Robert Taylor (architect)


Robert Taylor (architect)

Sir Robert Taylor (1714 – 1788) was a notable English architect of the mid-late 18th century.

Born at Woodford, Essex, Taylor followed in his father's footsteps and started working as a stone-mason and sculptor, spending time as a pupil of Sir Henry Cheere. [http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/spanish/100years/Sir_Robert_Taylors.html Sir_Robert_Taylor's_Foundation ] ] Despite some important commissions (including a bust of London merchant Christopher Emmott (d. 1745) today held in the church of St Bartholomew, Colne, Lancashire [ [http://www.lancashirechurches.co.uk/colne.htm Lancashire Churches - Colne ] ] ), he enjoyed little success and turned instead to architecture, where, through talent and hard work, he became a leading architect of the time.

Among his earliest projects was Asgill House (known then as Richmond Place), built for a wealthy banker, Sir Charles Asgill, 1st Baronet, in Richmond upon Thames (circa 1760), and nearby Oak House. Through such connections, he came to be appointed as architect to the Bank of England until his death (caused by catching a chill at his friend Asgill's funeral in September 1788) when he was succeeded by Sir John Soane. In 1769 he succeeded Sir William Chambers as Architect of the King's Works.

Other projects include:

*Harleyford House, near Marlow, Buckinghamshire (1755)
*Barlaston Hall, Staffordshire (1756–1758)
*Trewithan House, Cornwall (1763–1764)
*Danson House, Bexley, Kent (1760–1768)
*alterations to Bayley Park, Heathfield, Sussex (1766)
*Chute Lodge, near Devizes, Wiltshire (1768)
*Kevington Hall, near Orpington, Kent (1767–1769)
*Swinford Bridge, over the River Thames at Eynsham (1769), plus Maidenhead Bridge (1777)
*Beckenham Place, Kent (1773)
*Clermont Lodge, Norfolk (1769–1775)
*Ely House, Dover Street, Mayfair, London (1773–1776)
*14 houses in Grafton Street, London
*Spire of St Peter's Church, Wallingford (1777)
*Gorhambury Manor, St Albans (1777)
*Heveningham Hall (1778)
*alterations to 10 Downing Street, London SW1 (c. 1780)
*The Oaks, Carshalton, Surrey (c.1782)
*alterations at The Grove, Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire
*Belfast Assembly Rooms, Belfast, Northern Ireland
*Northmet House in Cannon Hill (today: Southgate House), near Arnos Grove, north London
*Purbrook Park in Hampshire was the first recreation of a Roman atrium in England.

His pupils included John Nash, George Byfield and William Pilkington.

He had a son, Michael Angelo Taylor (1757–1834), who, as MP for Poole, became a Whig politician during the 1830s. Father and son were both buried in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London.

From 1789 until his death, Sir Robert served as a vice president on the board of the Foundling Hospital, a prominent charity dedicated to the welfare of London's abandoned children. The Taylor Institution, Oxford University's centre for the study of medieval and modern European languages and literatures, takes its name from a bequest from Sir Robert for the purpose of "establishing a foundation for the teaching and improving the European languages". The money was initially invested and interest left to accrue to cover building costs.

References


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