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Basevi, George (DNB00)


BASEVI, GEORGE (1794–1845), architect, was born in London, and educated by Dr. Burney at Greenwich. He was the son of George Basevi, whose sister Maria married Isaac D'Israeli and was the mother of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. In 1811 Basevi became a pupil of Sir John Soane; in 1816 he made a tour through Italy and Greece, returning three years later to England. In 1821 he was appointed surveyor to the Guardian Assurance Company, and was engaged at the same time upon two christian churches in a pagan style of art, St. Thomas's at Stockport, and St. Mary's at Greenwich. Between 1825 and 1840 he designed and superintended the building of the houses in Belgrave Square, those at the corners excepted. His most important public work is the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, begun by him in 1837, continued by R. C. Cockerell, completed (1874) by E. M. Barry. During the progress of this building he erected a house of correction at Wisbeach, and enlarged the gaol at Ely. The Conservative Club House was his last important work. In this undertaking he was associated with Sydney Smith, A.R.A. The building was begun in 1843, and finished in 1845. In the latter year the same architects were appointed to rebuild the Carlton Club premises. Basevi died before the commencement of the work. He was engaged in inspecting the western bell-tower of Ely Cathedral, and fell and was killed upon the spot. This accident happened 16 Oct. 1845; he was buried in a chapel at the east end of the cathedral. He was a tasteful architect in the classic styles.

[Architectural Publication Society's Dictionary, 1853; Civil Engineer; Builder; Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists, 1879.]

E. R.