Musée No:737.018Regular price $32.27
Cobham Hall Kent
Artist: James Wyatt
This Royal Academician was an English architect and rival of the Robert Adam. He designed in neoclassical and neo-gothic styles. He lived in Italy for six years where he studied architecture – he even made measured drawings of the dome of St Peter’s Basilica lying on his back on a ladder strung up “without cradle or side-rail, over a frightful void of 300 feet”. Back in England his design for the Pantheon on Oxford St brought him almost instant success. When it was rumoured that he was about to leave the country to become architect to Catherine II of Russia, a group of English noblemen is said to have offered him a retaining fee of £1,200 to remain in their service – equivalent of roughly £220,000 in today’s money. By the 1790s Wyatt was the principal architect of the day, and had more commissions than he could fulfil. He is chiefly remembered for his Romantic country houses. His church and historical building restorations earned him the nickname “the Destroyer” from later medieval revivalists with a more accurate approach. James died in a carriage accident in 1813 leaving a wife and 4 sons. He was buried in Westminster Abbey where he had worked as Surveyor at the Abbey.