Robert Adam (1760-1795)

This style is named for architect Robert Adam, who studied ancient architecture in Italy. While in England, he designed furniture with classical details that would fit the character of his classically designed homes. The Adam style was limitedly reproduced by cabinetmakers in the United States. Adam interior millwork and woodwork was reproduced in South Carolina.



Graceful and Refined – Elegant appearance.(Federal style shown)

Chair Arms

Slight Curved – Arms are slightly curved.

Chair Back Material

Upholstered – Cushioned and fabric covered.
Wood – Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape

Oval – Oval-shaped back often with a central splat.
Shield – Shield-shaped chair back.

Chair Leg

Curule – X-shaped curved legs.
Reeded – Rounded decorative grooved or molding.
Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Simple turning – Turned leg with a few types of turnings.
Square – Flat surfaced leg on all sides.
Straight – Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.
Tapered – Straight leg gradually decreasing in width.
Tapered Turning – Turned leg with a slender, tapered appearance.

Chair Seat Material

Upholstered – Cushioned and covered with fabric.

Chair Seat Shape

Horseshoe – Horseshoe shaped seat with a rounded front.
Square – Square shaped seat.

Drawer Pull

Oval Stamped Brass Back Plate with Bail – Oval back plate of stamped brass with conforming handle. The size varies from 3 to 4 inches wide by 2 to 2.5 inches high.


Brocade – Rich, heavily woven fabric with a raised design, often with gold or silver thread.
Damask – Medium weight, glossy fabric with a reversible pattern and a figured intricate weave, often of linen, cotton, silk, or wool.
Satin – Light to medium weight fabric with a smooth glossy face and a dull back.


Gilding – Gold leaf.
Oil Varnish – Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.
Paint – Opaque, pigmented finish that obscures the grain of the wood.


Block – Flat-surfaced foot.
Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.
Spade – Flat or rounded foot, wider than leg and then tapering.

Hardware Material

Brass – Yellowish metal made from copper and zinc.
Iron – Grayish-brown metal with a dull finish.
Silver – Gray-white metal, which can be highly polished.


Dovetail – An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.


Straight – Straight lines.


Drapery Swag – Loosely folded cloth.
Honeysuckle – Plant with small colorful flowers.
Lyre – Small harp-like musical instrument.
Medallion – Oval or circular figure resembling a medal.
Ram Head – Profile of a ram’s head.
Urn – Vase-shaped figure.
Wheat Ear or Husk – Cereal grass.


Carving – Cutting or chipping the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Fluting – Carved or molded vertical channels.
Inlay – Contrasting material set into the surface of wood to create a shape or design.


Medium – Moderate dimensions.(Queen Anne style shown)


Limited Use – Limited use of stretchers.(Queen Anne style shown)


Amboyna Veneer – Golden-brown hardwood from the West Indies with a bird’s eye figure.
Goncalo Alves – Red-brown hardwood with dark brown streaks from Central and South American.
Mahogany – Red-brown South American and African hardwood.
Maple – Golden to red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Rosewood Veneer – Purple-brown South American hardwood with black streaks that can be highly polished.
Satinwood Veneer – Light yellow to golden brown Indian hardwood that is highly figured, has a close grain, and can be highly polished.
Sycamore – Creamy-white European hardwood, treated to turn a silvery-gray or pink-brown color.
Tulipwood – Pink-yellow South American hardwood with red striping used in inlays; also known as pinkwood.