The object of this book is to give a more or less concise account of the lives of the British Architects, from the days of William of Wykeham to those of Sir William Chambers. As this has never been done before, it is my hope that the following pages may to some extent fill a want, however inadequately.
It is true that Cunningham, in his "Lives of the Painters," dealt with a few of the better-known men; but Cunningham wrote so long ago (1830) that his work is quite out of date, besides being not always accurate, nor wholly satisfactory in other ways. A few of the architects dealt with here, notably Inigo Jones, Wren and Chambers, have, of course, had their special biographers, and to those works I am indebted, and wish to record my obligations. But the only book that has something to say about most of those treated of in these pages, is Mr. Reginald Blomfield's authoritative work on the Renaissance Architecture in England. The very scheme of that book, however, primarily concerned as it is with architecture and not the lives of the architects, obviated the necessity of Mr. Blomfield's dealing with the latter, except in a more or less cursory way. For the rest, what has been written by others (and how much it is!) on architecture in this country, has been practically confined to the technical side of the matter.