CHAMBERS, William
(b. 1723, Göteborg, d. 1796, London)

Somerset House

1776-80
Photo
Strand, London

Constructed on an extensive but irregular plot on the Thames Embankment in London, Somerset House was one of the first public buildings designed exclusively to house government and educational institutions. The building is a four-wing complex around a large interior court and two narrow lateral courts. The north wing facing the Strand is separated from the others and architecturally particularly emphasized, as it was to house the learned institutions of the Royal Academy and the Society of Antiquaries. Borrowing from palace architecture, it has a giant order of pilasters and engaged columns spanning the piano nobile and mezzanine. The windows are marked with pediments or straight heads. The extremely long river façade is subtly organized into groups and crowned by a dome responding to the attic level of the north wing.

The Somerset House is now home of the Courtauld Institute Galleries.

The photo shows the court front of the north wing.




© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.