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Basil Champneys (17 September 1842 – 5 April 1935) was an English architect and author whose most notable buildings include
Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguis ...

Manchester
's
John Rylands Library The John Rylands Research Institute and Library is a late-Victorian neo-Gothic Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic, neo-Gothic, or Gothick) is an architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England. The moveme ...
,
Somerville College Library Somerville College Library is the college library of Somerville College Somerville College is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall, one ...

Somerville College Library
(Oxford),
Newnham College, Cambridge Newnham College is a women's constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) edu ...

Newnham College, Cambridge
,
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) is one of the Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located on the banks of the River Cherwell at Norham Gardens in north Oxford and adjacent to the Universi ...
,
Mansfield College, Oxford Mansfield College, Oxford is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096 ...
and
Oriel College, Oxford Oriel College () is a constituent college of the University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldes ...
's Rhodes Building.


Life

Champneys was born in
Whitechapel Whitechapel is a district in East London East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Ki ...
, London, on 17 September 1842 into a family with a modest income, his father, William Weldon Champneys, was an Evangelical Vicar of St Mary's Church,
Whitechapel Whitechapel is a district in East London East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Ki ...
(later
Dean of Lichfield The Dean of Lichfield is the head (''primus inter pares'' – first among equals) and chair of the chapter of canons, the ruling body of Lichfield Cathedral Lichfield Cathedral in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, is the only medieval Three-spire ...
). His mother, Mary Anne, was fourth daughter of the
goldsmith A goldsmith is a Metalworking, metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Nowadays they mainly specialize in jewelry-making but historically, goldsmiths have also made cutlery, silverware, platter (dishware), pl ...

goldsmith
and
silversmith A silversmith is a metalworker Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metals to create useful objects, parts, assemblies, and large scale structures. As a term it covers a wide and diverse range of processes, skills, and tools f ...

silversmith
Paul Storr Paul Storr (baptised 28 October 1770 in London – 18 March 1844 in London) was an English goldsmith and silversmith working in the Neoclassical style, Neoclassical and other styles during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His ...
(his cousins thus including Rev.
Vernon Storr Vernon Faithfull Storr (4 December 1869 – 25 October 1940) was an Anglican priest, most notably Archdeacon of Westminster from 1931 to 1936. Early life and education The son of Edward Storr (1840–1878), Indian Civil Service (a descendant of th ...
,
Archdeacon of Westminster The Archdeacon of Westminster is a senior ecclesiastical officer within the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, Chapter of the Royal Peculiar of Westminster Abbey in London. The holder of the post oversees relationships with the twenty-four parishes o ...
from 1931 to 1936, Rev.
Frank Utterton Rev Canon Frank Ernest Utterton (baptised 4 October 1844 – 19 April 1908) was Archdeacon of Surrey from 1906 until 1908, then the second most senior post in the Diocese of Winchester. The son of Bishop John Sutton Utterton and Eleanor, daughte ...
,
Archdeacon of Surrey The Archdeaconry of Surrey is the ecclesiastical officer in charge of the archdeaconry of Surrey, a subdivision of the Church of England Diocese of Guildford in the Province of Canterbury. History The whole archdeaconry was historically in the dio ...
from 1906 to 1908, the artists
Rex Whistler Reginald John "Rex" Whistler (24 June 190518 July 1944) was a British painter, designer and illustrator, who was killed in action in the Second World War. Biography Reginald John Whistler was born in Britain on 24 June 1905, in Eltham, Kent ( ...
and
Laurence Whistler Sir Alan Charles Laurence Whistler (21 January 1912 – 19 December 2000) was a British poet and artist, working in particular in glass engraving. Early life Whistler was a son of architect and estate agent Henry Whistler and Helen Frances M ...
, and the academic
Michael Lindsay, 2nd Baron Lindsay of BirkerMichael Francis Morris Lindsay, 2nd Baron Lindsay of Birker (24 February 1909 – 13 February 1994), was a British peerage, peer and academic. Education and life in China Lindsay was the son of Sandie Lindsay, 1st Baron Lindsay of Birker, Sandie ...
). One of eight children, he attended
Charterhouse School (God having given, I gave) , established = , closed = , type = Public school Independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independ ...
, showing a talent for mathematics and lacking in drawing skills. In 1860, he entered
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education ...
. In 1864, he failed to get the 'first class' degree he had hoped for, achieving a second class in the
Classical Tripos The Classical Tripos is the taught course in classics Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history ...
, and he took articles to study as an architect with
John Prichard John Prichard (6 May 1817 – 13 October 1886) was a Wales, Welsh architect in the neo-Gothic style. As diocese, diocesan architect of Diocese of Llandaff, Llandaff, he was involved in the building or restoration of many churches in south Wales. ...
, the Surveyor of
Llandaff Cathedral Llandaff Cathedral ( cy, Eglwys Gadeiriol Llandaf) is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral and parish church in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales. It is the seat of the Bishop of Llandaff, head of the Church in Wales Diocese of Llandaff. It is dedicated t ...

