Sir William Chambers (1722–1796)

Image credit: RIBA Collections

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William Chambers (1722–1796) was one of the most important architects of the second half of the eighteenth century, his principal work being Somerset House, London (1776–1796). He was born to Scottish parents in Stockholm, and was brought to Britain aged two, spending much of his youth in Yorkshire. Uniquely amongst eighteenth-century architects, he visited India and China before studying architecture in Italy and France. He returned to England in 1755 and soon achieved royal favour as the drawing teacher of the Prince of Wales (later George III), whom he later persuaded to found and initially fund the Royal Academy. Chambers’s style was a sophisticated combination of French neo-classicism and English Palladianism but he is also remembered for his contributions at Kew Gardens to the mid-eighteenth century taste for exotic styles such as Chinoiserie.

The Royal Institute of British Architects



Sir William Chambers (1722–1796)




oil on canvas


H 75 x W 60 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

believed to have been presented to the RIBA in the 1950s

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Royal Institute of British Architects

66 Portland Place, London, Greater London W1B 1AD England

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