(1535–1614) was an English architect
. Smythson designed a number of notable houses during the Elizabethan
era. Little is known about his birth and upbringing—his first mention in historical records comes in 1556, when he was stonemason
for the house at Longleat
, built by Sir John Thynne
(c. 1512-1580). He later designed Hardwick Hall
, Wollaton Hall
, Burghley House
, Burton Agnes Hall
, and other significant projects. Historically, a number of other Elizabethan houses, such as Gawthorpe Hall
have been attributed to him on stylistic grounds.
In Britain at this time, the profession of architect was in its most embryonic stage of development. Smythson was trained as a stonemason, and by the 1560 was travelling England as a master mason leading his own team of masons. In 1568 he moved from London to Wiltshire to commence work on the new house at Longleat for Sir John Thynne, he worked there for almost eighteen years, carving personally much of the external detail, and he is believed to have had a strong influence on the overall design of the building. In 1580 he moved to his next project—Wollaton Hall. At Wollaton he was clearly more a "surveyor" (the then term for an architect) than a stonemason, and was in charge of overall construction.Mark Girouard
, Hardwick Hall
, The National Trust, 2006. ISBN 1-84359-217-7
Smythson's style was more than fusion of influences; although Renaissance
, especially Sebastiano......