Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Robinson, Peter Frederick

684873Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 49 — Robinson, Peter Frederick1897Campbell Dodgson

ROBINSON, PETER FREDERICK (1776–1858), architect, born in 1776, became a pupil of Henry Holland (1746?–1806) [q. v.] From 1795 to 1798 he was articled to William Porden [q. v.], and he resided in 1801–2 at the Pavilion at Brighton, superintending the works in Porden's absence. In 1805 he designed Hans Town Assembly Rooms, Cadogan Place; in 1811–12 the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, which William Bullock of Liverpool intended for his London museum of natural history. The details of the elevation were taken from V. Denon's work on the Egyptian monuments, and especially from the temple at Denderah; but the composition of the design is quite at variance with the principles of Egyptian architecture. About this period he employed the young James Duffield Harding [q. v.] for perspective drawing. Harding also contributed illustrations to ‘Vitruvius Britannicus’ and other works of Robinson. In 1813 he designed the town-hall and market-place at Llanbedr, Cardiganshire. In 1816 he travelled on the continent, and visited Rome. In 1819 he made alterations at Bulstrode for the Duke of Somerset; in 1821 he restored Mickleham church, Surrey; in 1826–8 he made alterations at York Castle gaol; in 1829–32 he built the Swiss Cottage at the Colosseum, Regent's Park; in 1836 he sent in designs which were not successful in the competition for the new Houses of Parliament. He also designed or altered numerous country houses for private gentlemen.

He projected the continuation of ‘Vitruvius Britannicus,’ commenced by Colin Campbell (d. 1729) [q. v.], and continued by George Richardson (1736?–1817?) [q. v.], and published five parts, viz.: ‘Woburn Abbey,’ 1827; ‘Hatfield House,’ 1833; ‘Hardwicke Hall,’ 1835; ‘Castle Ashby,’ 1841; and ‘Warwick Castle,’ 1842. He also published ‘Rural Architecture: Designs for Ornamental Cottages,’ 1823; ‘An Attempt to ascertain the Age of the Church of Mickleham in Surrey,’ 1824; ‘Ornamental Villas,’ 1825–7; ‘Village Architecture,’ 1830; ‘Farm Buildings,’ 1830; ‘Gate Cottages, Lodges, and Park Entrances,’ 1833; ‘Domestic Architecture in the Tudor Style,’ 1837; ‘New Series of Ornamental Cottages and Villas,’ 1838. Robinson became F.S.A. in 1826, and was (1835–9) one of the first vice-presidents of the Institute of British Architects. He read papers to the institute, 6 July 1835, on ‘The newly discovered Crypt at York Minster,’ and, 5 Dec. 1836, on ‘Oblique Arches.’ About 1840 pecuniary difficulties led him to reside at Boulogne, where he died on 24 June 1858.

[Dict. of Architecture; Builder, xvi. 458; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. iii. 284; Roget's History of the ‘Old Water Colour’ Society, i. 510; Trans. Inst. of Brit. Architects, 1835–6.]

C. D.