Paine, James

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Paine, James (1717–89). English architect. He established himself in Burlington's circle as the Clerk of Works at Nostell Priory, Yorks. (c.1737–50), a large Palladian house by James Moyser (c.1693–1753) probably based on designs by Colen Campbell. In the 1750s Paine succeeded to the practice of Daniel Garrett and designed or made alterations to a great number of country-houses. It was said that he and Sir Robert Taylor ‘nearly divided the practice’ of architecture between them, for they had few rivals until Robert Adam appeared on the scene. His architecture was essentially Palladian in that he planned competent, sensible villas consisting of a central building (often containing a fine stair) with wings. At Kedleston Hall, Derbys. (1759–60), he superseded Matthew Brettingham (who built the east wing) and designed a great central block connected to the wings by quadrants. His greatest innovation was his proposal for a reconstruction of a Vitruvian ‘Egyptian’ colonnaded hall behind the Corinthian portico. This would lead to a symmetrically disposed staircase beyond which was a circular saloon projecting from the south front like a Roman round temple; however, Adam (who, in turn, superseded him) moved the stair to one side and placed a rotunda in a square block faced on the south front by a triumphal arch. Paine was no Neoclassicist: he was scornful of the pursuit of the Antique, felt foreign travel to be less valuable than practical experience, and considered Greek buildings to be ‘despicable ruins’. At Wardour Castle, Wilts. (1770–6), however, he designed a fine staircase under a Pantheon-like dome. Other works include Sandbeck Park, Maltby, Yorks. (1763–8), and Thorndon Hall, Essex (1764–70). In interior decoration he was one of the first in England to be attracted to Rococo forms. Much of his work was illustrated in his Plans, Elevations, and Sections of Noblemen and Gentlemen's Houses (two volumes, 1767 and 1783). From the 1770s his practice declined as the Adam star rose, and despite his fear of foreign travel, died in France.


Colvin (1995);
J. Curl (2002a);
E. Harris (1990);
Leach (1988);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Jane Turner (1996)