The fireplace, burning wood or coal, was the focal point of the Period room and the only source of heat. Elegance and refinement are evident in the designs of many late Georgian mantelpieces in the Hamilton Square properties, their size and enrichment varying with the importance and function of the room.
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Robert Adam designs were specially desired by wealthy house owners, and Adam designed over five hundred fireplaces, each with standard components of side style, frieze and central tablet, decorated with his characteristically spidery, low-relief trails or festoons, using classical motifs such as paterae, scrolls, foliage, rams’ heads, sphinx, urns, vases, candelabra and mythological figures. His influence can be clearly seen in Edinburgh.