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Nicholas Hawksmoor Edit Profile

Architect

Nicholas Hawksmoor is one of the most important and original English architects of the Baroque period.

Background

Hawksmoor was born in Nottinghamshire in 1661, into a yeoman farming family.

Career

About 1679 he went to London as personal clerk to Sir Christopher Wren, under whom he subsequently worked officially, notably as draftsman at St. Paul's Cathedral and as clerk of works at Kensington Palace (probably designing the King's Gallery and Orangery) and at Greenwich Hospital, where he designed (c. 1699) most of the King William and Queen Anne Blocks. His first major independent work, Easton Neston in Northamptonshire, was begun about 1695 and roofed in 1702. It shows his mature style--romantic, eclectic, and highly personal; unconventional in planning, inventive but learned in the handling of Renaissance vocabulary.

Hawksmoor's long association with Wren made him the best-trained English architect of his time, and his experience was indispensable to Sir John Vanbrugh in creating the latter's first great houses, Castle Howard in Yorkshire (begun in 1699) and Blenheim (begun in 1705); Vanbrugh's later houses, however, owe little to Hawksmoor. Hawksmoor's grandest designs for public buildings and for Oxford and Cambridge universities were not executed, although in Oxford he built the north quadrangle of All Souls' College (picturesque Gothic exterior with classical interiors) and the Old Clarendon Building.

His variety and his ability to handle large masses sculpturally and emotively are best seen in the London churches which he produced as one of the surveyors to the "Queen Anne" churches commission of 1711--notably St. Anne's, Limehouse, Christ Church, Spitalfields, St. George's, Bloomsbury, and St. Mary Woolnoth--and in the "Gothic" towers of Westminster Abbey.

Works

  • building

    • Easton Neston House (c.1695–1710)

    • King William Block (1699–1702)

  • Other Work

    • King William Block (1699–1702)

    • Kensington Palace Orangery (1704–05)

    • Kensington Palace Orangery (1704–05)

    • Clarendon Building (1712–13), Oxford

    • Clarendon Building (1712–13), Oxford

    • All Souls College (1716–34), Oxford

    • All Souls College (1716–34), Oxford

    • Tower (1718–24), St. Michael, Cornhill, London

    • The Long Library (1722–25), Blenheim Palace

    • The Mausoleum (1729–42), Castle Howard

    • The Carrmire gate (c.1730), Castle Howard

    • Queen's College Oxford (1733–36)