Robert Adam

In the south transept of Westminster Abbey is the grave of the celebrated Scottish architect Robert Adam, born at Kirkcaldy in Fife. The stone was re-cut in 1974 and reads:

ROBERT ADAM Esquire, ARCHITECT born at Kirkaldie 3rd July 1728 died in London 3rd March 1792

James Macpherson, the Scottish poet, and Sir William Chambers, architect, are buried either side of him. The sculptor Joseph Nollekens designed a monument for Adam but this was never erected (the design is at the Victoria & Albert Museum).

His Life

Robert was the second son of William Adam (d.1748), architect, and his wife Mary (Robertson). He was educated in Edinburgh and joined his father’s firm, as did his younger brother James (d.1794). After spending some time in Italy he went to London to set up his practice. He became architect to King George III and is well known for designing or remodelling country and town houses, and also furniture. His work can be seen at Kenwood House and Syon House in London, at Kedleston, and at Dumfries House in Scotland.

Six monuments in the Abbey were designed by him - to Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland, Roger Townshend, John Andre, James Thomson, Mary Hope and William Dalrymple.

He died unmarried in London and left his effects to two of his sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret. His brothers John (who died in 1792 and is buried in the Adam mausoleum at Greyfriars churchyard in Edinburgh) and William (d.1822) were also architects.

Further reading 

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"The Complete Works of Robert and James Adam..." by David King, 2001

"Robert Adam and his Brothers. New light on Britain's leading architectural family" by Colin Thom, 2019

Robert's drawing collection is at the Sir John Soane Museum in London.


3rd June 1728


3rd March 1792




South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type


Material Type


Robert Adam
Robert Adam attributed to George Willison

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Robert Adam
Robert Adam memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster