WYATT, Thomas Henry
(b. 1807, Lough Glint, Ireland, d. 1880, London)


English architect, second cousin of Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807) and James Wyatt. One of the most prolific of English architects, he trained in London at the office of Philip Hardwick (1792-1870) before starting independent architectural practice in 1832. Through the influence of an uncle who was land agent to the extensive Beaufort estates in South Wales, he obtained most of the commissions for the large numbers of new public buildings required in the development of the Welsh valleys. With the recommendation of the Beauforts he started a country-house practice that grew to be one of the largest in England. Between 1838 and 1851 he was in partnership with David Brandon (1813-1897), but he later worked on his own.

Wyatt designed over 400 buildings, many of them the work of a well-organized office of assistants. He also played an active role in public architectural affairs, sitting on committees and occupying many official positions. Though he was neither a great nor an original architect, most of his work is competent and scholarly. His early buildings are the most satisfactory, such as the simple classical Assize Court at Devizes, Wiltshire (1835), and the noble Italianate basilica of St Mary and St Nicholas at Wilton, Wiltshire (1841-44). He was responsible for numerous Gothic Revival churches and restorations, largely in the Salisbury diocese. These form a microcosm of English church building between 1830 and 1880. The great Wiltshire estate churches built in the 1860s and 1870s - Savernake, Hindon, Fonthill Gifford, Semley and Bemerton - are perhaps the best, with their well-massed exteriors, spacious interiors and the high quality of their fittings and finish.

Wyatt's public buildings, by contrast, were in the classical style but the most notable have been demolished: Knightsbridge Barracks, London (1879-82), the Liverpool Exchange (1867) and the Cambridge Assize Courts (1840-43). His many country houses were mainly in a late Tudor style, but they are of little architectural merit. Orchardleigh Park, Somerset (1855-58), is typical, with its arid, gabled stone exterior and fireproof internal construction.

He was a gold medallist of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1873. From 1838 to 1851, Wyatt was in partnership with David Brandon (1813-97). He was president of RIBA from 1870 to 1873.