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James Wyatt, RA (3 August 1746 – 4 September 1813): James Wyatt was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in both the Neoclassical and Neo-Gothic/Gothic Revival styles. He was the most significant member of the large Wyatt family architectural dynasty. Between 1762 and 1768 he travelled in Italy, before returning to London and to establish himself as an architect-builder. Despite being young and unknown, he was selected as the architect to design the Pantheon in Oxford Street, London. Built by James’ brother, Samuel II (1737–1807), to his design, the opening of the Pantheon in 1772 established him as a fashionable architect. Whilst being unremarkable externally, the Pantheon’s classicising domed hall, surrounded by galleried aisles and apsidal ends, was something new in assembly rooms, and brought its architect immediate celebrity. The design was exhibited at the Royal Academy, and, due to the private commissions which followed, Wyatt quickly became a fashionable domestic architect and was made an Associate of the Royal Academy on the 27th August 1770.
Wyatt soon developed a large practice, with commissions in many country houses and public buildings. These include: Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire for William Beckford (1796-1807); Heaton Hall in Lancashire (1772); Ashridge in Hertfordshire (1808–18), which was completed by Wyatt’s nephew, Sir Jeffry Wyatville, on his death; Dodington Park in Gloucestershire for the Codrington family (1789); and Killerton Park, Devon (1775).
In 1776, Wyatt became Surveyor of Westminster Abbey. In addition, in circa 1782, he was made Architect to the Ordnance and, in 1796, Surveyor General and Comptroller of the Works. He was elected an Academician of the Royal Academy on 15th February 1785 and was made President in 1805–1806. He died on 4th September 1813.
We are grateful to John Martin Robinson, author of ‘James Wyatt, Architect to George III’, Yale University Press, 2012, for confirming the authorship of this drawing.
Possibly part of the celebrated ‘Noailles Album’ of Wyatt sketches, formerly the property of the Comte de Noailles.
|Height||28.50 cm||(11.22 inches)|
|Width||12.50 cm||(4.92 inches)|
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