“Ruins of the palace of the emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia” was first published in 1764. During the time of publishing, the author Robert Adam was the “Architect of the King’s Work”, responsible for the building and maintenance of the royal castles and residences. A few years before, during his Grand Tour, Adam visited the ruins of the emperor Diocletian at Spalatro. There he made illustrations and notes on the ruins.
Adam dedicates this study at Spalatro to King George III. In his pledge of loyalty Adam argues that a great emperor such Diocletian in the Roman era but also George III are great advocates and enablers of architecture and arts. He explains that the ruins have never been studied and drawn extensively before, mentioning the many buildings, the knowledge and the beauty being lost in crumbling architecture. With this book he intends to depict the greatness of the palace and the architecture of that era.
The book does not have list of contents. The author includes a foreword, a description of the general plan of the site, an explanation of the illustrations that follow and a few remarks on the style of architecture. Robert Adam includes many illustrations, beginning with general overviews of the site, the city of Spalatro and then continuing to go more into the details of the ruin. He includes illustrations of the destructed sites as well as depictions of a reconstructed palace, placing them next to each to highlight the contrast. With his book Adam, argues for monarchs to promote architecture and arts by showing the greatness of the ruins at Spaltro in a very detailed report showing grandness and decay.