Henry Holland, Furniture Designer
Henry Holland (1745-1806) was one of the leading English Georgian architects of the period who designed interiors and furniture in both the French and the Greco-Roman styles and therefore a key figure in the introduction of late 18th century French Neo-classicism into English furniture design. After studying architecture he became the partner of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in 1771 whose daughter he married and with whom he built Claremont House in Esher, Surrey (1771-4). He was later employed by the Prince of Wales, the future Prince Regent. The Prince took an avid interest in new architectural trends and in 1787 commissioned Holland to build the Marine Pavilion in Brighton. He was therefore in a position to commission furniture from the leading English and French cabinet-makers to fill his grand buildings. In a book of ‘office drawings’ in the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects there are sketches for furniture, mirrors and pier tables.
Holland evolved an elegant Neo-classical style to rival that of Robert Adam, as can be seen at Brooks's Club, 60 St James’ Street, London (1776-8). The success of this building made his name known in aristocratic circles and he designed a number of pleasing country houses, including Berrington Hall, near Leominster, Herefordshire (1778-81). He was also responsible for the remodelling of Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire (1787-1802) for the 5th Duke of Bedford, including the entrance portico (demolished), the conservatory (later the sculpture gallery) and Chinese dairy along with the remodelling of Althorp, Northamptonshire(1787-9), for the 2nd Earl Spencer (including cladding the building with mathematical tiles) and alterations at Broadlands, Hampshire (1788-92) and Southill, Bedfordshire (1796-1800).