Dance, George (1741-1825) (DNB00)

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DANCE, GEORGE, the younger (1741–1825), architect, fifth and youngest son of George Dance, architect and surveyor to the city of London, was born in 1740–1, and learnt his profession in his father's office. He spent also some time in France and Italy, and studied in Rome. He was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and in 1761 sent to their exhibition a design for Blackfriars Bridge. His father died in 1768, and he succeeded him in his office by right of purchase. His first important work was the rebuilding of Newgate in 1770, in which he displayed considerable skill—the severe, massive features of the exterior being thoroughly characteristic. He was successful also in the construction of the Giltspur Street prison and St. Luke's Hospital, but the front of Guildhall is less creditable to his taste. Dance was elected in 1794 a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy. He held also the office of professor of architecture at the Royal Academy from 1798 to 1805, but never lectured. In fact he seems to have devoted himself in his later years to art rather than to architecture, and his contributions to the Academy exhibitions in and after 1798 consisted solely of portraits drawn in chalk. These and others (in all seventy-two in number) were subsequently engraved and published, and have the reputation of being life-like, though ‘wanting in drawing and refinement’ (Redgrave). In 1815 he resigned the office of city surveyor, and after a lingering illness of many years died at Upper Gower Street, London, 14 Jan. 1825, being the last of the original forty Royal Academicians. He was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Dance was author of ‘A Collection of Portraits sketched from the Life since the year 1793, by Geo. Dance, esq., and engraved in imitation of the original drawings by Will. Daniell, A.R.A.,’ folio, 1811 and 1814.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School, 1874; Annual Register, lxvii. 219; Burke's Extinct Baronetage, s. v. ‘Holland.’]

C. J. R.