Sir William Chambers

Sir William Chambers

Infobox Architect

caption=William Chambers, painted in 1764 by Frances Cotes
name=William Chambers
birth_place=Gothenburg, Sweden
birth_date=27 October 1723
significant_buildings=Somerset House
Casino at Marino
Dunmore Pineapple
__NOTOC__Sir William Chambers (27 October 1723 – 17 February 1796) was a Scottish architect, born in Gothenburg, Sweden, where his father was a merchant. Between 1740 and 1749 he was employed by the Swedish East India Company making several voyages to China where he studied Chinese architecture and decoration.

Returning to Europe, he studied architecture in Paris (with J. F. Blondel) and spent five years in Italy. Then, in 1755, he travelled to England and established an architectural practice in London. Through a recommendation of the 4th Earl of Bute he was appointed architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales, later George III, and also, with Robert Adam, Architect of the King's Works. He worked for Augusta, Dowager Princess of Wales making fanciful garden buildings at Kew, and in 1757 he published a book of Chinese designs which had a significant influence on contemporary taste. He developed his Chinese interests further with his 'Dissertation on Oriental Gardening' (1772), a fanciful elaboration of contemporary English ideas about the naturalistic style of gardening in China.

In 1759 his more serious and academic "Treatise on Civil Architecture" had an influence on builders; it went into several editions and was still being republished in 1826. His influence was transmitted also through a host of younger architects trained as pupils in his office, including Thomas Hardwick Junior (1752-1825) who helped build Somerset House with him and who wrote a biography of Chambers's life.

He was the major rival of Adam in British Neoclassicism. Chambers was more international in outlook (his knighthood being originally a Swedish honour) and was influenced by continental neoclassicism (which he in turn influenced) when designing for British clients. A second visit to Paris in 1774 confirmed the French cast to his sober and conservative refined blend of Neoclassicism and Palladian conventions.

Chambers died in London in 1796. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.


* "Designs of Chinese buildings, furniture, dresses, machines, and utensils : to which is annexed a description of their temples, houses, gardens, &c" (London) 1757
* "Desseins des edifices, meubles, habits, machines, et ustenciles des Chinois ; Auxquels est ajoutée une descr. de leurs temples, de leurs maisons, de leurs jardins, etc." (London) 1757
* "A treatise on civil architecture in which the principles of that art are laid down and illustrated by a great number of plates accurately designed and elegantly engraved by the best hands" (London) 1759
* "Plans, Elevations, Sections and Perspective Views of the Gardens and Buildings at Kew in Surry" (London) 1763
* "A dissertation on oriental gardening." (London) 1772

Main works

* Roehampton Villa (largely extant including interior ceilings), now called Parkstead House, for William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough. Also designed two garden temples (one to be re-erected by 2008), similar to those at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [ [ Parkstead House ] ]

*The Pagoda, in Pagoda Gardens, Blackheath, London is attributed to Chambers. A three-storey house built as a pavilion (c. 1775) for the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, it features a gabled Chinese-style roof with dramatic upturned corners. Caroline of Brunswick lived here after her separation from her husband, the Prince Regent, in 1799.

*Somerset House in London, his most famous building, which absorbed most of his energies over a period of two decades (1776–1796)

*The gilded state coach that is still used at coronations.

*The Dunmore Pineapple, a folly in Dunmore Park near Falkirk, is often attributed to Chambers.

*For James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont, he designed Charlemont House and the Casino at Marino, as well as the Chapel and Theatre in Trinity College, Dublin.

*He is also associated with Gothic additions to Milton Abbey in Dorset and the planning of the nearby rural village of Milton Abbas, sometimes considered the first planned settlement in England. This work was carried out in collaboration with landscape gardener Capability Brown in 1780 for Joseph Damer, the Earl of Dorchester, who wanted to relocate the existing village further away from his home at the Abbey.

External links

* William Chambers, [ A Dissertation on Oriental Gardening] (London, 1772)


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sir William Chambers — noun English architect (1723 1796) • Syn: ↑Chambers, ↑William Chambers • Instance Hypernyms: ↑architect, ↑designer …   Useful english dictionary

  • William Chambers (Architekt) — Sir William Chambers (* um 1728 in Göteborg, damals Gotenburg; † 8. März 1796 in London) war ein schottischer Architekt. William Chambers, Gemälde aus dem Jahr 1764 von Francis Cotes …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William chambers (architecte) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir William Chambers et Chambers. Somerset House à Londres. Sir Wil …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Chambers (arquitecto) — Retrato de Sir William Chambers por Francis Cotes. Somerset House …   Wikipedia Español

  • Chambers, Sir William — ▪ British architect born Feb. 23, 1723, Göteborg, Swed. died March 8, 1796, London, Eng.  British eclectic architect of the Georgian period who was one of the leading Palladian style (Palladianism) architects of his day.       He was the son of a …   Universalium

  • William Chambers (architecte) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir William Chambers et Chambers. Somerset House à Londres. Sir William Chambers est un architecte éco …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Chambers — noun English architect (1723 1796) • Syn: ↑Chambers, ↑Sir William Chambers • Instance Hypernyms: ↑architect, ↑designer …   Useful english dictionary

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  • CHAMBERS, SIR WILLIAM —    1) born at Peebles; apprenticed to a bookseller in Edinburgh, and commenced business on his own account in a small way; edited with his brother the Gazetteer of Scotland ; started, in 1832, Chambers s Edinburgh Journal to meet a demand of the… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • CHAMBERS (W.) — CHAMBERS sir WILLIAM (1723 1796) Théoricien, dessinateur de jardins, intime du roi George III, le fondateur de l’Académie, l’architecte anglais sir William Chambers fut investi des plus hautes charges. De longues études dans les grands centres… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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