gusson thinks the college at Edinburgh the best of their works, and says: ‘We possess few public buildings presenting so truthful and well balanced a design as this.’
Whatever were the architectural defects of their works, the brothers formed a style, which was marked, especially in their interiors, by a fine sense of proportion, and a very elegant taste in the selection and disposition of niches, lunettes, reliefs, festoons, and other classical ornaments. It was their custom to design furniture in character with their apartments, and their works of this kind are still greatly prized. Amongst them may be specially mentioned their side-boards with elegant urn-shaped knife-boxes, but they also designed bookcases and commodes, brackets and pedestals, clock-cases and candelabra, mirror frames and console tables, of singular and original merit, adapting classical forms to modern uses with a success unrivalled by any other designers of furniture in England. They designed also carriages and plate, and a sedan chair for Queen Charlotte. Of their decorative work generally it may be said that it was rich but neat, refined but not effeminate, chaste but not severe, and that it will probably have quite as lasting and beneficial effect upon English taste as their architectural structures.
In 1773 the brothers Robert and James commenced the publication of their ‘Works in Architecture,’ in folio parts, which was continued at intervals till 1778 and reached the end of the second volume. In 1822 the work was completed by the posthumous publication of a third volume, but the three bound up together do not make a thick book.
Robert Adam also obtained some reputation as a landscane painter. As an architect he was extensively employed to the last. In the year preceding his death he designed no less than eight public works and twenty-five private buildings. He died at his house in Albemarle Street, from the bursting of a blood-vessel in his stomach, on 3 March 1792. Of the social position he attained, and the estimation in which he was held, no greater proof can be afforded than the record of his funeral in Westminster Abbey. His pall-bearers were the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Coventry, the Earl of Lauderdale, Viscount Stormont, Lord Frederick Campbell, and Mr. Pulteney.
[Ruins of Diocletian Palace by Robert Adam; the Works in Architecture of R. and J. Adam; Encyclopedia Britannica; Gent. Mag. 1792; Redgrave's Dict. ; Fergusson's History of Architecture; Annual Register, 1771, 1773, 1792.]
ADAM, THOMAS (1701–1784), divine, was born at Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire on 25 Feb. 1701. His father was a solicitor and town-clerk of the corporation; his mother Elizabeth, daughter of Jasper Blythman—locally distinguished and allied to an ancient and noble house. They had six children, of whom Thomas was the third. He received his first education at the grammar school of his native town, then under an eminent master, Thomas Barnard; later he was transferred to Wakefield, where Queen Elizabeth's school holds its own still. Then he proceeded to the university of Cambridge, entering Christ's College. He was speedily removed to Hart Hall (now Hertford College), Oxford, by the influence of its founder, Dr. Newton. He took the degree of B.A., but took no further degree on account of certain scruples imbibed from his friend Dr. Newton's book on ‘Pluralities.’ In 1724 he was presented, through the interest of an uncle, to the living of Wintringham, Lincolnshire. Being then under age ecclesiastically, it was ‘held’ for a year for him. Here he remained over the long term of fifty-eight years, never wishing to change and repeatedly resisting pressure put upon him to look higher. His income rarely exceeded 200l. per annum. He married Susan, daughter of the neighbouring vicar of Roxby. She died in 1760. They had one daughter only, who died young. He died on 31 March 1784, in his 84th year.
He is of the historical ‘Evangelical’ school, but his works are, with one exception, very common-place examples of the productions of his school. He published ‘Practical Lectures on the Church Catechism’—which ran to nine or ten editions—and ‘Evangelical Sermons;’ also ‘Paraphrase and Annotations on the First Eleven Chapters of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans.’ His ‘Posthumous Works’ (3 vols. 8vo, 1786), and ‘Paraphrase and Annotations on the Four Gospels’ (2 vols., 8vo, 1837), were printed and reprinted. The work by which his memory is preserved is a selection from the ‘Posthumous Works,’ entitled ‘Private Thoughts on Religion.’ These entries from his private diary, which were meant for no eyes but his own, bring before us a man of no common power of analytic and speculative thought. With an intrepidity and integrity of self-scrutiny perhaps unexampled, he writes down problems started, and questionings raised, and conflicts gone through; whilst his ordinarily flaccid style grows pungent and strong. Ever since their publication these ‘Private Thoughts’ have exercised a strange fascination over intellects at opposite poles. Coleridge's copy of the