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date: 15 September 2019

Pitt, Thomas, 1st Baron Camelfordlocked

(b ?London, March 3, 1737; d Pisa, Jan 19, 1793).
  • Joanna Vernon

Extract

(b ?London, March 3, 1737; d Pisa, Jan 19, 1793).

English architect and patron. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he became friendly with the medievalists William Cole (1714–82) and Thomas Gray (1716–71). He travelled to Spain and Portugal in 1760 and there compiled a journal that gave the first descriptions in English of a large number of Iberian Gothic antiquities. Circulated privately, the manuscript contributed to the scholarship of English antiquaries. Pitt’s work as a Gothic Revivalist includes decoration (1762–4) at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, nr London, for Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford; refurbishment (1764–8) at Carlisle and Norwich cathedrals; and alterations (1783) at Holywell House, St Albans, Herts. Pitt’s uncle, Charles Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle and President of the Society of Antiquaries, encouraged his nephew’s Gothic interests, and family connections provided Pitt’s most important commissions. Between 1765 and 1777 Pitt built garden buildings, including the Corinthian arch for his cousins, the Grenvilles, at Stowe, Bucks, and adapted an Adam design for the south front of the house. Pitt’s career illustrates the importance of the tradition of the amateur architect among leading 18th-century families and their interest in new stylistic possibilities....

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H. M. Colvin: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840 (London, 1954, rev. 2/1978)
Dictionary of National Biography, 63 vols and suppls (London, 1885–)