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Sii William Ci I Am I3ers

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CI I AM I3ERS, SII: WILLIAM, a distinguished architect, is said to have derived his descent from the ancient tinnily of Chalmers, in Scotland, barons of Tartas, in France. Ile was born, however, at Stockholm, in Sweden, \\ here his father had resided for many years, in order to prosecute certain claims he had on the government of that country. When a very young man, he made a voyage to China, as supercargo in the service of the Swedish East India Company. and pro. hahly thus acquired his taste for the Asiatic style of ornament. At the very early age of eighteen, we find him established in London as an architect and draughtsman, in which capacities Ire soon acquired considerable reputation ; and obtaining an introduction to Lord Bute, shortly afterwards was appointed through that nobleman's influence drawing-master to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George III.

lie was employed, soon after the accession of George M., to lay out the gardens at Kew, and there displayed, without restraint, his predilection for the Chinese style, both of architecture and gardening, decorating the royal gardens with numerous temples, pagodas, and other Asiatic buildings. Being patronized by the King and Prinecss-dowager, he was employ ed as architect to the most considerable buildings of the clay ; and was also appointed Surveyor-General to the Board of Works in Somerset house, a situation worth at least two thousand pounds a year. Sir William died in 1796. leaving a large fortune. As an architect, although his taste was fantastic, he frequently displayed a certain gran deur in his designs, and in the disposition of interior arrange ments particularly, showed considerable ingenuity and prac tical ability. Ills chel-d'ffuvres are his staircases, particularly that in the Italian villa he erected for the Earl of Besborough, at Roehampton ; and also those at Lord Gower's and the Royal Antiquarian Society's.

In the time of Sir \V. Chambers. pure Greek architecture was only beginning to be known in England ; and at first its introduction was not much favoured. The indiscriminate adoption of Greek models for public buildings in London has filled the metropolis with structures quite unsuited in external tbrm to improve the appearance of a large city, and often ill adapted in their internal arrangements to the purposes for which they are designed. Instead of large masses and lofty buildings, the streets of London are crowded with mean porticos and pigmy pillars, attached to edifices of so little elevation, and so much cut up into small parts, as to suffer by comparison even with many of the adjoining houses.

The street-front of Somerset Ilouse, Chambers's best work, is, in all respects, better adapted to a great city, than the Greek models which are now too generally adopted ; and the river-front forms one of the boldest architectural objects in the metropolis, particularly when beheld from the water. Its extent and elevation, and the majestic breadth and range of its terrace, give it an air of grandeur exceedingly striking and imposing.

The works published by Sir William Chambers were— A Treatise on Civil Architecture, of which a new edition. by Joseph Gwilt, Esq., F. S. A.. appeared in 1S!21. Plans, Elevations, Sections and Perspective Views of the Gardens of Kew; Chinese Designs ; and Chinese Gardening. His Treatise on Civil Architecture, though prejudiced against Grecian architecture in favour of the Boman, is an excellent work.