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William Chambers

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Works Somerset House, at London, England, 1776 to 1786.
York House, at London, England, 1759.

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Biography William Chambers

(b. Gothenburg, Sweden, 1723; d. London, 1796)

Born the son of a Scottish merchant in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1723, William Chambers studied in England. He returned to Sweden at the age of sixteen to join the Swedish East India Company. His subsequent travels through Bengal and China gave him an Oriental perspective on art and design. By 1749 he had saved enough money from his travels to make architecture his only profession.

Chambers studied in Paris and Italy, absorbing ideas current at the French Academy in Rome. Upon his return to England, Chambers became the architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales. This led to a long and fruitful patronage by the royal family. In 1761 Chambers was appointed as one of the Joint Architects of the King's Work and by 1769 he was so indispensable that he was appointed Comptroller of the King's Works. When the office was reorganized in 1782 he became the Surveyor General and the Comptroller.

William Chambers was a confidant of George III and the first Treasurer of the Royal Academy of the Arts, which became public in 1768. He wrote a Treatise on Civil Architecture, and was a patron of John Soane while Soane was a student at the Academy.

Chamber's architecture blended the symmetrical, well-ordered facades of Palladianism with early forms of Neoclassicism. He died in London in 1796.

References
Pierre de la Ruffiniere du Prey. John Soane-the making of an architect. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982. NA997.S7D85. 720'.92'4 B. ISBN 0-226-17298-8. (1) p56. (2) p61. (3) p85.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA 40 I45. p36.

Resources Sources on William Chambers

Pierre de la Ruffiniere du Prey. John Soane: The making of an architect. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982. NA997.S7D85. 720'.92'4 B. ISBN 0-226-17298-8. — One of the classics in historical architect biographies.

  

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