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SIR WILLIAM CHAMBERS 1726-1796 ref: 136BW
As an employee of the Swedish East India Company, Chambers made a voyage to China that was to have a far-reaching effect on his life, for it was in Canton that he was moved to make some sketches of architecture which later made up the book 'Designs for Chinese Buildings'. Soon after, he was to quit the sea to take up architecture exclusively, and he studied in Rome and Paris. When he returned to London he was discovered by Augusta, princess dowager of Wales, who was looking for a young architect to adorn the gardens of her villa at Kew. This gave him the opportunity to indulge his taste for both classical and Chinese architecture, and between 1757 and 1762 he erected several Roman temples and the famous Pagoda. From then on his career as architect to the crown and gentry knew no bounds. Somerset House was described as 'the greatest architectural work of the reign of George III'. Chambers 'Treatise of Civil Architecture' is renowned, and for a long time remained the authoritative text-book for students of architecture.