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Browne, George Washington

Browne, George Washington
Browne, George Washington
Browne, George Washington
Browne, George Washington
About the Artist
Browne, George Washington
Biography
George Washington Browne was born in Glasgow in 1853. He began his architectural career at 16 years old when he was apprenticed to Salmon Son & Ritchie also of Glasgow. With his apprenticeship completed, he undertook a move to London to work for Stevenson & Robson and later the church architect, Arthur William Blomfield. In 1877 he won the Pugin Studentship which enabled him to travel in France and Belgium. This was to have a tremendous influence on the style of his work and introduced him to the French Renaissance style that he so admired.

He finally returned to Scotland in 1879 as an assistant to the Edinburgh architect Robert Rowand Anderson, designer of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, McEwan Graduation Hall and Medical School for the University of Edinburgh. He obviously proved his worth in a short period of time as Anderson made him his partner just two years later. The practice merged with that of Hew M Wardrop in 1883, signalling what could have been a troubled period in Browne's career. A building recession led to Browne having to leave the partnership and strike out on his own. Instead of faltering however Browne's career took off with winning the competition to design Edinburgh's Central Library in 1887 and the contracts for the Messer's Redfern building on Princes Street (1891) and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (1892).

From 1895-1907 Browne formed a new partnership with John Dick Peddie which proved very successful and during this period Browne worked on the British Linen Bank (1902-5) and the Caledonian Hotel (1899-1903). He continued to work as an independent architect until 1934 as well as being the Head of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art 1914-1922 and President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1924-1933. He was knighted in 1926 and died at the age of 85 in 1939.

Browne was essentially a Scottish architect with his work covering the length of the country from Lewis down to Kirkcudbrightshire. He did however undertake projects in London, Dublin, Cardiff and Leeds. When surveying the body of Browne's work its breadth is incredible. He did not restrict himself to any particular type or style of architecture; he was at home as much with domestic, commercial, religious and public buildings. His designs also covered all manner of styles including Gothic; Jacobean; Dutch Baroque; French Renaissance; neo-classical and Queen Anne.
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