of the King's Works from 1761 to 1769. Robert Adam was a leader of the first phase of the classical revival in England and Scotland from around 1760 until his death, he influenced the development of Western architecture, both in North America.
Adam designed fittings as well as houses. He served as the member of Parliament for Kinross-shire from 1768 to 1774. Adam was born on 3 July 1728 at Gladney House in Kirkcaldy, the second son Mary Robertson, the daughter of William Robertson of Gladney, architect William Adam; as a child he was noted as having a "feeble constitution". From 1734 at the age of six Adam attended the Royal High School, Edinburgh where he learned Latin until he was 15, he was taught to read works by Virgil, Horace and parts of Cicero and in his final year Livy. In autumn 1743 he matriculated at the University of Edinburgh, compulsory classes for all students were: the Greek language, logic and natural philosophy. Students could choose three elective subjects, Adam attended classes in mathematics, taught by Colin Maclaurin, anatomy, taught by Alexander Monro primus, his studies were interrupted by the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highlanders, who occupied Edinburgh during the 1745 Jacobite rising. At the end of the year, Robert fell ill for some months, it seems unlikely that he returned to university, having completed only two years of study.
On his recovery from illness in 1746, he joined his elder brother John as apprentice to his father. He assisted William Adam on projects such as the building of Inveraray Castle and the continuing extensions of Hopetoun House. William's position as Master Mason to the Board of Ordnance began to generate much work, as the Highlands were fortified following the failed Jacobite revolt. Robert's early ambition was to be an artist rather than architect, the style of his early sketches in the manner of Salvator Rosa are reflected in his earliest surviving architectural drawings, which show picturesque gothic follies. William Adam died in June 1748, left Dowhill, a part of the Blair Adam estate which included a tower house, to Robert. On William Adam's death, John Adam inherited both the family business and the position of Master Mason to the Board of Ordnance, he took Robert into partnership to be joined by James Adam. The Adam Brothers' first major commission was the decoration of the grand state apartments on the first floor at Hopetoun House, followed by their first "new build" at Dumfries House.
For the Board of Ordnance, the brothers were the main contractor at Fort George, a large modern fort near Inverness designed by military engineer Colonel Skinner. Visits to this project, begun in 1750, would occupy the brothers every summer for the next 10 years, along with works at many other barracks and forts, provided Robert with a solid foundation in practical building. In the winter of 1749 -- 1750, Adam travelled to London with the poet John Home, he took the opportunity for architectural study, visiting Wilton, designed by Inigo Jones, the Queens Hermitage in Richmond by Roger Morris. His sketchbook of the trip shows a continuing interest in gothic architecture. Among his friends at Edinburgh were the philosophers Adam Ferguson and David Hume and the artist Paul Sandby whom he met in the Highlands. Other Edinburgh acquaintances included Gilbert Elliot, William Wilkie, John Home and Alexander Wedderburn. On 3 October 1754, Robert Adam in the company of his brother James set off from Edinburgh for his Grand Tour, stopping for a few days in London, where they visited the Mansion House, London, St Stephen Walbrook, St Paul's Cathedral, Berkshire, in the company of Thomas Sandby who showed them his landscaping at Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water Lake.
They sailed from Dover arriving in Calais on 28 October 1754. He joined Charles Hope-Weir, brother of the Earl of Hopetoun in Brussels and together they travelled to Rome. Hope agreed to take Adam on the tour at the suggestion of his uncle, the Marquess of Annandale, who had undertaken the Grand Tour himself. While in Brussels the pair attended a Play and Masquerade, as well as visiting churches and palaces in the city. Travelling on to Tournai Lille, where they visited the Citadal designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. By 12 November 1754 Adam and Hope were in Paris. Adam and Hope travelled on to Italy together, before falling out in Rome over travelling expenses and accommodation. Robert Adam stayed on in Rome until 1757, studying classical architecture and honing his drawing skills, his tutors included the French architect and artist Charles-Louis Clérisseau, the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Here, he became acquainted with the work of the pioneering classical archaeologist and art historian, theorist Johan