William Wilkins (1778-1839)

William Wilkins' University College London.

The architect William Wilkins was educated in Cambridge, and travelled in Greece, Italy and elsewhere around the Eastern Mediterrannean before returning to England and setting up his architectural practice. Much of his work is Greek Classical, but he later turned to Gothic. So far as these pages are concerned, his most important work is the National Gallery, a classical effort with a good central portico, but which has been much criticised for its lack of unity and ability to command the north side of Trafalgar Square. Wilkins was more successful with his University College London (1827-28), with steps leading up to an enormous Corinthian portico (reminiscent of the British Museum, put up a couple of years earlier), and dome behind. At Hyde Park Corner is his St George's Hospital (1827-8), with smaller, Doric entrance. Wilkins' other main works are in Cambridge. One more classical one - Downing College, which has been much extended in the same style since, and two Gothic structures - King's College, and the New Court of Corpus Christi College.

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