Basic Biographical Details

Name: Henry Holland
Designation: Architect
Born: 20 July 1745
Died: 17 June 1806
Bio Notes: Henry Holland was born on 20 July 1745, the eldest son of Henry Holland, a successful master builder. The older Holland was Master of the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Company in 1772-3. The younger Holland seems to have trained with his father in his yard in Fulham as there is no evidence that he was a pupil of an architect. In 1771 he formed a partnership with the landscape designer Lancelot Brown, although it was more an association than a full partnership. Brown was then living quite close at Hampton Court; he seems to have known the older Holland. Both partners were not involved in all the jobs and Holland took over the architectural side of Brown’s practice and was introduced to Brown’s large range of clients. Holland married Brown’s daughter Bridget and the couple moved to 17 Hertford Street, a London house which had been built by Holland and his father.

Although he had not been trained in the office of an architect or travelled overseas, Holland became one of England’s leading architects. His first major commission, Brooks’ Club in St James’s Street put him in contact with a range of upper class Whigs and ultimately to the Prince of Wales. Whig taste veered to the French and Holland was able to supply this need through study of the publications of French architects and by employing a French assistant. He developed a style of his own parallel to that of the Adam brothers which, according to Colvin ‘elegant and original’. Holland was also adept at planning – in, for example, the sequence of rooms at Carlton House, designed within an existing shell and for his handling of the forecourt. Holland in some senses continued what Chambers had begun in his low-key exteriors, fine staircases and in the French character of his designs. But unlike Chambers, he also espoused the Greek Revival style with reasonable archaeological accuracy.

Like many of his contemporaries Holland ventured in speculative building. In 1771 with capital from his father he leased an area of land in Chelsea and erected the estate known as Hans Town. This comprised Sloane Street, Cadogan Place and Hans Place. He built a large villa for himself at one end of Hans Place, called Sloane Place.

Holland was a shy man and did not seek the limelight. He never exhibited at the Royal Academy. He did become a JP for Middlesex in 1778 and held two public offices, a District Surveyorship in 1774 and the other a Clerkship of the Works at the Royal Mews at Charing Cross. This was an Office of Works appointment which he obtained in 1775 but lost in 1782 as a result of reforms of that year. In 1799 he succeeded Richard Jupp as Surveyor to the East India Company. From 1782 to 1793 he was a surveyor to the Bridewell and Bethlehem Hospitals. He was a member do the Stationers’ Company.

Holland was very concerned with fire prevention and spent much time on this. He used David Hartley’s ‘fire-plate’ and published on the subject. He also contributed two papers to the Communications of the Board of Agriculture in 1797. One was a practical essay on the construction of cottages, the other on the use of ‘pisé’ which he introduced to England, according to Papworth in his ‘Rural Residences’ of 1818.

Holland died in Sloane Place on 17 June 1806 aged 60 and was buried in the family tomb at Fulham Churchyard. He was survived by his two sons and five daughters. He had a number of pupils including Soane and C H Tatham.

Various portraits and busts of Holland survive notably ones at Woburn and at Southill Park. His drawings and papers were largely destroyed after his death by his nephew and executor but two sketch books and a volume of drawings are in the RIBA.

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Sir John Soane17721778Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 51783Layout of townGrangemouth StirlingshireScotland 
Item 2 of 51791Drury Lane Theatre  LondonEnglandRebuilding
Item 3 of 51795Theatre, Marischal Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 4 of 51798Dunira  PerthshireScotlandScheme for enlargement.
Item 5 of 51807The Assembly Rooms  GlasgowScotlandTerminal pavilions added


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 6Colvin, Howard2008A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 London: YUP. 4th edition 
Item 3 of 6DNB Dictionary of National Biography  Article by David Watkin
Item 4 of 6McKenzie, D F (ed)1978Stationers' Company Apprentices Oxford Bibliographical Societyp176
Item 5 of 6Stroud, Dorothy1950Henry Holland   
Item 6 of 6Stroud, Dorothy1966Henry Holland: His Life and Architecture   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder1855xiii p427. H B Hodson: 'Holland The Architect'

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Berkshire Record OfficeArchives David Hartley's papers