John Thorpe

John Thorpe

John Thorpe or Thorp (c.1565-1655?; fl.1570-1618) was an English architect. Little is known of his life, and his work is dubiously inferred, rather than accurately known, from a folio of drawings in the Soane Museum, to which Horace Walpole called attention, in 1780, in his "Anecdotes of Painting"; but how far these were his own is uncertain.

He was engaged on a number of important English houses of his time, and several, such as Somerhill, Longleat, have been attributed to him on grounds which cannot be sustained. He was probably the designer of Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire; Charlton House, in Charlton, London; the original Longford Castle, Wiltshire; and the original Holland House, Kensington; and he is said to have been engaged on Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, and Audley End, Essex (with Bernard Janssens).

Thorpe joined the Office of Works as a clerk, then practised independently as a land surveyor. From 1611 he was assistant to Robert Tresswell, Surveyor-General of Woods South of the Trent. He retired in the 1630s but seems to have lived to an advanced age, dying around 1655.


* H.M. Colvin, "A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840" (1997) ISBN 0-300-07207-4

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