Robert Adam. Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia.  London, 1764.

Robert Adam. Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia. London, 1764.

Robert Adam spent five weeks in 1757 making the drawings that are the basis of the present volume. Familiar with the achievements of Piranesi, Adam was concerned that the illustrations in his work should be not only accurate but also evocative and he therefore employed the leading draughtsmen and engravers of the day, including Francesco Bartolozzi (1725-1815), a founding member of the Royal Academy.

Production was complicated because responsibility for the engravings was shared between a team of Italian engravers supervised in Venice by his brother James, and English engravers who produced the simpler elevations and ground plans. However the result was a volume of considerable distinction which advertised Adam's taste and professional abilities, as well as showing that Roman architecture could be as impressive as the best Greek buildings. The study of the Palace of Diocletian is credited with cementing neo-classical concepts in the minds of the Adam brothers, who were largely responsible for infusing Georgian architecture with the sensibilities and elements of classical Hellenic and Latinate design.