Concept Title: Advertisement
Three Keywords: Patronage, to impress, clients
In 1764 Robert Adam published his book «Ruins of the palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia». On the first page, Robert Adam introduces himself as the architect of the British King and Queen. Then he writes a dedication letter to the King. From the letter it can be seen that the British King he was serving was George III and that Robert Adam hopes to flatter the King, who has money and power, to support great architecture. Robert Adam wrote his book when he was serving George III. During this time period it was customary for architects to seek patronages or commissions from wealthy and/or royal clients. This leads me to the assumption that Robert Adam was actually trying to impress the King with his architectural mastery so that he can built something as remarkable as the ancient palace at Spalatro in Dalmatia. Robert Adam’s desire to impress the King influences the way he writes and the level of detail he gives to certain parts of the palace. In particular he focuses on the grander areas like the Atrium and the Bathing Area, which he describes very extensively. Other areas like the slaves or army cells are barely mentioned. Although there are differences in the depth of the descriptions Robert Adam covers all aspects of the palace. For that he provides the reader with detailed geographical information (p.5-6 intro), describes the floor plan of the whole palace (p.14, 15 intro), the construction (p.14,15 intro) and sometimes even the materials used for the construction (p.14, 15 intro). Further Robert Adam not only describes the building, its construction and its dimensions, but also the atmosphere and the historical usage of the rooms. He describes his own feelings when he stands there and looks at the palace. This description helps to bring the atmosphere to life for the reader. Robert Adam also uses many ancient references such as Vitruvius and Pliny. While he’s looking at the ancient elements, he also points out some contemporary ones for his readers to show connections between the ancient palace and modern England. One good example was a heating system that was most probably used in the palace and which was very similar to the one used in England during the 1700s. Last but not least it is important to point out that Robert Adams study is very meticulous. After all his book was going to be published and should serve the British folk and especially other architects to get to know better the ancient way of building.
by Lisa Müller