The plaque reads:
On the outer edge:
"London County Council"
In the centre:
"George / Basevi / 1794 - 1845 / Architect / lived here".
The plaque is in good condition but the paintwaotk of the building, around the edge, is not the best.
Born in London in 1794, George Basevi was the younger son of a prominent City merchant. Educated in Greenwich, he became a pupil of Sir John Soane in 1810 and then continued his studies at the Royal Academy Schools. Following completion of his architectural training in 1816, Basevi travelled on the continent, first in Italy and then in Greece. In 1820, the year after his return to London, he exhibited at the Royal Academy and opened his own architectural practice in Albany. Renowned for his neo-classical designs, Basevi soon received several commissions, for churches (St Thomas, Stockport, Cheshire and St Mary, Greenwich, Kent) and country houses (Titness Park, Berkshire; Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire; and Painswick Park, Gloucestershire). In 1825, he was appointed surveyor to William and George Haldimand and charged with the design and construction of Belgrave Square, his best known work in London. Basevi's most important single building, however, is the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, modelled on the Capitolium at Brescia.
The result of an open competition, to which twenty-seven architects submitted thirty-six designs, the Fitzwilliam Museum narrowly resulted in a neo-classical structure. Thomas Rickman and Richard Charles Hussey, for example, Basevi's closest competitors, submitted plans for a neo-Gothic structure, similar to the Cambridge University Press building on Trumpington Street today. Basevi having been named winner of the competition in late 1835, the foundation stone of the new museum was laid by the Vice-Chancellor of the University on 2 November 1837. The silver trowel he used was given to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1934.
South Porch of King's College Chapel Sadly, Basevi did not see the Fitzwilliam Museum completed. Inspecting repairs at Ely Cathedral in 1845, he accidentally fell through the floor of the West tower and died. A member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society, he left behind a wife and eight children. Basevi's remains were buried in Bishop Alcock's chapel in Ely Cathedral.
Basevi's successor at the Fitzwilliam Museum was Charles Robert Cockerell. He followed Basevi's plans for the galleries, but modified his designs for the entrance hall. However, funds ran out and in the end it was left to Edward M. Barry to finish the entrance hall in 1875, twenty-seven years after the museum had first opened to the public in 1848. Considered of exceptional interest, the Fitzwilliam Museum is a Grade I listed building today.
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