Cottingham, Lewis Nockalls (DNB00)

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COTTINGHAM, LEWIS NOCKALLS (1787–1847), architect, born at Laxfield, Suffolk, 24 Oct. 1787, was the son of a farmer of an ancient and respectable family. As he quickly showed a taste for science and art, he was apprenticed to a builder at Ipswich, who had an extensive practice, where Cottingham, by several years of industry, acquired a sound practical education. In 1814 he commenced his career as an architect, and removed to London. In 1822 he obtained his first appointment as architect and surveyor to the Cooks' Company, and in 1825 he was selected by the dean and chapter of Rochester to execute repairs and restorations for their cathedral, the latter including a new central tower. He was patronised by Mr. John Harrison of Spelston Hall, Derbyshire, for whom he built a residence at that place in the Perpendicular style of Gothic. Cottingham soon gained a reputation as a Gothic architect, and executed several important works; among these were the restoration of the interior of the chapel at Magdalen College, Oxford, for which he was a successful competitor in 1829; the repairs of St. Albans Abbey (1833); the restoration and almost entire rebuilding of the cathedral at Armagh, a work which extended over several years; the restoration of the tower and spire of St. James's Church at Louth, Lincolnshire, which had been shattered by lightning; the restoration of the beautiful Norman tower of St. James's Church, Bury St. Edmund's; the restoration of Hereford Cathedral, on which he was engaged at the time of his death. In London he actively supported the retention and restoration of the lady chapel in St. Saviour's Church, Southwark, and gave valuable advice and assistance in the restoration of the Temple Church. He sent in designs for the new Fishmongers' Hall and the new Houses of Parliament, but was not successful with either. He exhibited many of his architectural designs at the Royal Academy. Among the minor works may be named: the restoration of the churches of Ashbourne, Derbyshire; Chesterford, Essex; Clifton, Nottinghamshire; Horningsheath, Market Weston, and Theberton in Suffolk; Milton Bryan, Bedfordshire; Roos, Yorkshire, and many others. He executed private works for Lord Brougham at Brougham Castle, Westmoreland; for Lord Harrington at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire; for Lord Dunraven at Adare Manor, Limerick; and for Lord Craven at Combe Abbey, Berkshire. One of Cottingham's most important works was the laying out, about 1825, of the extensive estates on the Surrey side of Waterloo Bridge, belonging to Mr. John Field of Tooting, and forming the large parish of St. John's, Lambeth. Here he built a residence for himself in Waterloo Bridge Road, which comprised suites of rooms specially designed to receive the valuable collections of architectural works and the library which he formed during his career. These collections were very well known to all students and lovers of Gothic architecture, and contained many specimens of Gothic carving in stone and wood preserved from buildings that had been destroyed. A catalogue was published, but the collection was dispersed, to the regret of all, a few years after his death. Cottingham was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of other scientific societies. In ‘Archæologia,’ vol. xxix., there is published his description of the encaustic tiles in the pavement of the chapter-house at Westminster (engraved from his designs in J. G. Nichols's ‘Facsimiles of Encaustic Tiles’), and his account of the discovery in the Temple Church of the leaden coffins of the Knights Templars. He published from 1822 to 1829: 1. ‘Plans, Elevations, Sections, Details, and Views, with Mouldings, full size, of the Chapel of King Henry VII at Westminster Abbey,’ and also a second volume containing details of the interior of the same. 2. ‘Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details at large of Westminster Hall.’ 3. ‘The Smith and Founder's Directory, containing a series of Designs and Patterns for Ornamental Iron and Brass Work.’ 4. ‘Working Drawings for Gothic Ornaments, selected and composed from the best examples, consisting of capitals, bases, cornices, &c.’ These drawings, though rather coarsely executed, are interesting, as being perhaps the first full-size illustrations of mediæval carving published in this form. 5. ‘Grecian and Roman Architecture, in twenty-four large folio plates.’ Cottingham did a great deal to promote the revival of mediæval Gothic architecture, but, as an architect, is now esteemed more for his draughtsmanship than the works that he carried out; in the latter his enthusiasm for the Gothic revival frequently overcame his discretion in handling the buildings entrusted to his care. He died in Waterloo Bridge Road, after a long illness, 13 Oct. 1847, and was buried at Croydon. He married in 1822 Sophia, second daughter of Robert Turner Cotton of Finsbury, by whom he left two sons and one daughter. The elder son, Nockalls Johnson Cottingham (1823–1854), also became an architect, and assisted his father, especially in the restoration of Hereford Cathedral, where the reredos is executed from his designs. He showed some skill also in designing for stained glass. After a rather chequered career he perished in 1854 on his way to New York in the wreck of the ‘Arctic’ at the early age of thirty-one.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Gent. Mag. (1847) pp. 648–50; Builder, 23 Oct. 1847 and 2 Dec. 1856; Athenæum, 16 Oct. 1847; Ipswich Journal, 23 Oct. 1847; Art Union, 1847; Ward's Men of the Reign; Lowndes's Bibl. Man.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

L. C.