Drawing Out Meaning

The long 18th century: William Chambers

Design for York House, Pall Mall, London, showing the proposed interior decoration

Section of a design for York House, Pall Mall, London, 1759
Designer: Sir William Chambers
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

In an unusual approach for a mid-18th century drawing, William Chambers incorporates colour within his carefully considered interiors for York House. Fireplaces, wallpapers and ceiling mouldings are delicately rendered with close attention to light and shade. Equally precise are the detailed 'ruinous' features of the home's exterior and upper walls, drawn as if the building already existed. Chambers's unique approach made him the leading Neoclassical architect of his generation.


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