“Style of the Brothers Adam” is the technically correct term for referring to what most people in the antique furniture industry call “Adams Style”. The three Adams brothers (Robert, John, and James) are responsible for helping break furniture styles of the time out of the rut of the gaudy and back to a more clean, traditional look.
History of the Adams Brothers
A brief accounting of each of the Adams brothers individually would be quite repetitious as their basic histories are quite similar. Hailing from Scotland, all three brothers were born in the early 1700’s. They all followed in their father’s footsteps be becoming architects and focused on designing not only buildings, but the entire decorating scheme for the interior as well.
Due to the growth of the Industrial Revolution, England was going through a period of large growth which gave these architects plenty of opportunity to influence the styles around them. In addition to their many buildings the brothers also published a book entitled The Works in Architecture. This volume allowed the Adams’ designs to be circulated throughout Europe, influencing the upper and middle classes.
Adams Style Antique Furniture
While widely known for their architecture, the antique furniture that resulted from the influence of the Adams brothers is more to my interest. Previous styles had either strict mathematical proportions and lines or were decorated with carvings and details to the point of being gaudy. The Adams style brought furniture back towards cleaner, more traditional lines but also introduced curves into pieces that had not previously been built with them.
The simpler lines and gentle curves of the Adams’ designs would later lead the furniture industry into the Regency period which we still find popular today.