James Smith and Rome

Gonzalez-Longo, Cristina (2013) James Smith and Rome. Architectural Heritage, 23 (1). pp. 75-96. ISSN 1350-7524

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Abstract

The architecture of James Smith (c.1645–1731) has been misunderstood in the obsessive search for Palladianism and his direct knowledge of Roman architecture and culture has been largely overlooked. His importance was well recognised by his contemporaries: Colen Campbell called him ‘The most experienced architect of that kingdom’ (Vitruvius Britannicus, Vol. II, 1717). After four years at the Scots College and the Collegio Romano in Rome, he rose very quickly to become the King's Surveyor and the leading architect in Scotland. This paper considers Smith's education and discusses the significance of his Roman experience not only for his own architecture but also, through his influence, for his contemporaries, for the next generation of Scottish architects and beyond.