[Paul Johnson has kindly shared the photographs and research on his UK site about John Shaw, Junior and Senior, and Philip Hardwick, which he has "dedicated to the Memory of the Finest Architectural Family London Has Ever Seen." Readers might like to look at his original presentation. In 2009 Jacqueline Banerjee added dates. GPL]
Thomas Hardwick Junior was born in 1752 in Brentford, Middlesex, where his father had established his architectural practice. Thomas Hardwick Junior entered the Royal Academy Schools at the age of seventeen and trained under the great Sir William Chambers. It was Chambers who persuaded the Royal Family to finance the Royal Academy and was the architect for Somerset House on the Stand. Hardwick actually worked during the construction of Somerset House while undergoing his apprenticeship and formed a good relationship with Chambers. There is a book at the British Library written by Tom Hardwick Junior in respect and memory of his great tutor. During his student years Thomas won the first silver medal offered by the Academy in architecture.
One day he decided to follow in the footsteps of all the great artists before him and under his own expense travelled to Europe visiting Paris and Lyons; then Italy in company with the artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803). He reached Rome in 1776 where he lived for two years. It was in Rome where he enjoyed measuring antique buildings and ruins, particularly the baths of ancient Rome, and compiling a portfolio with which to serve as a basis for his own designs. The appreciation he showed for classical architecture would pass down to his son and then grandson who followed his footsteps in travelling to Europe. It was also in the heart of the old Roman Empire that he met his old classmate, Sir John Soane (1753-1837). The pair engaged in a partnership of measuring the ground plans of churches in the city and researching the Pantheon and the Coliseum. A volume of Thomas's drawings made during his "Italian Job" are in the library of the RIBA.
Soon after returning to England Thomas established a reputation in and around London as a Church architect. The church of St. Mary the Virgin at Wanstead was by him and completed in 1790. He renovated Inigo Jones's St Paul's, Covent Garden; Christopher Wren's St James's, Piccadilly; and rebuilt George Dance's St Bartholomew-the-Less, West Smithfield. In 1791 he became a member of the Architects' Club and was regarded by his peers as a very "respectable man."
Perhaps his most famous work is that of the church of St Mary, Marylebone Road (1813-17), a fine example of Regency Church architecture. Thomas later became Clerk of Works at Hampton Court, conferred upon him by King George III. While working at the Court he was also appointed to work at Kew Palace and its gardens.
Among Hardwick's pupils were J.M.W Turner (whom he advised to stick to painting and forget becoming an architect), John Foulston (1772-1842), and his second son Philip Hardwick. Philip became his partner and in 1825 took over the office in central London where the family had established themselves. The Hardwick family resided at some of London's finest addresses, including Berners Street, Rathborne Place, and Great Marlborough Street. Thomas was an prolific designer in a conservative neo-classical manner. He died at the family home in Berners Street and is buried with his ancestors in the family vault in the now derelict churchyard of St Laurence, Brentford.
Last modified 10 August 2009