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Charles Robert Cockerell (portrait by Ingres, 1817)
The main entrance to the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Charles Robert Cockerell (1788–1863) was an English architect, archaeologist, and writer. Early in his life, he trained in the architectural practice of his father, Samuel Pepys Cockerell. One of his earliest jobs found Cockerell assisting Robert Smirke in rebuilding the Covent Garden Theatre (a forerunner of today's Royal Opera House). He set up his own practice in 1817 and became relatively successful, winning the first Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1848 and becoming president of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1860.

As an archaeologist, Cockerell is remembered for removing the reliefs from the temple of Apollo at Bassae, near Phigalia, which are now in the British Museum. Replicas of these reliefs were included in the frieze of the library of the Travellers Club, of which Charles Robert Cockerell was a founding committee member in 1819.

With Jacques Ignace Hittorff and Thomas Leverton Donaldson, Cockerell was also a member of the committee formed in 1836 to determine whether the Elgin Marbles and other Greek statuary in the British Museum had originally been coloured (see Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects for 1842).

The Royal Academy of Arts composed a brief commemorative biography of Cockerell, including the following sentiment which speaks to his great work as a student of architecture:

"At the heart of Cockerell's emotional experience of the power of the antique to fire the imagination lay an extraordinary visual sensitivity to the mass and volume of the components of architecture, which for him were never mere abstract, weightless forms or quotations borrowed from the past, but acted together as a constantly renewable expression of man's innate need to create beauty on earth."

His second son Frederick Pepys Cockerell also became an architect.

Notable buildings

The St David's Building at the University of Wales, Lampeter


  1. ^ Walter Ison (1978). The Georgian buildings of Bristol. Kingsmead Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0901571881.  
  2. ^ Walter Ison (1978). The Georgian buildings of Bristol. Kingsmead Press. p. 33. ISBN 0901571881.  

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHARLES ROBERT COCKERELL (1788-1863), British architect, was born in London on the 28th of April 1788. After a preliminary training in his profession, he went abroad in 1810 and studied the great architectural remains of Greece, Italy and Asia Minor. At Aegina, Phigalia and other places of interest, he conducted excavations on a large scale, enriching the British Museum with many fine fragments, and adding several valuable monographs to the literature of archaeology. Elected in 1829 an associate of the Royal Academy, he became a full member in 1836, and in 1839 he was appointed professor of architecture. On Sir John Soane's death in 1837 Cockerell was appointed architect of the Bank of England, and carried out the alterations that were judged to be necessary in that building. In addition to branch banks at Liverpool and Manchester he erected in 1840 the new library at Cambridge, and in 1845 the university galleries at Oxford, as well as the Sun and the Westminster Fire Offices in Bartholomew Lane and in the Strand; and he was joint architect of the London & Westminster Bank, Lothbury, with Sir W. Tite. On the death of Henry Lonsdale Elmes in 1847, Cockerell was selected to finish the St George's Hall, Liverpool. Cockerell's best conceptions were those inspired by classic models; his essays in the Gothic - the college at Lampeter, for instance, and the chapel at Harrow - are by no means so successful. His thorough knowledge of Gothic art, however, can be seen from his writings, On the Iconography of Wells Cathedral, and On the Sculptures of Lincoln and Exeter Cathedrals. In his Tribute to the Memory of Sir Christopher Wren (1838) he published an interesting collection of the whole of Wren's works drawn to one scale.

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