John Pollard Seddon Biography

J P Seddon: A Versatile Architect Influenced by the Gothic Revival

John Pollard Seddon, born in 1827 into a family of creatives, was influenced by the philosophy of Gothic Revival and the works of John Ruskin, despite training under the more neo-classical architect Thomas Donaldson.

Seddon's Architectural Partnerships and Achievements

From 1852-63, Seddon formed a partnership with John Pritchard, focusing on church restorations, notably Llandaff Cathedral. This work established his reputation, leading to the design of the University College, Aberystwyth (1864-86), and the promotion of Britain's first bungalows. Seddon's designs included locations in Chigwell Row, Essex; Great Yarmouth; Ayot St Peter, Hertfordshire; St Mary’s Church in Ullenhall; and the Vicarage and Conservatory winter garden at Barrells Hall.

A Diverse Portfolio Beyond Architecture

Seddon's expertise extended beyond architecture into stained glass, metalwork, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative arts. His brother, Thomas Seddon, had strong connections with the Pre-Raphaelites, influencing J.P. Seddon's acquaintance with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown, whom he commissioned for interior work. A notable collaboration resulted in the 'King Rene’s Honeymoon Cabinet,' currently in the V&A museum, combining Seddon’s design with Pre-Raphaelite artists' panels.

Later Career and Association with CFA Voysey

In 1904, a twenty-year partnership with John Coates Carter ended, leading to a grand commission for an addition to Westminster Abbey – Imperial Monumental Halls with a 168-meter tower. Unfortunately, due to funding issues, this project never materialized. Notably, architect CFA Voysey was one of Seddon’s pupils between 1874-79.

Seddon praised Gothic Architecture as 'most scientific and beautiful, and most in accordance with common sense' (Building News, 1858).

Researched and written by Tony Geering & Kristy Campbell.

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