Thomas Rawlins (sculptor)

Last updated

Thomas Rawlins
Plate XXXVIII - Ville de Lyon - Familiar Architecture by - Thomas Rawlins 1789.png
Illustration from Rawlins' pattern book,
Familiar Architecture
Died(1789-03-18)18 March 1789
OccupationSculptor, architect, author
Known forFunary Monuments
Notable work
Monument for Sir Thomas Churchman at St Giles' Church, Norwich

Thomas Rawlins (1727–1789) was an English sculptor, architect and architectural author, who specialized in funerary monuments.



Thomas Rawlins was the son of a Norwich worsted weaver. He was trained by a London sculptor and ran a successful business as a funerary monument mason in Norwich from circa 1743–81, specialising in coloured marbles. In 1753 he advertised himself as, a carver and mason at Duke's Palace Yard, Norwich of monuments and chimney pieces both ancient and modern. [1] [2]

Ranking high as a sculptor in the view of art historian Nicholas Pevsner, Rawlins' style spans from late Baroque Rococo to Neoclassical. This stylistic change, according to Pevsner, is illustrated by two monuments in St Andrew's Church, Norwich, the first to John Custance (circa 1756) the second to Richard Dennison (circa 1767). [3] Later monuments to William Wilcocks (1714–1770) in St Swithin's (now Norwich Arts Centre), and Robert Rushbrook (1705–81) in Saint John the Baptist, Maddermarket, Norwich, display a great awareness of neo-classical motifs. His monument for Sir Thomas Churchman at St Giles' Church, Norwich however, is considered to be his finest work. It features a medallion portrait and a sarcophagus, which is decorated with allegorical figures representing Vanity, Time, and Judgement, along with an Egyptian pyramid in construction.

Rawlins also practised as an architect. His designs, like his contemporary Thomas Ivory, architect of the Octagon Chapel (1756), were Neo-Palladian in style. He competed for the Royal Exchange (City Hall, Dublin) in 1769, and exhibited designs at the Society of Artists in 1767, 1769 and 1770 and at the Royal Academy in 1773, 1774 and 1776.

In 1765 the Ipswich Journal advertised a proposed work on architecture by Rawlins and in 1768 he published a pattern book, Familiar Architecture: or Original Designs of Houses for Gentlemen and Tradesmen; Parsonages; Summer Retreats; Banqueting-Rooms; and Churches. Further editions of Rawlins' pattern book were issued in 1789 and 1795, and in contemporary times it has been called influential and practical. [4] Archer (2005) suggests that Rawlins' book was seeking to address a bourgeois provincial, rather than an elite metropolitan, clientele, and notes his emphasis on the need for flexibility on questions of proportion so as to fit buildings to the inclinations of their owners. [5]

His only documented architectural works are the entrance to St. Andrew's and Blackfriars' Hall, Norwich in 1774, (subsequently rebuilt) and Weston House completed in 1781 for John Custance at Weston Longville. [4] [6] The Blackfriars entrance was in a Gothic style, and housed Norwich Library. [7] The house was described by one critic as a "dull five-by-five bay two-and-a-half-story house" [8] it later became the residence of Parson James Woodforde, and was demolished in 1926. In 1772 his reinforcement with ironwork of the south aisle of Saint John the Baptist at Maddermarket became the subject of satirical verses. [9] Nonetheless, Rawlins is commemorated by a stone in the floor of the church, describing him simply as an architect who died on 18 March 1789. [10]


Related Research Articles

John Brown (1805–1876) was a 19th-century architect working in Norwich, in the county of Norfolk, England. His buildings include churches and workhouses.

Joseph Bonomi the Elder

Joseph Bonomi the Elder was an Italian architect and draughtsman who spent most of his career in England where he became a successful designer of country houses.

Richard Cromwell Carpenter was an English architect. He is chiefly remembered as an ecclesiastical and tractarian architect working in the Gothic style.

Weston Park

Weston Park is a country house in Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire, England, set in more than 1,000 acres (400 ha) of park landscaped by Capability Brown. The park is located 10 miles (16 km) north-west of Wolverhampton, and 8 miles (13 km) north-east of Telford, close to the border with Shropshire. The 17th-century Hall is a Grade I listed building and several other features of the estate, such as the Orangery and the Stable block, are separately listed as Grade II.

