Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Scoles, Joseph John

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605172Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 51 — Scoles, Joseph John1897Samuel Joseph Nicholl

SCOLES, JOSEPH JOHN (1798–1863), architect, born in London on 27 June 1798, was son of Matthew Scoles, a joiner, and Elizabeth Sparling. His parents were Roman catholics. Educated at the Roman catholic school at Baddesley Green, Joseph was apprenticed in 1812 for seven years to his kinsman, Joseph Ireland, an architect largely employed by Dr. John Milner (1752–1826) [q. v.], the Roman catholic bishop. During his apprenticeship, John Carter (1748–1817) [q. v.], through Milner's influence, revised his detailed drawings, and he thus had his attention directed at an early period to mediæval ecclesiastical art. Ireland, as was customary at that period, frequently acted as contractor as well as designer, and Scoles from 1816 to 1819 was resident at Hassop Hall, Bakewell, and in Leicester, superintending works for Ireland.

In 1822 Scoles left England in company with Joseph Bonomi the younger [q. v.] for further study, and devoted himself to archæological and architectural research in Rome, Greece, Egypt, and Syria. Henry Parke [q. v.] and T. Catherwood were often his companions. He published in 1829 an engraved ‘Map of Nubia, comprising the country between the first and second cataracts of the Nile,’ from a survey made in 1824 jointly by him and Parke, and a map of the city of Jerusalem; his plan of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, with his drawings of the Jewish tombs in the valley of Jehoshaphat, was published by Professor Robert Willis [q. v.] in 1849. The plan of the temple of Cadacchio, contributed by Scoles to the supplementary volume of Stuart and Revett, was published without acknowledgment. Two sheets of classic detail, drawn by F. Arundale from sketches by Parke and Scoles in 1823, were published by Augustus W. N. Pugin [q. v.] in 1828. The illustrations to the article ‘Catacomb’ in the ‘Dictionary of the Architectural Publication Society’ comprise plans of a catacomb in Alexandria drawn in 1823 by Scoles, Parke, and Catherwood.

Meanwhile in 1826 he returned home and resumed his practice. In 1828 he planned and carried out the building of Gloucester Terrace, Regent's Park, for which John Nash [q. v.] supplied the general elevation. He showed his ingenuity by varying the internal arrangements behind Nash's elevation, and his artistic feeling by changing the proportions of Nash's details while preserving the contours of the mouldings. Nash passed the work with the observation that the parts looked larger than he expected. Gloucester Villa at the entrance to the park was solely due to Scoles; and about the same period he erected a suspension bridge over the river Bure at Great Yarmouth, which in 1845 gave way with fatal results, owing to concealed defects of workmanship in two of the suspending rods.

Scoles designed St. Mary's Chapel, South Town, Yarmouth (1830), St. Peter's Church, Great Yarmouth (1831), and St. George's Church, Edgbaston, for Lord Calthorpe. These, with some small additions and restorations to Burgh Castle and Blundestone churches, Suffolk, comprised all his work for the established church of England. His works for the Roman catholic church included Our Lady's Church, St. John's Wood (1832), St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Stonyhurst, Lancashire (1832), St. Ignatius, Preston, Lancashire (1835), St. James's, Colchester (1837), St. Mary's, Newport, Monmouthshire (1840), St. David's, Cardiff (1842), St. John's, Islington (1843), the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London (1844), St. Francis Xavier's, Liverpool (1844), the Immaculate Conception, Chelmsford (1847), the church and presbytery of Great Yarmouth (1848–50), the chapel of Ince Hall, Lancashire (1859), and the Holy Cross, St. Helen's, Lancashire (1860).

Scoles's design of the church of St. John, Islington, was censured by Pugin in a self-laudatory article on ‘Ecclesiastical Architectures’ in the ‘Dublin Review’ for 1843; but the plan given by Pugin was shown to be in error in an editorial article in the ‘Builder’ of 1 April 1843. Among others of Scoles's works was the London Oratory, Brompton, with its library, the little oratory, and the temporary church, as well as a convent in Sidney Street, Brompton. The chapel of Prior Park College, Bath, designed by Scoles, was erected after his death by his son.

Scoles was elected a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1835, was honorary secretary from May 1846 to May 1856, and vice-president in 1857–8. To the society's proceedings he contributed papers principally on the monuments of Egypt and the Holy Land, the outcome of his early travels.

He died on 29 Dec. 1863, at his residence, Crofton Lodge, Hammersmith.

Scoles married, in 1831, Harriott, daughter of Robert Cory of Great Yarmouth. Four sons and eight daughters survived him. There passed to the possession of his son, Augustus Cory Scoles, a watercolour drawing by John Hollins, A.R.A. [q. v.], representing Scoles in the native costume he had adopted when in Syria.

[Family papers and personal knowledge; Builder, 16 Jan. 1864.]

S. J. N.