Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holland, Henry (1746?-1806)

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HOLLAND, HENRY (1746?–1806), architect, was a relative of Lancelot Brown [q. v.] (see marriages between the families in Register of St. George, Hanover Square, Harl. Soc., i. 142, 228), to whose influence he probably owed his first architectural employment. In 1763–4 he designed Claremont House, near Esher, Surrey, for Lord Clive (elevations in Richardson, New Vitruvius Britannicus, vol. i. plates 61–3; Watts, Seats, plate vi.), and about the same time made alterations to Trentham Hall, Staffordshire, for the Duke of Sutherland (plates in Ackermann, Repository of Arts, 3rd ser. 1824, iv. 1; Watts, Seats, plate xxxi.; Neale, Seats, vol. iv.; Morris, Seats, i. 59). In 1771–2 he directed the construction of Battersea Bridge, and in 1777–8 designed Brooks's Club House, No. 60 St. James's Street (opened October 1778), the front of which has since been altered. About 1780 he entirely re-erected Wenvoe Castle, Glamorganshire, in the ‘grand old castle taste’ of the period (Gent. Mag. 1785, p. 937), and in 1786 designed the vestibule and portico entrance of Featherstonhaugh House, Whitehall (the work of Payne), which was afterwards called Melbourne House, and later Dover House (plate in Malton, London and Westminster, xxvi.) In 1787 he was employed in designing the Marine Pavilion at Brighton for the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV, which consisted mainly of additions to the original villa (views by C. Middleton, 1788; by Gardiner, engraved by Newton, 1801; Brighton New Guide, 1800, p. 15; Brayley, Palace at Brighton, plate i.; plans and elevations in Richardson, New Vitruvius Britannicus, vol. i. plates 6–7; Repton, Designs for the Pavilion at Brighton). Fresh additions were made in 1801–2 by P. F. Robinson, a pupil of Holland, and the whole was subsequently remodelled by J. Nash and W. Porden.

In 1788 Holland began his principal work, the alteration and enlargement of Carlton House, Pall Mall, as a residence for the Prince of Wales. He renewed the façade and added the Roman Corinthian portico and the open colonnade in front of the courtyard (plates in Britton and Pugin, Public Buildings, ii. 193–201 (5); Pyne, Royal Residences, iii. 11–92 (21); Papworth, Select Views, pp. 7 seq. (3); Ackermann, Repository of Arts, 1809 i. 398, 1812 vii. 29, 1822 xiv. 189). The Gothic conservatory, erected later, was the work of Thomas Hopper [q. v.] On the motion of R. B. Sheridan, Holland's account of expenses was laid before the House of Commons on 3 June 1791, when a committee of inquiry was appointed (Gent. Mag. 1791, p. 921). The house was pulled down in 1827, and the columns of the portico were removed to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The stabling and riding-house, after having been used as a record office, were taken down in 1858. In 1789 Holland made some improvements at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire (the house having been designed in 1747 by H. Flitcroft), including the conservatory (now sculpture gallery), the Canaletti room, the library, the entrance to the park from London, the Chinese dairy, tennis court, and riding-school (plates in Robinson, Vit. Brit.; view of dairy by Morris, 1803). In 1791 he designed Drury Lane Theatre for R. B. Sheridan. The house was opened on 12 March 1794. Holland had much difficulty in obtaining a settlement of his accounts with Sheridan (cf. the Builder, 1855, p. 424; plan and views of the building in Wilkinson, Londina Illustrata, vols. i. and ii.; north-west view in European Magazine, 1793, xxiv. 364; cf. in Malton, i. 48). The theatre was destroyed by fire on 24 Feb. 1809. He altered Covent Garden Theatre, which was opened on 15 Sept. 1794 and destroyed by fire on 20 Dec. 1808 (view of interior in Wilkinson, vol. i.) In 1795 he designed Southill House, Bedfordshire, for Samuel Whitbread, esq. (views in Neale, Seats, 2nd ser. vol. v.; Ackermann, Repository, 3rd ser. 1825, vi. 63), and was engaged in the design of the New East India House, Leadenhall Street, a work which is frequently attributed to R. Jupp, the surveyor to the company at the time (cf. in Malcolm, Lond. Rediv. i. 82–5; Britton and Pugin, ii. 82–9; front view published by Laurie & Whittle, 1800; Malton, plate 73; north view in Papworth, Views, plate 56; Holland's description of the decoration of the pediment of the portico in Gent. Mag. 1803, p. 430). The building with the site was sold in 1861, and was pulled down in the following year. In 1801 he completely re-erected the mansion at Wimbledon Park, Surrey, on a different site to the former building (view in Ackermann, Repository, 3rd ser. 1825, v. 64). His last work was probably the colonnade, screen wings, and pavilions to the Assembly Rooms, now the Athenæum, Ingram Street, Glasgow (erected in 1796 by R. Adam), which were not completed till 1807.

