Robert Abraham

Robert Abraham was a surveyor, architect and landscape gardener active, particularly in London, England in the early-19th century. He was born in St. Pancras, London on 12 February 1775 the son of John Abraham, a builder, and his wife, Mary, née Mottersheadof.

Abraham was a pupil of the surveyor James Bowen and began his career as a successful London surveyor with his own practice. He turned to architecture during the middle years of his life, sometime after 1815.

Abraham was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. His wife Eliza (died 1818) was a talented flower-painter (daughter of botanical artist Peter Brown). When his wife died in 1818 Abraham found himself left to bring up their ten children.

Abraham is said to have worked, very reliably, in a diverse mix of styles, including that of Inigo Jones, for some of England's chief Roman Catholic familes, and often worked under the patronage of the 12th Duke of Norfolk. His perhaps best-known work is the now no longer extant county fire office at the head of Lower Regent Street, London built in 1819 (demolished 1924).

Around 1827 Abraham designed the conservatories and pagoda at Alton Towers in Stafford for the Earl of Shrewsbury.

Abraham died on 11 December 1850 at 32 York Terrace, Marylebone, Middlesex, England and was buried in Hampstead Churchyard's extension.

After his death, his practice was taken over by his son, H. R. Abraham (died 1877) who had earlier trained under his father as a pupil. Both Colvin and Peach also note G. Alexander, H. Flower, J. Lockyer, Thomas Little, T. Mackintosh, R. E. Phillips, M. J. Stutely, C. Verelst, and J. Woolley as Robert Abraham's pupils.

Sources:

Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd edition (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 47-48.

Desmond, Ray, Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists (London: Taylor & Francis, 1994), p. 2.

Peach, Annette, ‘Abraham, Robert (1775–1850)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2007 <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/54> [accessed 14 December 2007]

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