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Gibbs, James  

Roger White

(b Aberdeen, Dec 23, 1682; d London, Aug 5, 1754).

Scottish architect.

Gibbs was the younger son of an Aberdeen merchant, Patrick Gibb(s), and was brought up a Roman Catholic. He was educated at the Grammar School and at Marischal College in Aberdeen. Shortly before 1700 he left Scotland for the Netherlands, where he stayed with relatives before making his way through France to Italy, visiting Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Genoa and Naples. He arrived in Rome in the autumn of 1703 and registered at the Pontifical Scots College, apparently with the intention of training for the priesthood. Within a year, however, he left to become a pupil of Carlo Fontana, then the most influential architect in Rome. His father had suffered financial hardship as a result of the 1688 Revolution, so that Gibbs had to rely on the charity of friends for his income, probably supplementing it by guiding and drawing for British tourists.

These contacts with potential patrons proved useful when Gibbs arrived in London late in ...


Smith, Francis  

Andor Gomme

(bapt Tettenhall, Staffs, Jan 4, 1672; d Warwick, bur April 9, 1738).

English architect, builder and mason. He was the youngest son of Francis Smith, a builder of Tettenhall, near Wolverhampton. He trained as a mason and worked in the family business in Staffordshire until c. 1695, when he moved to Warwick with his brother William (1661–1724). In the aftermath of the fire that destroyed much of the town in 1694, they rebuilt the parish church (1697–1704) to the designs of Sir William Wilson (1641–1710) and much of High Street and Sheep Street (now Northgate). William returned to Staffordshire in 1704, but Francis stayed and established himself as the leading master builder in the Midlands and one of the most successful in English history, with authenticated work in no fewer than 19 counties. His reputation and fortune were made among the Midlands aristocracy and gentry, and it is as a country-house architect that he is chiefly remembered: he was involved in the building or reconstruction of at least 60 country houses, as well as churches, public buildings and numerous lesser works. Smith owned a marble yard in Warwick where much of his detailed masonry was produced, including large, Baroque monumental tablets, well made and stylish though rarely inventive....