British Museum - Bloomsbury, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 31.129 W 000° 07.575
30U E 699373 N 5711437
Quick Description: The British Museum, located in Bloomsbury in London, was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and was largely constructed between 1823 and 1847.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/8/2015 11:41:14 AM
Waymark Code: WMNBQD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member razalas
Views: 3

Long Description:

The museum is Grade I listed with the entry at the English Heritage website tellings us:

Museum. 1823-47. By Sir Robert Smirke with later additions. Portland stone. Planned as a big quadrangle with open courtyard extending north from Montague House (the original museum, demolished c1840). 2 main storeys in Greek Revival style. Built in stages. East Wing 1823-26: built to house George IV's library and Angerstein pictures (later basis of National Gallery). An early use of iron beams clad in concrete by engineer John Rastrick. Fine Grecian detail to interior with scagliola walls. West Wing 1831-4: built to house antiquities. Redecorated to Smirke's original colour scheme 1980. North Wing 1833-8: built to house antiquities. South Range 1842-7: built as the principal facade following the demolition of Montague House. 7-bay centre linked to projecting wings. Ionic octastyle portico with sculptured pediment projecting from a massive colonnade running around the wings. Ionic order from the temple of Athene Polias, Priene. Pediment sculpture depicts the "Progress of Civilisation" by Westmacott. Fine interior with grand central staircase. Round Reading Room 1852-7: by Sydney Smirke. Erected to fill the open quadrangle, with domed cast-iron roof.

HISTORICAL NOTE: the museum expanded north during the C19, the last main addition being the King Edward VII Gallery (qv), 1914, facing Montague Place. Some of the galleries were damaged during World War II and have been remodelled for display purposes.

The Reference website  tells us about Sir Robert Smirke:

Smirke, Sir Robert,  1781-1867, English architect, one of the most noted exponents of the classic revival. His best-known design is the main facade of the British Museum (1823-47). Other buildings in London are the General Post Office and the Royal College of Physicians.

Smirke's influence resulted in a more accurate interpretation of Greek forms in the English work of the time.

Upon his retirement (1847), his brother, Sydney Smirke,  1798-1877, took up the work at the British Museum, where he erected the western side of the quadrangle and the new reading room (1854-57). In 1857 he rebuilt the Carlton Club, London, on a design adopted from the Library of St. Mark's at Venice; he also built the exhibition galleries for the Royal Academy at Burlington House (1866).

A Bing bird's eye view of the museum can be seen here.

Architect: Sir Robert Smirke

Prize received: RIBA Royal Gold Medal

In what year: 1853

Website about the Architect: [Web Link]

Website about the building: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
- Please provide a photo you have taken of the architect's work.

- And please write a little about your visit to the site. Tell us what you thought, did you liked it?

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ThePacman visited British Museum - Bloomsbury, London, UK 1/5/2008 ThePacman visited it