Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Vardy, John

VARDY, JOHN (d. 1765), architect, published in 1744 the book of the 'Designs of Inigo Jones,' by William Kent [q. v.] He was a follower, if not a pupil, of Kent, and had a share after Kent's death in carrying out his design for the Horse Guards, a building of which Vardy drew and published two prints with plans (1752 and 1751-3). His appointment at this building dates from 1751 (Tregellas, Horse Guards Memoranda, 1880); and, though he is assumed to have been in supreme charge of the operations, he was associated with another clerk of the works, William Robinson (1720?-1775) [q.v.], at an equal salary (100l.), throughout the period ot building (1751-2 and 1756-60); and the same amount was paid to Isaac Ware [q. v.] as draughtsman (see original manuscript accounts in R.L.B.A. Library). Vardy probably held several like appointments concurrently, for he succeeded H. Joynes at Kensington Palace some time between 1748 and 1754, and in 1748 was clerk of works both at St. James's Palace and Whitehall. At the time of his death, 17 May 1765, he held a similur post at Chelsea Hospital. At Westminster he not only acted as superintendent for Kent, but is said to have designed (1753) the court of king's bench (Bloomfield, Renaissance Arch. in England, p. 247).

Vardy's principal work (1762) was Lord Spencer's house in St. James's Place, facing the Park, though the north front and part of the interior are attributed to 'Athenian' Stuart [see Stuart, James, 1713-1788]. It is a dignified palace in the Palladian manner (see Vitruvius Britanniens, ed. Wolfe and Gandon, plates 37-9), surmounted with statues by Michel Henry Spang. Vardy exhibited six drawings of the building at the Society of Artists of Great Britain, where he also showed a design (1751) for a building for the Society of Dilettanti; a design (1754) for the British Museum (by order of the trustees); designs (1748) for a palace at Whitehall and for a north front of St. James's Palace; a design (1753) for the court of king's bench in St. Margaret's Lane, Westminster; a coloured view of the 'Gothic hall' (Henry VIII's chapel) at Hampton Court (a print signed 'J. Vardy, 1749,' represents the same subject, but the dedication on the plates implies that it is after Kent); a design for a nobleman's stable and terrace near Hyde Park; an inside view of a bath for a gentleman in Suffolk; and a plan and elevation of Colonel Wade's house at Whitehall (see the Catalogue of the Society of Artists of Great Britain, 1761-2-3-4). With the exception of the court of king's bench, Lord Spencer's house, and possibly that of Colonel Wade, none of his designs are known to have been carried into execution. Uxbridge House in Burlington Gardens (now a branch office of the Bank of England), though attributed to Vardy, was built (1790-2) by another John Vardy, possibly his son, in collaboration with J. Bonomi (Britton and Pugin, Edifices of London, i. 80). Vardy engraved a print after Kent of the pulpit in York Minster, and another (original) of a vase in Hampton Court gardens (1749).

[Architectural Publication Society's Dict.; authorities mentioned in text.]

P. W.