Personal papers and artworks of Robert Adams


collection owner: Robert Adams, ‘Personal papers and artworks of Robert Adams’ 1925–87

A series of sketchbooks, collages, maquettes and a self-portrait have been selected from the Robert Adams collection and are available online. Together the material documents the wide range of Adams's practice over nearly forty years. The sketchbooks date from c.1944-80 and contain studies for a variety of artworks by Adams, such as the screen forms and 'Vertex' series of sculptures. The maquettes date from the 1950s to the 1970s and relate to the 'Vertex' and 'Cavetto' sculptures of the 1970s. The self-portrait dates from c.1946.

Details of the remainder of the collection can be found on the Archive catalogue.

Collection Owner
Robert Adams 1917–1984
Tate Archive
Presented by Mrs Pat Adams, widow of the artist, and her daughter Mrs Mary Adams Weatherhead, in 1984 and 1990.
TGA 8421

44 objects in this collection

Maquettes and 3D objects
In 1971¿2, Adams designed a group of large sculptures in stainless steel, titled 'Vertex', for outdoor sites adjacent to modern buildings. 'Vertex No. 1' is sited outside the Kingswell Developement, Heath Street, Hampstead. A copy of 'Vertex No. 2', which was made in an edition of three, is placed in Mobil Court, Clements Inn. A modification of 'Vertex No. 2' titled 'Phoenix' consisting of two sculptures placed back to back, is outside the Fire Service Technical College in Gloucestershire. 'Phoenix' measures 3 x 3 m. All the 'Vertex' sculptures were made by the professional steel fabricating firm of Horner and Wells in Chelmsford. Adams made hardboard patterns to scale for the firm to work from and these were preceded by bronze or stainless steel maquettes which were, in turn, preceded by drawings and cardboard maquettes (in Tate Archive). The basis shape of the 'Vertex' series resembles the bow of a ship, cut off so that its height equals twice its width. A sharp leading edge flares at its base and curves under in a concise, geometric quarter circle. The back is flat, the top edge is thin, and the broad flanks flow out towards the base which is about 90 cm deep. Though the proportions are simple, the change from thin top edge to broad base creates subtle changes of contour and reflection. At his 1974 exhibition at Gimpel Fils, Adam showed a series of small bronzes. These included maquettes for the 'Vertex' series discussed above and sculptures titled 'Chasm', 'Fissure', 'Cavetto No. 1' and 'Cavetto No. 2', which have an overall cylindrical shape with curved sections cut away. The two maquettes made from old lavatory rolls resemble these last sculptures.
TGA 8421/3