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Sir William Chambers

(1723-1796), Architect

Sitter in 16 portraits
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden to Scottish parents, Chambers worked for the Swedish East India Company, travelling to China where he studied Chinese architecture and decoration and then studied architecture in Paris and Italy before moving to London in 1755. He quickly attracted royal commissions notably the Chinese Pagoda at Kew. Best remembered for designing and building Somerset House, a project he worked on from 1775 to 1795. This Neo-classical development housed many government offices and provided accommodation for various learned societies, including the Royal Academy, the Royal Society, and the Society of Antiquaries. A founding member of the Royal Academy, he was its first Professor of Architecture.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Sir William Chambers, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 27

Sir William Chambers

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, circa 1756
NPG 27

Sir William Chambers, by Jeremiah Meyer - NPG 4044

Sir William Chambers

by Jeremiah Meyer
watercolour and bodycolour on ivory, after 1770
On display in Room 14 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 4044

The Academicians of the Royal Academy, by John Sanders, after  Johan Joseph Zoffany - NPG 1437

The Academicians of the Royal Academy

by John Sanders, after Johan Joseph Zoffany
watercolour and ink, (1772)
NPG 1437

Key to 'The Academicians of the Royal Academy', by John Sanders, after  Johan Joseph Zoffany - NPG 1437a

Key to 'The Academicians of the Royal Academy'

by John Sanders, after Johan Joseph Zoffany
pencil, circa 1773
NPG 1437a

Sir William Chambers, after Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 3159

Sir William Chambers

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
ink and grey wash with touches of red crayon on paper, (1778-1780)
NPG 3159

Sir William Chambers; Joseph Wilton; Sir Joshua Reynolds, by John Francis Rigaud - NPG 987

Sir William Chambers; Joseph Wilton; Sir Joshua Reynolds

by John Francis Rigaud
oil on canvas, 1782
On display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 987

Sir William Chambers, by D.P. Pariset, after  Pierre-Étienne Falconet - NPG D2041

Sir William Chambers

by D.P. Pariset, after Pierre-Étienne Falconet
stipple engraving, (1769)
NPG D2041

Sir William Chambers, by Richard Houston, after  Francis Cotes - NPG D32832

Sir William Chambers

by Richard Houston, after Francis Cotes
mezzotint, published 1772
NPG D32832

Sir William Chambers, by Richard Houston, published by  Robert Sayer, after  Francis Cotes - NPG D19012

Sir William Chambers

by Richard Houston, published by Robert Sayer, after Francis Cotes
mezzotint, published 1 June 1772
NPG D19012

The Academicians of the Royal Academy, by Richard Earlom, after  Johan Joseph Zoffany - NPG D21304

The Academicians of the Royal Academy

by Richard Earlom, after Johan Joseph Zoffany
mezzotint, published 1773
NPG D21304

Sir William Chambers, by Valentine Green, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D32831

Sir William Chambers

by Valentine Green, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, 1780
NPG D32831

Royal Academicians, by Charles Bestland, after  Henry Singleton - NPG D10716

Royal Academicians

by Charles Bestland, after Henry Singleton
stipple engraving, published 1802 (1795)
NPG D10716

Key to Royal Academicians, by Charles Bestland, after  Henry Singleton - NPG D36021

Key to Royal Academicians

by Charles Bestland, after Henry Singleton
stipple engraving, published 1802 (1795)
NPG D36021

Sir William Chambers, by William Daniell, after  George Dance - NPG D12124

Sir William Chambers

by William Daniell, after George Dance
soft-ground etching, published 1 February 1809 (17 March 1793)
NPG D12124

Sir William Chambers, by Benjamin Wyon, after  Sir Richard Westmacott - NPG D2911

Sir William Chambers

by Benjamin Wyon, after Sir Richard Westmacott
bronze medal, 1857
NPG D2911

Web image not currently available

Sir William Chambers

by William Daniell, after George Dance
soft-ground etching, published 1 February 1809 (17 March 1793)
NPG D14750

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Media

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