Lot 82
  • 82

Patrick William Adam 1854-1829

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  • Patrick William Adam
  • signed and dated l.r.: P W Adam 1917; inscribed with the title of the picture on an old label attatched to the frame

  • oil on canvas
  • 92 by 68 1/2 cm. ; 36 1/4 by 27 in.

Catalogue Note

Patrick William Adam began to paint the series of elegant interiors for which he is best known around 1909. Although interior subjects were uncommon in the exhibitions at the Royal Scottish Academy, in 1909 his three exhibits were all interiors. The principal painting of this early group was sold on the first day of the exhibition and from this point onwards demand for such paintings was incredible. ‘The examples which he sent to the Royal Academy in London were from the first well hung, and it was interesting to note how a fashion for this type of work spread and became more familiar on the walls of those Exhibitions’ (Patrick J. Ford, Interior Paintings by Patrick W. Adam, R.S.A., 1920, pg. 4).

Adam moved to a house named Ardilea on Dirleton Road in North Berwick in 1902. He remained at Ardilea until his death in 1929 and it is here that many of his greatest interiors were produced, including The Study, Ardilea, North Berwick. Another interior entitled The Breakfast Room, Ardilea, North Berwick of 1912 depicts the same room with the gate-legged table laid out for tea rather than arrayed with books. The green-glazed vase of dried honesty appears in the 1912 canvas on the floor by the garden doors. The neo-classical gilt frame and the emerald green glass vase also appear in both pictures.

In 1913 only a year after The Study, Ardilea, North Berwick was painted, a group of like minded artists, including Adam, James Paterson, David Alison, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell and Sir John Lavery founded the Society of Eight, with the intention of holding private exhibitions in which to show the products of their own endeavours. The Society of Eight was to become one of the greatest fraternities of artists that Scotland has ever known, the kindred fires of each artist’s imaginations and spirited discussions sparking the fires of innovation which make each member of the group so important to the history of Twentieth Century art. Cadell was particularly influenced by Adam’s sophisticated interiors and it is in the work of Adam that we find the stimulus for the glamorous Colourist interiors that Cadell painted in the 1920s. Cadell and Adam shared a similar appreciation for space and arrangement in their interiors, the eye led through doorways and windows, across tables glittering with polished silver and fine china, vast bunches of seasonal blooms illuminated by summer sunlight and the gleam of mahogany and rosewood. ‘Above all, his ‘Interiors,’ – whether they are ‘Interiors’ pure and simple or ‘Interiors’… produce an impression that the subject has genuinely appealed to him, not only interestingly but through the medium of a temperament peculiarly adapted to the handling of such subjects.’ (ibid. pg. 13)