Llandaff Cathedral
. Champneys set up his practice as an architect in 1867 in Queen's Square, London, close to the office of Morris & Co. In 1876 he married May Theresa Ella, a daughter of Maurice Drummond, descendant of
William Drummond, 4th Viscount Strathallan William Drummond, 4th Viscount Strathallan (1690 – 16 April 1746) was a Scottish peer and Jacobitism, Jacobite, who died at the Battle of Culloden. Pardoned for his part in the Jacobite_rising_of_1715, 1715 Rising, he raised a troop of ca ...
, and they had two sons and two daughters. Champneys was a member of the Century Guild, the Athenaeum Club and the Saville Club, making acquaintances with
Walter Pater Walter Horatio Pater (4 August 1839 – 30 July 1894) was an English essayist, art and literary critic, and fiction writer, regarded as one of the great stylists. His first and most often reprinted book, ''Studies in the History of the Renaissanc ...
,
Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as ''Treasure Island ''Treasure Island'' (origi ...

Robert Louis Stevenson
,
Sidney Colvin Sir Sidney Colvin (18 June 1845 – 11 May 1927) was a British curator and literary and art critic, part of the illustrious Anglo-Indian Colvin family. He is primarily remembered for his friendship with Robert Louis Stevenson. Family and early l ...
, and
Coventry Patmore Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore (23 July 1823 – 26 November 1896) was an English poet and critic A critic is a person who communicates an assessment and an opinion of various forms of creative works such as art Art is a diverse ran ...

Coventry Patmore
. In 1912 the
Royal Institute of British Architects The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body Regulatory colleges are legal entities in Canada charged with serving the public interest by regulating the practice of a profession. Most regulatory colleges are establ ...
awarded Champneys its
Royal Gold Medal The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual's or group's substantial contribution to international architecture. It is give ...
for architecture. Champneys died at his home, 42 Frognall Lane, Hampstead, on 5 April 1935. He was the brother of Brasenose rowers
Weldon Champneys
Weldon Champneys
(clergyman) and Sir
Francis Champneys
Francis Champneys
(doctor).


Writings

His writings include an introduction to ''Henry Merritt: Art Criticism and Romance'', published in 1879 and ''Churches about Queen Victoria Street'', a portfolio published in 1871, ''Victorian art and originality'' for the ''British Architect'' published in 1887, and ''The architecture of Queen Victoria's reign'' for the '' Art Journal'', published in 1887. ''A Quiet Corner of England: Studies of Landscape and Architecture in Winchelsea, Rye and Romney Marsh'' was published in 1875 after being circulated as a portfolio and a work regarding his mother-in-law, Adelaide Drummond, ''A Retrospect and Memoir'', was published in 1915. Champneys' correspondence has been preserved in the General Collection of the
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library () is the rare book library and literary archive of the Yale University Library in New Haven, Connecticut New Haven is a coastal city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is located on New Haven Ha ...
.


