Sixty-six drawings and watercolors by the renowned eighteenth-century architect Robert Adam, his brother and partner James, and artists employed in their office were on view at The Frick Collection from December 16, 1997, through April 5, 1998. The works were selected from the 9,000 Adam drawings acquired by Sir John Soane in 1833, virtually all of the surviving sheets that were kept by Robert and James Adam themselves. Preserved in the volumes in which they were placed by their sisters after Robert Adam's death, these works, ranging from rapid sketches to brilliantly colored presentation drawings, have not faded in the intervening years. They were displayed to the public for the first time in the fall of 1996 at Sir John Soane's Museum in London, where the exhibition originated.
The show included drawings for some of Adam's most celebrated buildings — including Culzean Castle in Strathclyde, Home House in Portland Square, London, and Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire — as well as those that display lesser-known aspects of his work. The aim of the exhibition was to demonstrate the character and range of Robert Adam's creativity and the vital connection between his drawings and his buildings. An illustrated scholarly catalog, written by Professor A. A. Tait of Glasgow University, guest curator, accompanied the exhibition.