2017 sees the tercentenary of the architect James Paine (1717–1789) and there are plans to mark the occasion.
In 1745, Doncaster Corporation appointed a talented young architect named James Paine (1717–1789) to design a Mansion House to be used for ‘civic hospitality and celebrations’. At the age of 27, Paine’s career was launched and over the next 40 years, he established himself as one of the great architects of the Palladian Revival in the mid 18th Century.
Paine was much admired for his ability to design and decorate grand houses with magnificent staircases to suit the needs of the aristocracy alongside compact, manageable houses for the landed gentry. He was equally accomplished at remodelling existing houses and providing functional estate buildings or decorative temples, gazebos and bridges. Although London based for most of his career, his buildings are mainly to be found in the north of England.
In his definitive book on James Paine (published in 1988), Peter Leach provides a catalogue of Paine’s documented works, projects and attributions. Of the original 104 projects listed in the catalogue, only 52 completed or partially completed projects still survive today and only 22 of these are open to the public.
Some of Paine’s buildings are set in landscapes designed by Capability Brown. Grand houses at Thorndon Hall, Sandbeck Park and Wardour Castle. A magnificent stable block, two bridges and a mill at Chatsworth. A sublime temple and bridge at Weston Park and bridges at Chillington Park and Wallington Hall.
In 2017, the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House, in partnership with the Doncaster Civic Trust, York University and Doncaster Council, intend to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of James Paine’s birth by holding a series of architectural and cultural events at the Mansion House and by creating a James Paine website and exhibition.
About the Author: Owen Evans, Secretary to the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House