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Matthew Brettingham the Elder (1699–1769)

Photo credit: RIBA Collections

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Matthew Brettingham the Elder (1699–1769) came from a Norfolk family of builders and surveyors. From 1734 he was employed by the Earl of Leicester as Clerk of the Works to supervise the building of Holkham Hall, Norfolk, to the designs of William Kent. According to his son Matthew, he regarded it as 'the great work of his life' and he tried to take the credit for the whole building when he published in 1761 'The Plans Elevations and Sections of Holkham in Norfolk, the Seat of the Earl of Leicester'.

The Royal Institute of British Architects





oil on canvas


H 77 x W 63 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by Rupert Gunnis, 1965

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Royal Institute of British Architects

66 Portland Place, London, Greater London W1B 1AD England

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