1 of 2 portraits of Robert Adam
attributed to George Willison
oil on canvas, circa 1770-1774
50 in. x 40 in. (1270 mm x 1016 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Artistback to top
- George Willison (1741-1797), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 13 portraits.
This portraitback to top
After his Grand Tour, Robert Adam set up in London as an architect in 1758 with his younger brothers. For the next thirty years his neoclassical designs, en-suite planning and attention to every detail of interior decoration were to revolutionise English domestic architecture. Famous buildings by him in or near London include 20 Portman Square (now Home House), the Adelphi, Kenwood, Osterley and Syon. He is shown in this portrait by Willison supporting a large volume, presumably of architectural drawings, on his knee.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 7
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 4
Events of 1770back to top
Current affairsAugustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford.
Art and scienceOliver Goldsmith publishes his poem The Deserted Village.
Philosopher and politician Edmund Burke publishes Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents discussing the limits of the King's authority.
17-year-old Thomas Chatterton, later hailed as a significant poet, commits suicide in a London garret.
Thomas Gainsborough paints his portrait of Jonathan Buttall, which later becomes known as The Blue Boy.
International'Townshend duties' on imports into the colonies are repealed, except for the duty on tea. However, this concession is soon followed by the Boston Massacre, in which British troops fire into an unruly crowd in Boston, killing five.
Captain Cook reaches the eastern coast of Australia, at a place which he names Botany Bay. He discovers the Great Barrier Reef when HMS Endeavour runs onto it. Cook claims New South Wales for the British.