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Thomas Talbot Bury

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Thomas Talbot Bury (1811-1877)

1877 Obituary [1]

MR. THOMAS TALBOT BURY sprang from a Worcestershire family, his mother having been a descendant of the Earls of Shrewsbury. He was born on the 26th of September, 1811.

In 1824 he was articled to Mr. Augustus Pugin, architect. Amongst his fellow-pupils were Ferrey, Dollman, Shaw, Lake Price, Nash, Walker, and Charles Mathews; of the thirty-four or thirty-five pupils who were at one time or other in Mr. Pugin’s office, only Mr. Bury, Mr. Ferrey, Mr. Dollman, Mr. Walker, and Mr. Green actually followed the profession of architecture.

In 1830 Mr. Bury commenced to practise on his own account. In 1847 he wrote, and illustrated with his own hand, "The Remains of Ecclesiastical Woodwork,” and this was followed in 1849 by a “History and Description of the Styles of Architecture of Various Countries from the Earliest to the Present Period." These works were published by Weale, and show an accurate and extensive knowledge of the subjects treated of.

Mr. Bury co-operated with Welby Pugin in working out the designs and details of the Houses of Parliament for the late Sir Charles Barry, and when the younger Pugin claimed for his father the sole merit of this work, Mr. Bury indignantly denied the justice of such a claim, and did full honour to his employer. He either built or took part in the restoration of seventy-four churches during his professional career. He at one time assisted the late Mr. Leak Vulliamy in some important works, and was in partnership for about four years with Mr. Charles Lee. Mr. Bury was a great collector of architectural and antiquarian books, and of water-colour drawings, the former consisting of rare works and good editions. His collection of ancient carved cabinets and of panels illustrating the history of wood carving was probably unique. His water-colour drawings show his power as an artist, and he was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy. He was hardly less apt as an engraver, many of the most beautiful plates in Owen Jones’s work on the "Alhambra" having been engraved by him ; and as a lithographer he was skilful and refined.

It may be stated that Mr. Bury employed iron with great success in the structures which he designed, and he exhibited considerable ability in adapting the proper proportions of metal whilst giving to the parts graceful forms. He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 2nd of May, 1848, and was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of other kindred societies.

For the last two or three years of his life he was a sad invalid, suffering severely ; but latterly he rallied a good deal and was able occasionally to attend the meetings of the Royal Institute of British Architects ; and, as one of its Vice-Presidents, took a considerable share in important recent deliberations of the Council. The recovery of his health was not of long duration, and his end was very rapid.

He died on the 23rd of February, 1877.

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