Architecture, Egyptology, Galleries, Italy, place: Rome
Architect Giuseppe [Joseph] Bonomi was born on 19 January 1739 in Rome. About 1763 James Adam, then on his grand tour in Rome, saw some of Bonomi’s architectural drawings and engaged him to work for him and his brother Robert. In 1767 they invited Bonomi to Britain, where he worked as a draughtsman in their London office until 1781 when he set up as an independent architect.
He produced some of the finest drawings published by the Adams’ publication The Works in Architecture (1778/9). Bonomi exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1783. Joshua Reynolds proposed Bonomi as a full academician and Professor of Perspective in 1790, but Henry Fuseli was elected instead.
As a Roman Catholic he was excluded from public commissions, but he designed two Catholic Embassy chapels in London, the Bavarian chapel in Warwick Street (1789/90) and the Spanish chapel in Manchester Square (1793/6). Bonomi died at home at no. 76 Great Titchfield Street in March 1808. His son Joseph Bonomi, sculptor and Egyptologist, was born at the same address on 9 October 1796. In 1853 he assisted in the arrangement of the Egyptian Court at the Crystal Palace. In 1861 he was awarded the curatorship of John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields where he remained until his death in March 1878. His major publication was Nineveh and its Palaces, a popular work that ran through several editions from 1852.