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Article

Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò

(b Busto Arsizio, Nov 11, 1777; d Milan, Dec 15, 1815).

Italian painter, collector and writer. He studied painting at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Between 1785 and 1801 he lived in Rome, where he met such Neo-classical artists as Angelica Kauffman and Marianna Dionigi (1756–1826) as well as writers, scholars and archaeologists, notably Jean-Baptiste Séroux d’Agincourt, Giovanni Gherardo de Rossi (1754–1827) and Ennio Quirino Visconti. While in Rome he studied Antique and Renaissance works, making copies of the statues in the Museo Pio-Clementino and the frescoes by Raphael and Michelangelo in the Vatican, also furthering his studies of the nude in the Accademia di Domenico Conti and making anatomical drawings of corpses in the Ospedale della Consolazione. On his return to Milan in 1801 he became secretary to the Accademia di Brera, a post he held until 1807. During this period he devoted all his efforts to the restructuring of the Brera, providing it with new statutes and a major library and also founding the adjoining art gallery. He prevented numerous works from being smuggled abroad or dispersed and was responsible for their inclusion in the ...

Article

David Watkin

(b Goring on Thames, Oxon, Sept 10, 1753; d London, Jan 20, 1837).

English architect and collector. Soane has long been recognized as the most original architect in Britain, and possibly in Europe, around 1800. Intent on returning to first principles, he developed a personal language of strange and often bizarre poetry that found no real imitators and, although steeped in the Classical tradition, he reduced the orders to a system of incised lines that are a parallel to the fundamentalist doctrines of the Abbé Marc-Antoine Laugier. At the same time he bathed his interiors in light from hidden sources in a manner that, while ultimately Baroque, may owe something to Piranesi.

Born in modest circumstances as the son of a bricklayer, Soane was trained for four years from 1768 by the inventive architect George Dance (ii) before working in the office of Henry Holland from 1772 to 1777. Later in his career Soane developed his architectural ideas in close but informal association with Dance, his ‘revered master’, with whom he shared a preoccupation with toplighting and a concern to create what Dance called ‘unshackled’ architecture. In ...

Article

R. Windsor Liscombe

(b Norwich, Aug 31, 1778; d Cambridge, Aug 31, 1839).

English architect, writer and collector . A ‘profound knowledge of the principles both of Grecian and Gothic architecture’ generated the career of Wilkins, who was also remembered as ‘a most amiable and honourable man’. He promoted the archaeological Greek Revival in Britain and a Tudor Gothic style. More intellectual than imaginative, his architecture was distinguished by a deft and disciplined manipulation of select historical motifs, a refined sense of scale and intelligent planning, outmoded by the time of his death. Besides his architecture and extensive antiquarian writings, Wilkins assembled an eclectic art collection and owned, or had a financial interest in, several theatres in East Anglia.

The theatres and Wilkins’s architectural bent were inherited from his father, a Norwich architect also called William Wilkins (1751–1815), who assisted Humphry Repton from 1785 to 1796 and established a successful domestic practice, mainly in the Gothick style. His eldest son was educated at Norwich School, then at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from which he graduated Sixth Wrangler in ...