The Brothers Adam style, perhaps better known as Robert Adam furniture, marked the end of individualistic styles that were created during what has become known as the golden age of furniture. It bears mentioning that furniture had never seen such creative designs before or after the golden age. The Brothers Adam or Robert Adam styles reigned from 1762 until 1792.
Robert Adam added his name to complete the list of the four masters of furniture design: Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, Thomas Sheraton and last but not least Robert Adam.
Robert was born in Scotland and was educated at the University of Edinburgh before pursuing a career in architecture in Italy. While in Italy Robert Adam was impressed with Classic architecture that would later influence his work in architecture and furniture design. When Robert was forty he was appointed architect to the king by George III. Later James would assume that role.
The four brothers gained great wealth between 1762 and 1792 as a result of their building ventures. London still houses many homes and buildings built by the the Brothers Adam.
Furniture design was actually a part of the architectural commissions of the day for the Brothers Adam. They saw a structure as not being complete until it was furnished. Perhaps, they were the first interior decorators.
Many of the initial furniture designs were not practical as they fulfilled the last tenant of the architecture, much as a fireplace or doorway would. Their early furniture designs were often modified by cabinet makers who actually built the pieces. George Hepplewhite was one of those cabinet makers.
The Brothers Adam or the Robert Adam era simplified the structure of the furniture by substituting straight lines for curved ones. Very fine classical ornament was added to furniture designs by the Brothers Adam. Robert Adams began to see the correlation between architectural setting and the furniture within, a trend that has been followed when possible ever since.
Robert Adam was the most outstanding of the Brothers Adam in his designs. For that reason most often the Brothers Adam era is called the Robert Adam style.