Matthew Brettingham

Matthew Brettingham

Matthew Brettingham

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<!--An oil portrait on canvas of Matthew Brettingham the Elder holding a drawing of Kent's Triumphal Arch, Holkham Hall, was painted by John Theodore Heins in 1749. It was bequeathed by Rupert Gunnis to the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1965.-->

Matthew Brettingham (1699 &ndash; 19 August 1769), sometimes called Matthew Brettingham the Elder, was an 18th-century Englishman who rose from humble origins to supervise the construction of Holkham Hall, and eventually became one of the country's better-known architects of his generation. Much of his principal work has since been demolished, particularly his work in London, where he revolutionised the design of the grand townhouse. As a result he is often overlooked today, remembered principally for his Palladian remodelling of numerous country houses, many of them situated in the East Anglia area of Britain. As Brettingham neared the pinnacle of his career, Palladianism began to fall out of fashion and neoclassicism was introduced, championed by the young Robert Adam.

Early life

Brettingham was born in 1699, the second son of Launcelot Brettingham (1664–1727), a bricklayer or stonemason from Norwich, the county town of Norfolk, England. He married Martha Bunn (c. 1697–1783) at St. Augustine's Church, Norwich, on 17 May 1721 and they had nine children together.

His early life is little documented, and one of the earliest recorded references to him is in...
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