Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Plaw, John

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PLAW, JOHN (1745?–1820), architect, born about 1745, was an architect and master-builder in Westminster in good practice. He built the new church at Paddington (1788–91), and Mrs. Montagu's house in Portman Square (1790), from the designs of James Stuart. He was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and signed their declaration roll in 1766. He first exhibited architectural designs with them in 1773; and in 1790, when the society resumed their exhibitions after an interval of seven years, Plaw was their director, exhibiting that year and at their final exhibition in 1791. He also exhibited occasionally at the Royal Academy, his name appearing for the last time in 1800. In 1795 he removed to Southampton, where he built the barracks (1806). Plaw published in 1785 ‘Rural Architecture; or Designs from the simple Cottage to the decorated Villa;’ later editions of this work appeared in 1794, 1796, and 1802. In 1795 he published ‘Ferme Ornée; or Rural Improvements. A Series of Domestic and Ornamental Designs, suited for Parks … Farms, &c.,’ of which a later edition appeared in 1813; and in 1800 ‘Sketches for Country Houses, Villas, and Rural Dwellings, calculated for persons of moderate income and for a comfortable retirement; also some Designs for Cottages, which may be constructed of the simplest materials.’ All these works were illustrated by Plaw's own designs. In 1820 Plaw made an expedition to Canada, and died in May of that year on the banks of the river St. Lawrence. John Buonarotti Papworth [q. v.] was his pupil. A Miss P. Plaw, apparently a daughter of the above, exhibited architectural designs with the Society of Artists in 1790.

[Dict. of Architecture (Architect. Publication Soc.); Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1893; Catalogues of the Soc. of Artists and Royal Academy; South Kensington Cat. of Works on Art.]

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