Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/418

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Smirke
Smirke
407

lated by his daughter, Mary Smirke (1818), and the British poets, especially Thomson. His works are characterised by good drawing, refinement, and quiet humour. ‘The Pedagogue,’ which was engraved by Joseph Goodyear for the ‘Amulet’ of 1830, is an excellent example of his style. Of equal interest are ‘The Rivals,’ engraved by William Finden for the ‘Keepsake’ of 1828; ‘The Secret,’ engraved by James Mitchell for that of 1830; and ‘The Love Letter,’ engraved by Alfred W. Warren for the ‘Gem’ of 1830.

Smirke painted also some pictures for Boydell's ‘Shakespeare Gallery,’ and for Bowyer's ‘History of England.’ These works included ‘Katharine and Petruchio,’ ‘Juliet and the Nurse,’ ‘Prince Henry and Falstaff,’ and ‘The Seven Ages.’ A large commemorative plate, with fifteen medallion portraits, of ‘The Victory of the Nile’ was engraved by John Landseer, A.R.A., from his design. In the Guildhall, London, is a picture by him representing ‘Conjugal Affection, or Industry and Prudence,’ and a series of scenes from ‘Don Quixote’ is on loan from the National Gallery to the museum of Stoke-upon-Trent. Two other small pictures are in the Sheepshanks collection, South Kensington Museum. Smirke was the author of a satirical ‘Catalogue raisonnée of the Pictures now exhibiting at the British Institution’ for the years 1815 and 1816.

Smirke died at 3 Osnaburgh Terrace, Regent's Park, London, on 5 Jan. 1845, in his ninety-third year, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery. He had four sons: Richard (see below), Sir Edward [q. v.], Sir Robert [q. v.], and Sydney [q. v.]; the last two were architects.

There is a portrait of Smirke in the ‘British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits,’ engraved by Charles Picart from a drawing by John Jackson, R.A., taken from an original picture by Mary Smirke, and now in the possession of the family. Sir William J. Newton painted several miniatures of him.

Richard Smirke (1778–1815), antiquarian draughtsman, born in 1778, studied painting in the schools of the Royal Academy, where in 1799 he gained the gold medal with a picture of Samson and Delilah. But his tastes led him to the study of ancient works of art and historical costume, and he became an extremely skilful antiquarian draughtsman. When the wall paintings in St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster, were discovered in 1800, Smirke made a set of beautiful facsimile copies of them in watercolours, on a small scale, which are now in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries; he was afterwards employed by the society on similar work. He gave much time to the study of chemistry, and made some discoveries in the qualities of colour. He died at the Howard Arms Inn, Brampton, Cumberland, on 5 May 1815 (Gent. Mag. 1815, i. 477).

{{smaller block|[Gent. Mag. 1845, i. 317–19; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Redgraves' Century of Painters, i. 455; Sandby's Royal Academy, 1862, i. 299; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, 1886–1889, ii. 506; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues, 1786–1813.]

R. E. G.


SMIRKE, Sir ROBERT (1781–1867), architect, second son of Robert Smirke [q. v.] and brother of Sir Edward Smirke [q. v.] and of Sydney Smirke [q. v.], was born in London on 1 Oct. 1781. He was educated at Apsley school, Bedfordshire. In 1796 he entered the schools of the Royal Academy, and was articled to Sir John Soane [q. v.], with whom he remained but a few months. In that year he received a medal from the Society of Arts, and in 1799 gained the academy gold medal with a design for a national gallery. From 1801 to 1805 he was abroad studying the architecture of Italy, Sicily, and Greece, and in 1806 he published a folio work, ‘Specimens of Continental Architecture.’ Smirke's earliest buildings, of which Lowther and Eastnor Castles are fine examples, were in the mediæval style, which he also occasionally used later; but the great majority of his works, both public and private, were classical, massive in construction, heavy and sombre in treatment, the Doric or Ionic order being always employed. In 1807 Smirke was appointed architect to the board of trade, and erected the greater portion of the present mint on Tower Hill (1809–11). In 1809 he rebuilt Covent Garden Theatre at a cost of 150,000l. Smirke's theatre was burned on 5 March 1856. In 1817 he gained the first prize for the ‘navy memorial’ in the national monuments competitions. In 1823 he commenced his two finest and best known works, the General Post Office in St. Martin's-le-Grand and the British Museum, both of which are in the pure Ionic style; the façade of the latter building, which is the most imposing in the metropolis, was completed in 1847. From 1814 to 1828 Smirke was surveyor to the Inner Temple, where he erected the library and dining hall, and carried out extensive reconstructions. He was employed upon the restoration of York minster after the fire of 1829. His other important commissions include the east wing of Somerset House (1828–31), the London Custom-house (central portion), the College of Physicians in Trafalgar Square (1825), the Carlton Club, 1835 (afterwards