Lot 1
  • 1

Adam, Robert

8,000 - 12,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • paper
Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia. [London:] Printed for the author, 1764

Folio (21 x 15 in.; 534 x 380 mm). Engraved frontispiece (numbered 1), 60 engraved plates (numbered 2-61) printed on 53 leaves by F. Bartolozzi, E. Rooker, F. Patton, P. Santini, A. Walker, D. Cunego, J. Bassire and Antonio Zucchi; title and frontispiece dust-soiled, some marginal soiling especially in the beginning, occasional marginal spotting. Contemporary calf with gilt roll-tooled border; spine gone, covers loose, worn.


G.H. Polley & Co., Boston (bookseller's ticket on front pastedown)


Berlin Cat. 1893; Fowler 2; Millard, British 1

Catalogue Note

First edition. Recently succeeding to his father's (William Adam) architectural practice, along with his brothers John and James, Robert set off on a Grand Tour to increase his understanding of the field and demonstrate his sensibility. He travelled to Dalmatia in July 1757 with his manservant Donald, his teacher Charles-Louis Clérisseau (largely responsible for the drawings), and two draftsmen. After a stay of a bit more than five weeks, he began his return trip to London, where he persuaded his cousin William Robertson to write the dedication and the preface for the book, while Clérisseau arranged for the engraving of his drawings in Venice.

The resulting publication provides an elaborate description of a rare private residence of the Imperial period. Of this publication Edward Gibbon remarked (The Decline and Fall, chap. 12): "There is reason to suspect that the elegance of his designs and engravings has somewhat flattered the objects which it was their purpose to represent."