Burlington House

Piccadilly frontage of Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, the home of the Royal Academy of Arts and several important learned institutions. Burlington House was originally designed by Sir John Denham, 1664-5, and completed after he sold it by Hugh May. Further work was done early in the eighteenth century, first by James Gibbs, who built "a beautiful curved colonnade around the sides of the forecourt," and then by Colen Campbell, who provided the first gateway through to the forecourt, c. 1717-20. After the government bought the house in 1854, both Gibbs's colonnade and Campbell's gateway were replaced by the firm of (Robert Robertson) Banks and (Charles) Barry (Jnr) in 1868-73.

The main building, which now houses the Royal Academy's galleries, lies behind this frontage and is accessed through the triple archway. Sydney Smirke had been appointed the Royal Academy's architect in 1864, and while the forecourt buildings were still rising began adding a further storey to the main building, to harmonise with them and also to provide Diploma Galleries for the Royal Academy. For more details on his work on that part of the complex, see the Royal Academy. The other institutions currently housed in the forecourt buildings are the Society of Antiquaries, the Linnaean Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Geological Society and the Royal Astronomical Society.

Photograph and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Other Views and Related Material


Sheppard, F. H. W. (Gen. Ed), "Burlington House."Survey of England, Vols. 31 and 32: St James, Westminster, Part 2 (1983): 390-429. Viewed 26 May 2009. Available offsite here

Weinreb, Ben, et al, eds. The London Encyclopaedia. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan, 2008.

Last modified 22 July 2012