James Paine (architect)

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James Paine
James Paine senior and junior Reynolds
James Paine father and son, portrait by Joshua Reynolds
Bornlate 1717
DiedAutumn 1789
Spouse(s)1. Sarah Jennings 2. Charlotte Beaumont
Charlotte Charlton
Mary "Polly" Kettle
BuildingsNostell Priory
Heath House
Kedleston Hall
Doncaster Mansion House
Chatsworth House
Worksop Manor
Hickleton Hall

James Paine (1717–1789) was an English architect.

Early Life[edit]

James Paine was probably baptised 9 October 1717 at Andover, Hampshire, the youngest of the five children of John Paine (d. 1727), carpenter, of Andover, and his wife, Jane Head (bap. 1684).[1]

Whilst facts about Paine's early life are sparse, it is thought that he studied at the St Martin's Lane Academy, London, founded by William Hogarth in 1735 to allow artists to practise life drawing. Here he came into contact with many innovative architects, artists designers, including architect Isaac Ware.[1]


It is thought that Ware introduced him to the third earl of Burlington and his circle of friends. Paine’s first professional job, aged only nineteen, was as the Clerk of Works supervising the building of Nostell Priory, Yorkshire (c.1737–1750), designed by Colonel James Moyser, a friend of Lord Burlington.[1] Essentially a Palladian, Paine was to work on many other projects in the area including Heath House in the village of Heath in between Nostell Priory and Wakefield.

Paine lived in Pontefract whilst working at Nostell Priory, and whilst working on that project, he was also commissioned to design the Mansion House at Doncaster, Yorkshire between 1745–8.[1]

From the 1750s, he had his own practice, and designed many villas, usually consisting of a central building, often with a fine staircase, and two symmetrical wings. The most important house which he was involved with was Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire where he succeeded Matthew Brettingham from 1759 to 1760 and suggested the colonnaded hall, but he was himself displaced by Robert Adam, who altered his designs.

At around the same time he designed the very grand stables at Chatsworth House in the same county. He was a favourite architect of the powerful Catholic families of the time. In the 1760s he was commissioned to rebuild Worksop Manor for the Duke of Norfolk as well as the new Thorndon Hall (1764–70) in Essex for Lord Petre and his house on Park Lane, London. From 1770 to 1776, he built New Wardour Castle in Wiltshire (which featured as the Royal Ballet School in the film Billy Elliot).

Paine held various posts, some sinecures, in the Office of Works culminating in appointment as one of the two Architects of the Works in 1780 but lost the post in a reorganisation in 1782. He was appointed High Sheriff of Surrey for 1783.

His practice declined in his later years as he refused to participate in the Neoclassical fashions established by the Adam brothers. He published much of his own work in his two volumes of Plans, elevations and sections of Noblemen and Gentlemen's Houses (1767 and 1783).

In 1789, Paine retired to France, where he died in the autumn.

Personal life[edit]

Paine married twice. His first wife was Sarah Jennings, daughter and coheir of George Jennings of Pontefract. They married in March 1741 and had a son, the architect, sculptor, and topographical watercolourist James Paine (1745–1829).[2][1]

After Sarah's death, Paine married Charlotte Beaumont (1722–1766), youngest daughter of Richard Beaumont of Whitley Beaumont, near Huddersfield. They were married by June 1748 and had two daughters, Charlotte (1751 - 31 October 1814) and Mary, known as 'Polly' (1753-1798). Charlotte married St John Charlton (April 1760 - 3 October 1802) on the 22 December 1781[3] who later became High Sheriff of Shropshire in 1790 and the couple lived at Apley Castle. Mary married artist Tilly Kettle, with a dowry of £5,000.[4]

In 1773 Paine bought the lease to Sayes Court, a country estate near Chertsey in Surrey.[5] He became a justice of the peace for Middlesex in December 1776 and for Surrey in June 1777, and served as high sheriff of Surrey in 1785.[1]

Portraits by Joshua Reynolds[edit]

Paine was a friend of artist Joshua Reynolds and had designed a large gallery and painting room, with an elaborate chimney piece, for Reynold’s home in Leicester Fields, now Leicester Square, London. In 1764, Reynolds painted a joint portrait of James Paine father and son pictured above (now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). The following year Reynold painted a matching portrait of Charlotte and her two daughters, Charlotte and Mary "Polly", possibly in exchange for in exchange for some of Paine’s architectural work at his home. This portrait is now in Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool. The portraits were intended to be hung so that the father and son faced mother and daughters.[6] Reynolds’s appointment book records an entry for their sittings:

‘17 July 1765 Mrs Pain [sic], Miss Pain and Miss Polly Pain.’ Then, on 25 July, ‘Mrs Paine etc.’ on 2 August ‘Miss Paine’ sat alone, and ‘Mrs Paine’ sat three days later. On 3 October the entry read: ‘Mrs Paine & Co’. There were further appointments on 27 September, 27 November and 2 December, for ‘Dog.’[6]

The portrait Mrs James Paine, and Her Daughters Charlotte Paine, b.1751, Later Mrs St John Charlton and Mary 'Polly' Paine, 1753–1798, Later Mrs Tilly Kettle) was exhibited twice in Yorkshire in late nineteenth century, and copies were made. It was eventually acquired by the art dealer C.J Wertheimer but when it was show at Burlington House in 1908, it was catalogued as Portraits of the Misses Paine, their mother Charlotte having been painted out to increase its sale value. William Hesketh Lever paid £4520. 5s for in 1918. In 1935, the Lady Lever Art Gallery Trustees took the decision to remove the over painting and restored Mrs Paine to her rightful place.


In 2017, the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House led on the James Paine Festival, celebrating his life and work on the 300th anniversary of his birth.[7]

List of architectural works[edit]

The following are major works attributed to Paine:[8]

The Mansion House and New Betting Room, Doncaster, engraved by John Rogers after a drawing by Nathaniel Whittock, published by Isaac Taylor Hinton, London, 1829.

Gallery of architectural works[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - James Paine". 2009.
  2. ^ 'Paine, James', in Robert Gunnis, ed., Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851
  3. ^ "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  4. ^ Ltd, e3 Media. "The Misses Paine (after Reynolds), Charlotte Beaumont, Mrs James Paine (d.1766) and her Daughters Charlotte Paine, later Mrs St John Charlton (b.1751) and Mary 'Polly' Paine, later Mrs Tilly Kettle (1753-1798) 709308". Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  5. ^ "Sayes Court | Chertsey Museum". chertseymuseum-interactive.org.gridhosted.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  6. ^ a b "Artwork details, Liverpool museums". www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  7. ^ "James Paine Festival 2017".
  8. ^ pages 171 to 217, James Paine, Peter Leach, 1988, A. Zwemmer Ltd
  9. ^ Middleton Lodge, leodis.net, retrieved 2 December 2009