James Paine (architect)

James Paine (1717–1789) was an English architect.

Samuel Sanders Teulon was a 19th-century English Gothic Revival architect, noted for his use of polychrome brickwork and the complex planning of his buildings.

John Carr (architect) British architect

John Carr (1723–1807) was a prolific English architect, best known for Buxton Crescent in Derbyshire and Harewood House in West Yorkshire. Much of his work was in the Palladian style. In his day he was considered to be the leading architect in the north of England.

Ewan Christian

Ewan Christian (1814–95) was a British architect. He is most notable for the restorations of Southwell Minster and Carlisle Cathedral, and the design of the National Portrait Gallery. He was Architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from 1851 to 1895. Christian was elected A RIBA in 1840, FRIBA in 1850, RIBA President 1884–86 and was awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 1887.

William Paty was a British surveyor, architect and mason working mainly in Bristol. He was appointed City Surveyor in 1788. He worked with his father Thomas Paty and brother John Paty.

John Snetzler

John Snetzler was an organ builder of Swiss origin, who worked mostly in England. Born in Schaffhausen in 1710, he trained with the firm of Egedacher in Passau and came to London about 1741. When he retired in 1781, his business continued and ended up with Thomas Elliot. Snetzler died in Schaffhausen on 28 September 1785.

Saint John the Baptist, Maddermarket, Norwich Church in Norfolk, England

The Church of St John the Baptist, Maddermarket, is a redundant Anglican church in the city of Norwich, Norfolk, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building, and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Richard Phipson

Richard Makilwaine Phipson (1827–1884) was an English architect. As diocesan architect for the Anglican Diocese of Norwich, he was responsible for renovating almost 100 churches in East Anglia.

Thomas Ivory (1709–1779) was an English builder and architect, active in Norwich.

Richard Westmacott (1747–1808) was an 18th-century monumental sculptor and the beginning of a dynasty of one of Britain's most important sculpting families. He also specialised in fireplace design for England's grand country houses.

John Francis Moore (sculptor)

John Francis Moore was a sculptor who was active in late 18th century Britain. His works include two memorials in Westminster Abbey.

St Giles Church, Norwich Church in Norfolk, England

St Giles' Church, Norwich is a Grade I listed parish church in the Church of England in Norwich.

St Andrews Church, Norwich Church in Norfolk, England

St Andrew's Church, Norwich is a Grade I listed medieval building in Norwich.

William Sands, senior

William Sands, senior, was an English architect and mason who worked in Spalding, Lincolnshire. He was master of the Freemason’s Lodge and a member of the Spalding Gentlemen's Society. He appears to have been an architect who supplied plans for houses for other craftsmen to construct. Sands was also a monumental mason. Examples of his work can be seen in Croyland Abbey and the church at Weston, Lincolnshire. His architectural practice was continued by his son William Sands, junior.

St Andrews Church, Weston-under-Lizard Church in Staffordshire, England

The Church of St Andrew, Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire is a Grade I listed Anglican church. Its origins are medieval, but it was largely rebuilt in the very early 18th century by Elizabeth Wilbraham of Weston Park, and restored in the 19th century, firstly by George Edmund Street and then by Ewan Christian. It remains a functioning parish church in the Diocese of Lichfield.


  1. Norwich Mercury, 29 September 1753
  2. Norwich Mercury, 15 May 1762
  3. Pevsner, Nikolas; Wilson, Bill (1976). The Buildings of England: North-East Norfolk & Norwich. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN   014071023X.
  4. 1 2 "British Small Towns Project: Appendix 2: How the classical style spread". Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester. University of Leicester. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  5. Archer, John (2005). Architecture and Suburbia: From English Villa to American Dream House, 1690–2000. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 22–23.
  6. "Site of Weston House". Norfolk Heritage Explorer. Norfolk County Council. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  7. Crouse, J. (1781). The History and Antiquities of the County of Norfolk: Volume X: containing the City and County of Norwich. Norfolk: M. Booth, Bookseller.
  8. Wilson, Richard; Mackley, Alan (2000). Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House, 1660–1880. Hambledon and London. p. 58. ISBN   1-85285-252-6.
  9. Norfolk Chronicle 8 August 1772
  10. Norwich Mercury, 21 March 1789