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Sir William Chambers


1723 - 1796

Architect. Born in Gothenburg (Sweden), the son of a Scottish merchant. Having been educated in Edinburgh and Ripon (Yorkshire), he joined the Swedish East India company and travelled the world. Having developed an interest in architecture, he studied the subject in France and Italy before settling in London in 1755. Chambers became the leading architect of his time, having published tutored the Prince of Wales on the subject. He was appointed Architect of the King's Works along with Robert Adam (1728-92), although the latter is better known today. Chambers merged the architectural styles of Palladianism with Neo-Classicism, while Adam was the master of the latter.

Many of Chambers' buildings were not in Scotland, for example, Charlemont House (Dublin; 1763), Somerset House (London; 1776) and Trinity Chapel (Dublin; 1798), although he was responsible for Duddingston House (1762) and Dundas House (1771) in Edinburgh. His pagoda in Kew Gardens (1757) reflects the styles of the east which he had observed during the travels of his youth. He was a founder of the Royal Academy.

He died in London and lies buried in Westminster Abbey.


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