Dance Architecture

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 1720 to 1825
Location: Englandmap
Surname/tag: England, Architects
Profile manager: Jeremy Stroud private message [send private message]
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The Free Space Page is for details & images relating to the Dance family of London and the buildings/structures they had built, starting first with Giles Dance (Dance-582) a stonemason, then his son George Dance the elder (Dance-571) and his son George Dance the younger (Dance-570), both architects

Giles Dance, mason 1670-1751


George Dance the elder, architect 1695-1768


George Dance the younger, architect 1741-1825

In April 1763 he won the Gold Medal from the Accademia di Parma for his neoclassical architectural design [see Figs 19, 20 on pages 56, 57 of [1]]. During June 1764 they were in Naples, later that year back in Rome. On 21 December 1764 they were both elected to the Accademia di San Luca. On 16 February 1765 he dined with the painter Angelica Kauffman and James Boswell. A few weeks later the brothers left Rome to return to London.

Cranbury House
1776-1781 he remodelled Cranbury House, Hampshire: for Lady Dummer Harriet (Bisshop) Holland, then wife of Thomas Dummer, who in 1783 became wife of his brother Nathaniel Dance[2] [3]

The house was extensively modified, adding a neo-classical Ballroom (1776–81) and a starfish vault

1777-1791 he designed Finsbury Square, a speculative development of about 16 acres in Moorfields, adjoining the North side of the old London Wall, across the road from where he lived and worked at the corner of Criswell Street [4]. It took 14 years to complete and is alleged to be the first public place in London to be lit by gas. It had a mixed reception due its proximity to Bedlam and St Luke’s Hospital (for lunatics); in addition, the previous marshy area, often flooded by a blocked Walbrook river, had become known for salubrious furtive meetings of Mollies [5]. It became the future home of non-conformist preaching, e.g. by John Wesley Concerning Finsbury Sq and Circus (below 1802)see also [6] and for maps depicting the various areas and street see [7]

Landsdowne House, gallery
1786 he remodelled Lansdowne House, off the South side of Berkeley Square, Mayfair, owned by William (FitzMaurice) Petty (later Prime Minister): the Gallery and library were altered. The house remains, in part, at the new address of 9 Fitzmaurice Place [8][9] [10] (For more details on Lansdowne House see [11])

1788 he designed the Shakespeare Art Gallery at 52 Pall Mall for Alderman John Boydell, opening in June 1789. Boydell narrowly avoided bankruptcy from the exorbitant cost. [12]

1789 he planned a proposed new housing project for Camden Town for Lord Camden; see Fig.2.2 page 27 of [13]. The plans were rejected as being too expensive during times of uncertainty of the French Revolution and with the real possibility of going to war with France

1790 in St Anne's church Kew he designed the monument to Jeremiah Meyer (see [14] [15]

St Bartholomew the less

1793 the church of St Bartholomew the Less, a former chapel within the precincts of Bart’s Hospital, was rebuilt according to his plans [16]

1794 fellow RA [Joseph] Farington notes in his diary dated 11 Nov that George Dance the younger walked in the City procession as Master of the [Merchant] Taylors Company [17] [18]

1796 he designed the docks at Rotherhithe and the Isle of Dogs on the River Thames between London Bridge and Blackwall Reach [19] and in the City of London. Plans of proposed floating docks for lighters, proposed Custom House and other improvements between Fish Street Hill and Tower Hill. [20]

George Washington Mausoleum design
1800 at the request of Benjamin West, president of the Royal Academy, he designed and made sketeches for a monument to General George Washinghton (who died 14 Dec 1799); the mausoleum intended for Washington D.C. was never executed.

Rectory St George in the East, Stepney

1802 St George in the East, Shadwell, Stepney (a Hawksmoor design): alterations to the shabby Rectory at the behest of Reverend Robert Farington, rector of the parish since 1802 & brother of Joseph Farington R.A.. Completed 1804. [21]

Stratton Park, Hampshire ca.1930

1803 he designed Stratton Park, Micheldever, Hampshire (demolished 1963 apart from the Greek Doric portico) [22]

1803 he designed a house at 33 Hill Street, Mayfair (which still stands) [23]

Royal Theatre Bath

1804 he designed the Theatre Royal, Bath (which burnt down in 1863; although the main façade to Beaufort Square survives)

1804-1806 he was employed by Alexander Stewart, later first Marquess of Londonderry, to design what is now the west wing of the mansion of Mount Stewart House, County Down, Ireland

1805-1813 he designed the new building for the Royal College of Surgeons at 41 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London [24]

Royal College of Surgeons 1813
Royal College of Surgeons, Interior 1911

1806 he designed St. Mary's Church, Micheldever and a cottage in the village of nearby East Stratton, Hampshire

143 Picadilly, entrance hall and staircase
1807 he constructed 143 Piccadilly, London a house for his brother Nathaniel Dance [25]

Whitecross Street Debtor's Prison
1808-1814 (about) he designed Whitecross Street Prison for 400 debtors' built in about 1813–15 to ease overcrowding at Newgate Prison. After transfer of the prisoners to the newly built Holloway Prison, it closed in 1870 (since demolished) [26]

Laxton Hall, lantern

1811 (year uncertain) Laxton Hall, Laxton, Northamptonshire: he designed a new Entrance Hall, staircase and balustrade with transformation of Repton's 1808 circular 'skylight' of 15 ft diameter into the present lantern [27] [28] [for drawing see also [29]]

1814-1815 Kidbrooke House, Forest Row, East Sussex: he designed alterations (which partly survive as the Principal Building of Michael Hall School [30] [31]). [32]

Camden Place, Chislehurst
Late 18th C until very early 19th C {estimate}: Camden Place, Chislehurst, Bromley, Kent. He remodelled the Mixed lounge, the Oval Room, the Office and the beautiful oak panelled Entrance hall with its two secret doors [33] (survives as Chislehurst Golf Club).

London Bridge
Several of his notable designs, such as the Port of London warehouses, a double bridge over the Thames to replace London Bridge (cost estimate of £185,950) [34] and a grand southern approach to St Paul's Cathedral, remained on the drawing board [35]. As Clerk of the Works, he would have had to devote vast amounts of his time on the daily administration of numerous petty tasks and an endless stream of complaints, all of which taken together must have frustrated and thwarted his creative talents as an architect from producing yet more designs & construction. There is no contemporary record setting out his architectural philosophy and as he never gave a single lecture at the Royal Academy, any description of his broad architectural style will inevitably involve some supposition. A standard reference work describing his life and career can be found in the book: George Dance, Architect 1741-1825 by Dorothy Stroud, published by Faber and Faber 1971.


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