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Mr Charles Robert Cockerell

Who was Sir Charles Robert Cockerell?

Sir Charles Robert Cockerell (1788–1863) was a prominent British architect, archaeologist, and writer, known for his significant contributions to Neoclassical architecture and his pioneering work in the field of classical archaeology. Born on April 27, 1788, in London, England, he was the son of the distinguished English sculptor Samuel Pepys Cockerell.

Life and Work

His early education was at the Royal Academy Schools, where he received training in architecture and design. He later traveled extensively throughout Europe, studying classical architecture and art, particularly in Italy and Greece, which deeply influenced his architectural style.

In 1810, Cockerell began his architectural career by working under the renowned architect John Soane. He quickly gained recognition for his talent and attention to detail, which led to numerous commissions. One of his notable early works is the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, completed in 1845, which is admired for its Neoclassical design.

Cockerell's interest in classical antiquity extended beyond architecture. He was an avid collector of Greek and Roman antiquities and played a crucial role in the field of classical archaeology. His excavations at the Temple of Apollo in Bassae, Greece, between 1811 and 1812, brought to light the Bassae Frieze, a significant ancient Greek sculpture now housed in the British Museum.

Throughout his career, Cockerell remained deeply engaged in scholarly pursuits, publishing several works on architecture and archaeology. His writings, including "Travels in Southern Europe and the Levant" (1810) and "Illustrations of the Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius at Aegina" (1860), are esteemed for their insights into classical architecture and ancient civilizations.

In addition to his architectural and scholarly endeavors, Cockerell was actively involved in various professional organizations. He served as President of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1860 until his death in 1863, leaving behind a legacy of architectural excellence and a profound impact on the study of classical antiquity.

Cockerell's contributions to architecture and archaeology continue to be celebrated and studied today. His meticulous approach to design and his passion for classical antiquity have left an indelible mark on both fields, inspiring generations of architects and scholars.


  1. Curl, James Stevens. "A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture." Oxford University Press, 2006.
  2. Summerson, John. "Cockerell, Sir Charles Robert." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  3. Watkin, David. "A History of Western Architecture." Laurence King Publishing, 2015.

Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd edition (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 256-262.

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