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Nashional Taste!!! The remodelling of the Prince Regent’s London by John Nash

Posted in Architecture, British Cities, British Towns, Historical articles, History, Illustrators, London, Royalty on Tuesday, 28 February 2012

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This edited article about architecture originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 654 published on 27 July 1974.

John Nash, picture, image, illustration

A contemporary caricature of John Nash perched on the spire of All Saints, Langham Place, by George Cruikshank

John Nash was the son of an engineer and millwright, born in London in 1752. After ten years as an architect in the office of Sir Robert Taylor, Nash set up his own business but went bankrupt in 1783.

Soon, however, Nash established himself as a country house architect and from this period there survive several of his houses; at Southgate Grove, Middlesex; Sunbridge Park, Kent, and Cronkhill, Shropshire.

In 1796 he set up in partnership with a landscape gardener called Humphrey Repton in London, and a few years later obtained the patronage of the Prince Regent (later to become George IV).

He began his major work in 1811. This was the development of Regent’s Park and Regent’s Street as a residential area. This Regent’s Park-Regent’s Street scheme is the most important and best preserved of all the building projects carried out at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. The curved, sweeping Regent’s Street linked the Prince Regent’s residence, Carlton House, with the centre of Georgian London and was completed in about 1825. Nash’s plan included the Regent’s canal, churches, shops, arcades as well as the magnificent and charming terraced houses in Regent’s Park itself. Nash also built the circular, porticoed church of All Saints in Langham Place, London.

During the two years between 1813 and 1815 he held the post of deputy surveyor general and by that time had become the Prince Regent’s personal architect. Between 1815 and 1823 Nash extended and altered the Royal Pavilion at Brighton in a flamboyant style which cost the enormous sum of £160,000.

In 1821 Nash was instructed to rebuild Buckingham House as a royal palace regardless of expense but his work there was left uncompleted in 1830 when the king died and Nash himself was dismissed. The great architect died on May 13th, 1835, at Cowes.

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