Basic Biographical Details

Name: Sydney Smirke
Born: 20 December 1797
Died: 8 December 1877
Bio Notes: Sydney Smirke was born in London on 20 December 1797, the fifth and youngest son of Robert Smirke RA, painter and illustrator, and his wife Elizabeth. He was baptised on 14 Jan 1798. He was educated at Eywood, Herefordshire, studying under a private tutor with Lord Oxford's eldest son. At the age of about eighteen he entered the office of his eldest brother Sir Robert Smirke and studied at the Royal Academy Schools, winning the Gold Medal in 1819. This enabled him to visit Italy and Sicily. In 1827 he obtained a clerkship of the Kings' Works, engaged on St James's Palace, at which point his career temporarily diverged from that of his brother. The post was abolished in 1832, but in the following year he obtained his first major commission, the reconstruction of the Pantheon in London's Oxford Street, and gradually built up a large practice, partly from clients passed on to him by his elder brother, enabling him to marry Isabella Dobson, daughter of the architect John Dobson of Newcastle.

Sydney Smirke succeeded to his brother's practice in 1846, retaining the Surveyorship of the Inner Temple, the Duchy of Lancaster, the British Museum and the General Post Office. He was admitted FRIBA surprisingly late on 29 April 1844, his proposers being Sir William Tite, Thomas Henry Wyatt, Edward Buckton Lamb and the Catholic architect Joseph John Scoles. He received the Royal Gold Medal in 1860 and was Professor of Architecture 1861-65 at the Royal Academy where he reconstructed their buildings between 1867 and 1872, his last major work. He died at Tunbridge Wells on 8 December 1877, leaving estate of 80,000.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1London, EnglandBusiness   

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) Robert Smirkec. 1815(?)1819(?)Apprentice(?) 
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Robert Smirke1819(?)1827Assistant(?) 
Item 3 of 3H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)18271832Clerk 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Gilbert Robert Blount  Assistant 
Item 2 of 3James WylsonBefore 1843c. 1845Senior Clerk 
Item 3 of 3Sydney Smirke18551862Apprentice 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4Edward Buckton Lamb29 April 1844for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4Joseph John Scoles29 April 1844for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4(Sir) William Tite29 April 1844for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4Thomas Henry Wyatt29 April 1844for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2Francis Thomas Dollman4 January 1846for Associateship
Item 2 of 2George Fowler Jones17 February 1888for Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This 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 11843Luton Hoo  BedfordshireEnglandReconstruction after fire.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Crook, J Mordaunt Sydney Smirke: The Architecture of Compromise Fawcett, Jane (ed.): 'Seven Victorian Architects' 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder5 December 1877  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Courtesy of Dr Aileen ReidInformation per 'Contact Us' on website Sent June 2011