Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1772-1795 - Golden Square (Westminster)

In spite of his Polish name, scene painter and architect Michael Novosielski was born around 1747 in Rome. When he arrived in England is not known, but by 1772 he was living in Golden Square, Westminster. Four years later he married the singer Regina Felicia Pasquali, the daughter of immigrant musician Francis Pasquali, at St Pancras Old Church.

As master painter at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, between 1781 and 1784, Novosielski prepared scenery and machinery for many operas and ballets. In 1782 the Theatre underwent considerable rebuilding according to his plans. He later began a secondary career as a property developer. In 1785 he took a lease on land to the south of Brompton Road, Kensington, where he built seventy-seven houses in three developments: Michael’s Place, Michael’s Grove, and Brompton Crescent. Later he was active in Grosvenor Square and Piccadilly.

The King’s Theatre was destroyed by fire on 17 June 1789 and Novosielski, assisted by his Norwich-born pupil William Capon, planned the rebuilding to permit further enlargement of audience capacity (his portrait by Angelica Kauffman shows him holding his architectural plans). The project was hailed as a marvel and compared to La Scala in Milan. The theatre opened on 26 March 1791 in the presence of Joseph Haydn. Novosielski died in April 1795 in Ramsgate.

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