Robert Taylor (architect)

Sir Robert Taylor (1714–1788) was an English architect who worked in London and the south of England.

Sir Robert Taylor
Guildhall Square, Carmarthen.jpg
The Guildhall, Carmarthen by Sir Robert Taylor 1767–77
Woodford, Essex
Died(1788-09-27)27 September 1788
BuildingsBank of England
Heveningham Hall
Gorhambury House

Early lifeEdit

Born at Woodford, Essex, Taylor followed in his father's footsteps and started working as a stonemason and sculptor, spending time as a pupil of Sir Henry Cheere.[1] Despite some important commissions, including a bust of London merchant Christopher Emmott (died 1745) today held in the church of St Bartholomew, Colne, Lancashire,[2] and another of William Phipps (died 1748), now in the parish church of Westbury, Wiltshire, he enjoyed little success and turned instead to architecture.


Among Taylor's earliest projects was Asgill House (known then as Richmond Place), built for a wealthy banker, Sir Charles Asgill, in Richmond upon Thames (c. 1760), and nearby Oak House. Through such connections, he came to be appointed as architect to the Bank of England until his death, when he was succeeded by Sir John Soane. In 1769 he succeeded Sir William Chambers as Architect of the King's Works. His pupils included John Nash, Samuel Pepys Cockerell, George Byfield and William Pilkington.

In 1783, he served as a Sheriff of London and was knighted the same year.[3]

Sir Robert served as a vice president on the board of the Foundling Hospital, a prominent charity dedicated to the welfare of London's abandoned children.

Personal lifeEdit

Taylor and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1803)[4] had a son, Michael Angelo Taylor (1757–1834), who, as MP for Poole, became a Whig politician during the 1830s. His death was caused by catching a chill at his friend Asgill's funeral in September 1788. Father and son were both buried in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London. Taylor is commemorated in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.[citation needed]


The Taylor Institution, Oxford University's centre for the study of medieval and modern European languages and literature, takes its name from a bequest from Taylor for the purpose of "establishing a foundation for the teaching and improving the European languages". The money was initially invested and interest left to accrue to cover building costs.[1]

The Sir Robert Taylor Society is an organisation which seeks to bring together modern language teachers in schools and university lecturers from the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford. A meeting is held once a year, shortly before the start of the Michaelmas term, at which talks are held on the literature and culture of the language communities represented in the Oxford faculty, and university admissions trends in the various languages are discussed.[5]

Architectural worksEdit

From Binney's book:[6]

Further works, not listed in Binney's book as by Taylor:

Gallery of architectural workEdit


  • "Taylor, Robert (1714-1788)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  1. ^ a b Sir_Robert_Taylor's_Foundation Archived 2008-10-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Lancashire Churches - Colne Archived 2007-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Gorton, John. A general biographical dictionary, Volume 3. Google Books
  4. ^ "Nos. 60-64, Charing Cross and Nos. 3, 5, 7 and 9, Spring Gardens Pages 131-135 Survey of London: Volume 16, St Martin-in-The-Fields I: Charing Cross. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1935". British History Online. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  5. ^ "About the Society". Sir Robert Taylor Society. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  6. ^ Binney, Marcus (1984) Sir Robert Taylor from Rococo to Neo-Classicism, George Allen & Unwin, London. ISBN 0-04-720028-6. Pages 94-97.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Comarques  (Grade II*) (1112108)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 June 2020.