Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.
John Peter Gandy
1787 – 2 March 1850
John Peter Gandy was the youngest of the ten children of Thomas Gandy (d. 1814) and his wife, Sophia, née Adams. His older brothers included the painter Joseph Michael Gandy ARA (1771–1843) and the architect Michael Gandy (bap. 1773, d. 1862). Their father Thomas worked at White’s Club, St James’s, London.
In 1805 John Peter Gandy was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools, where he was awarded their silver medal in 1806. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1805 and 1833. His early exhibits included “A Design for the Royal Academy” (1807) and two drawings, “An Ancient City” and “The Environs of an Ancient City” (1810).
He was a pupil of James Wyatt from 1805 to 1808 and, when he left Wyatt’s office, he took a job at the Barrack Office. In 1810 his was the winning design for a new Bethlem Hospital, though it was never built. He was granted leave from the Barrack Office from 1811 to 1813 to accompany Sir William Gell as his architectural draughtsman on an expedition to Greece on behalf of the Society of Dilettanti. The write-up of the trip was published in 1817 as The Unedited Antiquities of Attica, and in 1840 as the third volume of Antiquities of Ionia, edited by William Wilkins. Gell and Gandy also published Pompeiana (1817–19), which came to be the standard work on the excavations at Pompeii.
Gandy was elected a member of the Society of Dilettanti in 1830 and then began establishing himself as an architect. To begin with he collaborated with William Wilkins on works including an abortive 1817 design for a 280-foot tower commemorating the battle of Waterloo, intended for Portland Place, the plan fell through due to an economic recession; the United University Club, Pall Mall from 1822–26; and on University College London, for which his designs were runner-up to Wilkins’s, which Gandy then assisted Wilkins to construct.
Gandy’s other London buildings included the Greek Revival St Mark’s Church, North Audley Street (1825–8), and Exeter Hall, in The Strand (1830–31). He remodelled the courtyard of Burghley House, Northamptonshire (1828) and made alterations at Shrubland Park, Suffolk (1831–3). Though he was regarded as an authority on Greek architecture and produced mostly neo-classical designs, there were exceptions, such as the hospital at Stamford, in the Tudor Gothic style. He was elected ARA in 1826 and RA in 1838, with Wilkins’ support.
In 1828 Gandy’s friend Henry Deering bequeathed him the Lee estate, near Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Gandy took the name of Deering and, gradually giving up his profession as an architect, spent the rest of his life as a country gentleman. He was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Aylesbury at the 1847 general election, but a petition led to his election being declared void in 1848. He was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1840.