Following a six-week visit to Spalatro, Adam published this book with its elaborately engraved views of the late Roman palace, intending it to emulate the success of Robert Wood's The Ruins of Palmyra published in 1763. The engravings were based on drawings by Clerisseau (six of which are preserved in the Hermitage Museum), and were said by the Critical Review in October 1764 to possess "a taste and execution that has never been equalled in this country." Indeed, when Adam returned to Britain in 1758, "the custom's officer at Harwich had so admired the drawings that he had charged no duty" (Millard, p.5). It has been said that the publication of this work launched the Adam style.
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