Sir William Chambers(1723-1796), Architect
Sitter in 16 portraits
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Chambers worked initially for the Swedish East India Company, travelling to China where he studied Chinese architecture and decoration. Returning to Europe, he studied architecture in Paris and Italy before moving to London in 1755. Chambers is 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. He was a founder member of the Royal Academy and was its first Professor of Architecture.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
by John Francis Rigaud
oil on canvas, 1782
On display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery