William Tyler (architect)

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William Tyler RA (18 April 1728 – 6 September 1801)[1] was an English sculptor, landscaper, and architect, and one of the founding member of the Royal Academy, in 1768.

Early life[edit]

Tyler went to Westminster School, and then studied for some years with leading sculptor Louis François Roubiliac. He married, aged 22, and is said to have initially lived in Dean Street.[2]


Tyler's office was in Vine Street, St James's, London[3] from 1763 to 1784,[2] and, as a sculptor, he produced various monuments, including that to George Lee, 3rd Earl of Lichfield at Spelsbury in Oxfordshire,[4] and one to Sir John Cust, 3rd Baronet of Stamford, Speaker of the House of Commons (1770).[5]

The monument to Thomas Lewis (1690-1777), MP for Radnor in Old Radnor church in 1777.[citation needed]

A monument in York Minster to vice-admiral Henry Medley is also attributed to Tyler.[6]

Tyler also worked with one of his pupils, Robert Ashton, with whom he produced a monument to scholar Dr Martin Folkes.[2]

Architectural work[edit]

During the late 18th century, he worked as an architect. His designs included:

Royal Academy[edit]

Tyler was a foundation member of the Royal Academy in 1768. Though nominated to the Royal Academy as an architect, he was usually represented at its exhibitions by busts and low reliefs.[11] He exhibited there between 1869 and 1800, starting with a work described in the catalogue as "a marble bas-relief, an Indian, representing North America, offering the produce of that country to Britannia". In later years he did show some architectural drawings, for the "Garden front of a villa" (1782); Dorchester prison (1784); "a Belvidere to be built in a shrubbery" (1785); "the front of a prison" (1786); Bridport Town Hall (1789) and the "Villa Maria" (1800). His address is given in the catalogues as Vine Street until 1784, Gower Street from 1785, and Caroline Street, Bedford Square in 1800.[12]

He appears to have played a leading in a revolt against Sir Joshua Reynolds[11] over the latter's attempts to have Joseph Bonomi elected a full academician and appointed professor of perspective, a dispute which led to Reynolds' temporary resignation from the academy in 1790.[13] In 1795 Tyler and George Dance, were appointed to examine the accounts of the academy following the resignation of Sir William Chambers.[11] The following year Tyler and Dance became the Academy's first auditors, helping put the institution on a sounder financial footing, for which Tyler was presented with a silver cup in 1799.[2]

Tyler died at his home in Caroline Street, Bedford Square, on 6 September 1801.[2]


  1. ^ "William Tyler, R.A." RA Academicians. Royal Academy. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "William Tyler RA". A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851. Henry Moore Foundation. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Dorset Ancestors". Dorset County Gaol. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b "William Tyler (active circa 1760-died 1801), Sculptor and architect". National Portrait Gallery collection. NPG. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Belton – St Peter & St Paul (near Grantham)". Church Monuments: Lincolnshire. Church Monuments Society. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  6. ^ "The Late 17th And Early 18th Centuries". The York Guides. yorkguides.co.uk. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  7. ^ 'Freemasons' Hall', Survey of London: volume 5: St Giles-in-the-Fields, pt II (1914), pp. 59–83. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74279 Date. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  8. ^ Allen, Thomas (1837). The history and antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and other parts adjacent, Vol. 5. London: George Virtue.
  9. ^ "Bridport Town Hall" (PDF). Heritage and Conservation Project. Bridport Town Council. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Town Hall, Bridport". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Hodgson 1905, p.104
  12. ^ Graves, Algernon (1905). The Royal Academy: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. 8. London: Henry Graves. p. 50.
  13. ^ Hodgson 1905, p.39


  • Hodgson, J. E.; Eaton, Frederick A. (1905). The Royal Academy and its Members 1768–1830. London: John Murray.