William Wilkins (architect)


William Wilkins (architect)

William Wilkins RA (31 August 1778 – 31 August 1839) was an English architect, classical scholar and archaeologist.

Wilkins was born in Norwich, the son of a successful builder who also managed a chain of theatres. His brother George Wilkins was Archdeacon of Nottingham.

He studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and after touring Greece, Asia Minor, and Magna Græcia in Italy between 1801 and 1804, published researches into both Classical and Gothic architecture, becoming one of the leading figures in the English Greek Revival of the early 1800s. On his tour of the classical antiquities around the Mediterranean he was accompanied by the Italian landscape painter Agostino Aglio, who had been commissioned by Wilkins as draughtsman on the expedition. Aglio supplied the drawings for the aquatint plates of monument illustrations in Wilkins' volumes from the expedition, such as "The Antiquities of Magna Graecia" (1807).

Among his works in the Classical neo-Grecian style were Downing College, Cambridge (designed 1805, built 1807–1820 but not completed owing to lack of funds), the East India Company College, Haileybury (1809), Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds 1819, University College, London (1825–1832) and the Yorkshire Museum (1830).

He also produced buildings in the Gothic style, which he preferred, including work done in the 1820s at King's, Trinity and Corpus Christi Colleges in Cambridge, and country houses including Tregothnan and Dalmeny House.

In 1822-26, he collaborated with John Peter Gandy on the Clubhouse for the new United University Club, in Pall Mall.

His most famous work, the National Gallery, was completed in 1838; it has been less admired by critics than some of his other buildings. He is buried in the chapel of Corpus Christi College, his own favourite among his works.

Publications

*"Antiquities of Magna Graecia" (1807)
*"Atheniensia" (1816)
*"Civil Architecture of Vitruvius" (1812 and 1817)
*"Prolusiones Architectonicae" (1837)

References

* R. Windsor Liscombe, "Wilkins, William (1778-1839)", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004: [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29422 article available online (subscription required)] , last accessed 4 October 2004

External links

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