Thomas Leverton Donaldson

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Thomas Leverton Donaldson (19 October 1795 1 August 1885) was a British architect, notable as a pioneer in architectural education, as a co-founder and President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a winner of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Royal Institute of British Architects professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally, founded for the advancement of architecture under its charter granted in 1837 and Supplemental Charter granted in 1971.

Royal Gold Medal Royal Institute of British Architects award

The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual's or group's substantial contribution to international architecture. It is given for a distinguished body of work rather than for one building, and is therefore not awarded for merely being currently fashionable.


Thomas Leverton Donaldson Thomas Leverton Donaldson. Photograph by Maull & Polyblank. Wellcome V0026303.jpg
Thomas Leverton Donaldson


The church of Holy Trinity, Brompton Holy Trinity Brompton-2.jpg
The church of Holy Trinity, Brompton
Busbridge Church of Gothic Revival style in Godalming, United Kingdom. Dedication in 1867. Busbridge Church (2012).jpg
Busbridge Church of Gothic Revival style in Godalming, United Kingdom. Dedication in 1867.

Donaldson was born in Bloomsbury Square, London, the eldest son of architect, James Donaldson. His maternal uncle was Thomas Leverton (1743–1824), [1] a distinguished architect sometimes credited with the south range of Bedford Square in London. [2]

Bloomsbury Square garden square in Holborn, Camden, London

Bloomsbury Square is a garden square in Holborn, Camden, London. Developed in the late 17th century, it was initially known as Southampton Square and was one of the earliest London squares. By the early 19th century, Bedford House along the north of the square had been demolished and replaced with terraced housing designed by James Burton.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Thomas Leverton was an English architect.

Donaldson travelled overseas after leaving school, obtaining a clerical job with a merchant on the Cape of Good Hope before volunteering for an expedition to attack the French-controlled island of Mauritius. Once back in London, he was employed in his father's office, before visiting Italy and Greece to broaden his experience. He designed 4 Hamilton Place for the Earl of Lucan. His first significant work was the church of Holy Trinity in South Kensington, London (built 1826-1829). [3]

Cape of Good Hope Headland of Cape Peninsula, South Africa

The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.

Mauritius Island nation in the Indian Ocean

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The main Island of Mauritius is located about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The Republic of Mauritius also includes the islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon. The capital and largest city Port Louis is located on the main island of Mauritius.

4 Hamilton Place building in Mayfair, London

4 Hamilton Place is a Grade II listed building in Mayfair, London. It is used as a conference centre and wedding venue, located on the north-east edge of Hyde Park Corner, with the nearest access being Hyde Park Corner Underground station. Since 1939 it has been the headquarters of The Royal Aeronautical Society. The venue is also part of The Westminster Collection, a selection of Westminster's finest venues.

With Jacques Ignace Hittorff and Charles Robert Cockerell, Donaldson 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).

Jacques Ignace Hittorff French architect

Jacques Ignace Hittorff or, in German, Jakob Ignaz Hittorff was a German-born French architect who combined advanced structural use of new materials, notably cast iron, with conservative Beaux-Arts classicism in a career that spanned the decades from the Restoration to the Second Empire.

Charles Robert Cockerell English architect, archaeologist, and writer

Charles Robert Cockerell was an English architect, archaeologist, and writer.

Elgin Marbles art collection

The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, are a collection of Classical Greek marble sculptures made under the supervision of the architect and sculptor Phidias and his assistants. They were originally part of the temple of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens.

Donaldson reworked substantial sections of the Wilkins building at University College London (UCL), and designed its Flaxman Gallery and library buildings. He also designed All Saints Church in Gordon Street, London, and was involved with the Great Exhibition of 1851.

William Wilkins was an English architect, classical scholar and archaeologist. He designed the National Gallery and University College London, and buildings for several Cambridge colleges.

University College London, which has operated under the official name of UCL since 2005, is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. It is a constituent college of the federal University of London, and is the third largest university in the United Kingdom by total enrolment, and the largest by postgraduate enrolment.

Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations or The Great Exhibition, an international exhibition, took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first in a series of World's Fairs, exhibitions of culture and industry that became popular in the 19th century, and it was a much anticipated event. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and by Prince Albert, husband of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria. Famous people of the time attended, including Charles Darwin, Samuel Colt, members of the Orléanist Royal Family and the writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson and William Makepeace Thackeray.

Donaldson pioneered the academic study of architecture and in 1841 became the first Professor of Architecture at University College London - a post he retained until 1865. He was also a co-founder of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1834, [4] and continued as its honorary secretary until 1839, then as its foreign secretary for a further twenty years. He designed the institute's Mycenean lions medal and the motto ‘Usui civium, decori urbium'. [5] He was awarded the institute's royal gold medal in 1851 and was its president from 1863 to 1864. [6] He was described by the Prince of Wales in 1879 as the father of the Institute and of the profession'. [7]

Architecture The product and the process of planning, designing and constructing buildings and other structures.

Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.

Donaldson died in Upper Bedford Place, Bloomsbury, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

His nephew was the artist Andrew Brown Donaldson.

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  1. Thomas Leverton's memorial at Waltham Abbey, Essex, bears the inscription "T.Leverton Donaldson, Nephew And Godson, Arc't." (The Memorial Inscriptions in the Church of the Holy Cross and Saint Lawrence at Waltham Abbey, Waltham Abbey Historical Society, Millennium Project No. 22, additions and corrections slip, 2009.)
  2. Holy Trinity, Brompton
  3. Port, M.H. "Founders of the Royal Institute of British Architects (act. 1834–1835)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. RIBA lions medal and motto
  5. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,Oxford University Press, 2004. Accessed 10 Feb 2014.
  6. Art UK