Man of many talents
Born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, William Kent travelled to Italy in the early years of the 18th century and took every opportunity while there to study art and architecture.
After returning to England, Kent was introduced to George I. The King was embarking on an ambitious plan to rebuild part of Kensington Palace and needed an artist to decorate his new Cupola Room. William Kent won the project after submitting a lower estimate for the work than Sir James Thornhill, the King’s regular Serjeant-Painter and subsequently went on to decorate all the rooms within the King’s apartments.
As well as his work at Kensington Palace, William Kent also designed the Hermitage and Merlin’s Cave for Queen Caroline at Kew and provided much inspiration for the laying out of the early gardens there and at Kensington.
He also supervised new building works at Hampton Court and managed conservation projects there and at the Banqueting House.
William Kent was also known as Kentino or the Signior to his many friends.