Architecture

Believing that architecture was 'an art not a science' he joined the
Art Workers Guild The Art Workers' Guild is an organisation established in 1884 by a group of British architects associated with the ideas of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement The arts refers to the theory, human application and physica ...
instead of the
Royal Institute of British Architects The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body Regulatory colleges are legal entities in Canada charged with serving the public interest by regulating the practice of a profession. Most regulatory colleges are establ ...
. Although Champneys was able to work in the
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
style that John Prichard preferred and taught, he later became one of the pioneers of the Queen Anne style, working on at least 100 buildings throughout England.
John Rylands
John Rylands
' widow,
Enriqueta Rylands Enriqueta Augustina Rylands (31 May 1843 – 4 February 1908) was a British philanthropist who founded the John Rylands Library The John Rylands Library is a late-Victorian neo-Gothic Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic, ...
, had admired the library Champneys had designed for
Mansfield College, Oxford Mansfield College, Oxford is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096 ...
and hired him to develop the design on a more lavish scale – The John Rylands Memorial Library in Deansgate, Manchester took nine years to build before opening on 1 January 1900, it is one of Champneys' finest designs. Champneys' Oxford buildings include the Church of St Peter-le-Bailey (1872–1874), which serves as the chapel for St Peter's College, Oxford, St Peter's College, New Old Hall in Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall (1881–1883), the Indian Institute (1883–1896), the Mansfield College, Oxford, Mansfield College library (1886–1889), the Robinson Tower at New College, Oxford, New College (1896), the
Somerville College Library Somerville College Library is the college library of Somerville College Somerville College is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall, one ...

Somerville College Library
(1903), the St. Alban Hall buildings at Merton College, Oxford, Merton College (1905–1910), a chapel and residence hall at Linacre College (1907–1909), the Rhodes Building in Oriel College, Oxford, Oriel College (1908–1911). His Cambridge works include the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge, Archaeological Museum (1883), now Peterhouse, Cambridge, Peterhouse Theatre, the Divinity and Literary School and Newnham College, Cambridge, Newnham College (between 1875 and 1910), for which he is credited for bringing a 'touch of lightness' to the college and is acknowledged for his attention to both construction details, and to cost. Champneys' buildings elsewhere include the chapel of Mill Hill School, London (1898), buildings for Bedford College (University of London), Bedford College in Regent's Park (1910), King Edward VII School (King's Lynn) (1910–1913), the Butler Museum at Harrow School (1886), the museum at Winchester College (1898), and Bedford High School (Bedfordshire), Bedford High School (1878–1892). Champneys also designed the Wilnecote Board School buildings as a slightly earlier work in 1877; this building is in danger of demolition due to Staffordshire County Council wishing to give the land away to a land developer. Churches by Champneys include his father's parish church, St Luke's Church, Kentish Town, St Luke's, Kentish Town (1867–1870), the sailors' church of St Mary Star of the Sea, Hastings (1878), and St Chad, Slindon, Staffordshire (1894). In 1897 he did the painting of clouds, cherubs and scrolls on the ceiling of St George the Martyr Southwark in London. In 1898 he added a porch to St Mary, Manchester, where he was surveyor, and between 1902 and 1903, a south annexe. His home, Hall Oak, in Frognal, Hampstead was also one of his works.


See also

* Shelley Memorial, University College, Oxford


References

* Briggs, M.S., 'Champneys, Basil (1842–1935)', rev. Brooks, Michael W., ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, 2004. Online database article number 32357.


External links


Basil Champneys Correspondence
General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.







{{DEFAULTSORT:Champneys, Basil 1842 births 1935 deaths 19th-century English architects People educated at Charterhouse School Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge Recipients of the Royal Gold Medal People from Whitechapel Architects from London