About 1780 Holland purchased a hundred acres of land in Chelsea, as a building speculation; laid out Sloane Street, erecting the white brick houses there, Cadogan Place, and Hans Place, and erected a villa for himself in Hans Place (three drawn plans of the estate and two elevations of the villa, dated 11 Aug. 1790, in the King's Library; the particulars of the sale of the villa, dated 1807, in the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects). Part of the ground was afterwards occupied by Prince's Club, and the property has recently been almost entirely rebuilt. Another scheme of his was the erection of Albany Chambers, which was carried out in 1804, on the gardens of York House, Piccadilly, behind the main house, which was the work of Sir William Chambers.

Holland was district surveyor of Hatton Garden Liberty, Ely Rents, Saffron Hill, St. Mary-le-Strand with the Duchy of Lancaster, and precincts of the Savoy. On 17 July 1789 he, with nine other architects, including Robert Adam, George Dance, and John Soane, was appointed by a committee of the House of Commons to inspect and report upon the buildings of the houses of parliament with the offices attached. The report was presented 20 July (Annual Register, 1790, pp. 247–8). He succeeded R. Jupp as surveyor to the East India Company in 1799 (Gent. Mag. 1799, p. 539), and at the time of his death was justice of the peace for the county of Middlesex. He was probably a member of the firm of Holland, Copland, & Rowles, timber merchants; Rowles was a relation and pupil. It is said that Sir John Soane studied under him before he gained the gold medal of the Royal Academy in 1776 and became a pupil of George Dance. Holland was the developer of the Anglo-Greco-Roman style, his decorations resembling those of the Adams, and he introduced into the works at Carlton House the art of graining and marbling from Paris. Some of his designs have been accused of over-decoration (Penny Cyclopædia, Suppl.; Dallaway, Anecdotes of the Arts, p. 155). His practice of charging 1, 2, or 2½ per cent. for measuring buildings, in addition to the usual architect's charge of 5 per cent., was severely censured by Sir John Soane, who considered it ‘highly unwarrantable’ (Soane, Letter to Earl Spencer, 1799, pp. 3–12). He was made F.S.A. in 1797.

For the Association of Architects, of which he was a member, Holland acted on a committee, appointed 1 March 1792, to inquire into the causes of the frequent fires in the metropolis, and drew up the ‘Report’ in the same year. Accounts of the experiments made in the various methods of securing buildings from fire are given in the appendix to the ‘Report,’ pp. 57, 67, 75, 81. He contributed to the ‘Communications’ of the board of agriculture, 1797, pp. 97–102, a paper on ‘Cottages,’ with a design (plate xxxv.), and in the Appendix for the same year an account with plates of ‘Pisé, or the Art of Building Strong and Durable Walls, to the Height of several Stories, with nothing but Earth, or the most Common Materials.’ The account was extracted from a work on the subject by Francis Cointeraux, architect (Paris, 1791).

Holland died at his house in Hans Place on 17 June 1806, aged about sixty. A marble bust of him by Garrard is placed at the entrance to the sculpture gallery at Woburn Abbey. He married, on 11 Feb. 1773, Bridget Brown of Hampton (Registers of St. George, Hanover Square, i. 228, Harl. Soc.), by whom he had two sons, Henry and Lancelot, and five daughters.

[Authorities quoted; Dict. of Architecture; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Penny Cyclopædia, Supplement; Builder, 1855, pp. 423–4, 437; Cunningham's Handbook of London, 1850; Brayley's Surrey, iii. 454, 502–3; Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 329; Glasgow Past and Present, p. 129; Daily Advertiser, 19 June 1806; will at Somerset House; Cat. of King's Prints and Drawings in Brit. Mus.; List of Soc. Antiq. London.]

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