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Cameron, Charles

Cameron, Charles (1745–1812). London-born architect of Scots ancestry whose importance lies in his accomplished and refined Neo-Classicism and in his introduction to Russia of the Greek Revival style and the naturalistic English landscape-garden. He was apprenticed to his father in 1760 before becoming a pupil of Isaac Ware. On the latter's death in 1766 Cameron determined to realize Ware's project for a new edition of Burlington's Fabbriche Antiche (Ancient Buildings—1730), and went to Rome to correct and finish the unsatisfactory drawings of Roman thermae by Palladio which Burlington had used. In 1772 he published The Baths of the Romans Explained and Illustrated, with the Restorations of Palladio Corrected and Improved, with texts in French and English. An important source for Neo-Classical ornament, it went into further editions in 1774 and 1775.

At some time in the 1770s he may have been in Ireland, but by 1779 he was Architect to the Empress Catherine of Russia (1762–96), for whom he made many additions to the Palace of Tsarskoe Selo, near St Petersburg (1779–85), including the colonnaded Cameron Gallery, the Cold Baths, the Agate Pavilion, the private apartments, and the Church of St Sophia, where he demonstrated his skill as a designer of refined Neo-Classical interiors, among the most beautiful of their kind and date in Europe. His use of colour is especially felicitous: in the Agate Pavilion, for example, the red agate columns with gilt-bronze capitals set against a background of green jasper walls create a stunningly opulent effect. In 1782–5 he designed and built the Palace at Pavlovsk for the Grand Duke Paul as well as many other buildings there, including the theatre, townhall, and the temples in the English Park. The circular Doric Temple of Friendship (c.1780) is an important pioneering exemplar of the Greek Revival. Also in the 1780s he produced various designs for the Imperial Palace at Bakhtchi-Serai in the Crimea, including a triumphal arch, a drawing of which, by John Linnell Bond (1764–1837), was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1793 by.

Cameron fell from favour after Catherine's death (1796), and was superseded as Chief Architect to the Imperial Court by his pupil Vincenzo Brenna. However, he remained in Russia, and worked for several patrons, including the Razumovskys at Baturin, Ukraine (1799–1802). In 1800 he again was working at Pavlovsk, where he designed the Ionic Pavilion of the Three Graces. In 1803 he was appointed Architect to the Admiralty and designed various buildings at the Imperial naval-base of Kronstadt, including the barracks and hospital (c.1802–5).

In many ways his compositions are essentially Palladian, but his precise knowledge of the Antique sources of Neo-Classicism led him (like Adam) to design details and furnishings for his buildings.


C. Cameron (1772);
Colvin (1995);
Council of Europe (1972);
Kuchumov (1976);
Loukomski (1943);
T. Rice & and Tait (1967–8);
D. Shvidkovsky (1996);
Jane Turner (1996);
Tait (ed.) (1967)

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