Sir William Chambers (1723-1796)
Sir William Chambers was born in Sweden, and educated in England.
During his time in the service of the Swedish East India Company
he visited Bengal, 1740-2, and Canton, 1743-5, 1748-9, where he
studied and sketched Chinese architecture.
Chambers studied architecture in Paris and in Italy, 1750-55. In
1757 he became architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales (the future
George III) and was engaged as architect at Kew by Princess Augusta.
He designed more than 25 buildings for Kew, including a mosque,
a Palladian bridge, a menagerie and the Great Stove, all of which
have long since disappeared. Still standing are the Orangery, the
Ruined Arch , the Temple of Bellona and the Temple of Aeolus.
Possibly the most famous of his buildings remaining at Kew today,
is the ten-storeyed pagoda (1761), which was influenced by his travels
in China. He published a book of drawings in 1763 entitled “Plans,
elevations, sections and perspective views of the gardens and buildings
at Kew in Surrey.”
There are several portraits of Sir William Chambers in the collections
of the National Portrait Gallery.
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