Robinson, Sir Thomas, Bt. (c.
1702–77). English amateur architect. He was a devoted disciple of Burlington's Palladianism
, and rebuilt his mansion at Rokeby, Yorks. (1725–30), to conform to the Palladian style (though it also acquired a portico
of baseless Doric
columns which must have been a very early example of the use of such an Order
). The house and grounds were an attempt to re-create Pliny
's villas in their settings, based on the Roman's descriptions. This expense, together with a somewhat extravagant lifestyle, obliged him to accept the Governorship of Barbados in 1742, where he was carried away with his love of building, erecting the Arsenal and Armoury at Pilgrim, which further financially embarrassed him. Among his works are the landscaped Park and Church (1776) at Rokeby, the west wing of Castle Howard, Yorks. (1753–9—which did little for the composition), Claydon House, Bucks (1760–c.
1780—of which one wing of Robinson's design remains), the powerful and original Gothick
gateway at Bishop Auckland Castle, Co. Durham (1760), and the Classical Church at Glynde, Sussex (1763–5). For a time Robinson was Master of Ceremonies at Ranelagh Gardens, the fashionable pleasuregarden
M. McCarthy (1987);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)