Jump to navigation

V&A logo


Town Houses & Public Commissions

Town Houses

In the 18th century, rich families increasingly spent part of the year in London. The houses that they built were not merely spaces for living, but also an opportunity for entertaining and display. Their lavish interiors were an expression of taste and education as well as wealth.

Stuart's reputation as a man of learning and an authority on classical art and design enabled him to exploit the opportunities that arose in this flourishing market. He provided interior designs and built town town houses, using Greek architectural elements that had never been seen before by the London public. Some examples of his work, including the exterior of 15 St Jame's Square and the interior of Lichfield house, can be seen below.

(Please click on an image below to see a larger version)


Public Commissions

Stuart undertook several commissions that could be described as public works: for the Crown, the Admiralty and at the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, where he held the post of Surveyor from 1758.

Much of the ornament and decorative detail for these public buildings came from Greek public architecture such as temples, amphitheatres and monuments. Stuart had already successfully incorporated these classical elements into his domestic interiors, but they were at their most spectacular when used on a large scale, as in the chapel at Greenwich. Public buildings like the chapel, by their very nature, helped spread the Neo-classical style to a larger audience.

(Please click on an image below to see a larger version)