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 James Gibbs

James Gibbs

Birth
Aberdeen, Aberdeen City, Scotland
Death 5 Aug 1754 (aged 71)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial East Finchley, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 12475 · View Source
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Architect. Born in Scotland, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England. His most important works are St Martin-in-the-Fields, in London, and the cylindrical, domed Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University. Through the influence of Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford, James was made one of the surveyors to the commissioners for building 50 new churches in London in 1713, and in this capacity he designed St. Mary-le-Strand (1714-1717), his first public building. Here he expressed not only influences of Sir Christopher Wren but also ideas absorbed from Italian baroque and mannerist architecture. James was employed by Lord Burlington in rebuilding the east block of Burlington House, Piccadilly, before that patron embraced Palladianism, but was superseded by the earl's protegé, Colen Campbell. When the Whigs, who supported the Palladians, came to power, James as a Tory of baroque tendencies lost his official post in 1715, but his private practice among Tory patrons continued to be exclusive and remunerative. He built Cannons House, Middlesex (1716-1719; demolished 1747) for the Duke of Chandos; added a chapel and library at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire (ca. 1720), for Lord Harley; built the exquisite Octagon Room at Twickenham, Middlesex (1720), with beautiful plasterwork by Italian stuccoworkers; and erected Ditchley House, Oxfordshire (1720-1725), probably his most splendid house, for the Earl of Lichfield, again with remarkable plasterwork by Italian craftsmen. In 1720 James designed St. Martins-in-the-Fields (built 1722-1726), one of his most beautiful works. Like St. Mary-le-Strand and many of his houses, the interior was decorated with plasterwork by the fashionable Italian stuccoworkers, who probably came to England through his encouragement. St. Martins was followed by another building of extreme elegance and dignity, the Senate House at Cambridge (1722-1730), as well as the new buildings of King's College. Many of the ornamental buildings in the park at Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, are his work, including the Temple of Diana (1726), the Temple of Friendship (1739), the Gothic Temple (1740), and the Column with a statue of Lord Cobham. later works the circular Radcliffe Library at Oxford (1737-1749) is his most ambitious and monumental achievement; it shows much influence of Nicholas Hawksmoor. James published the designs in the large folio volume Bibliotheca Radcliviana in 1747, and he received from the university the honorary degree of master of arts. He designed the new decorations of Ragley Hall, Warwickshire (ca. 1750-1755), in the rococo taste then becoming fashionable. A distinguished late work is the church of St. Nicholas at Aberdeen (1751-1755). In his last years James held the sinecure post of architect to the Office of Ordnance. In June 1749 James set out for the spa town of Aix-la-Chapelle for treatment: he long suffered from kidney stones and had lost weight and was in pain, he remained until September when he returned to London. James never married. He died in his London house.

Bio by: Shock


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 13 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12475
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Gibbs (23 Dec 1682–5 Aug 1754), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12475, citing East Finchley Cemetery and Crematorium, East Finchley, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .