William Talman (architect)

William Talman (1650–1719) was an English architect and landscape designer. A pupil of Sir Christopher Wren, in 1678 he and Thomas Apprice gained the office of King's Waiter in the Port of London (perhaps through his patron Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon). From May 1689 until William III's death in 1702 he was Comptroller of the Royal Works,[1] and also in 1689 William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland appointed Talman and George London as his deputies in his new role as Superintendent of the Royal Gardens.[2] In these roles Talman worked with Wren in his rebuilding of Hampton Court Palace and its gardens and, by proposing a cheaper interior decoration scheme for the new building, won that commission over Wren's head.

William Talman
William Talman, his son John Talman, his daughter Frances Cokayne, and his wife, Hannah Talman, by Giuseppe Grisoni, c.1718–19, NPG
Eastcott Manor House West Lavington, Wiltshire
Died(1719-11-22)22 November 1719
Felmingham, Norfolk
BuildingsChatsworth House
The South Front of Chatsworth from Colen Campbell's Vitruvius Britannicus.

Talman's principal work is recognised to be Chatsworth House, considered to be the first baroque private house in Britain, and he was possibly the architect of St Anne's Church, Soho. Talman was held by many to be surly, rude and difficult to get on with. One of those who felt so was Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle, who thus chose John Vanbrugh, not Talman as his architect for Castle Howard; (Vanburgh had also been Talman's replacement as Comptroller of the Royal Works in May 1702.)

During his long career Talman worked on many of England's country houses. These include:[3]

Gallery of architectural worksEdit


  1. ^ Harris 1982, p.17.
  2. ^ Harris 1982, p.19.
  3. ^ Dates from Harris 1982.
  4. ^ Not listed in Harris 1982.
  5. ^ Not listed in Harris 1982.


  • Harris, John, The Hampton Court Trianon Designs of William and John Talman, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, xxiii, 1960.
  • Harris, John, William Talman: Maverick Architect. London, Allen and Unwin. 1982. Studies in Architecture, 2.
  • Saunders, Edward, Bretby Hall, in Derbyshire Life, August 1975.
  • Whinney, M.D., William Talman, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, xviii, 1955.

External linksEdit

  • Talman, William at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The first edition of this text is available at Wikisource: "Talman, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  • The Talman Family Group at the National Portrait Gallery
  • "Archival material relating to William Talman". UK National Archives.  
Court offices
Preceded by
Hugh May
Comptroller of the King's Works
1668 – 1684
Succeeded by
John Vanbrugh