Servandoni, John Nicholas

, an ingenious architect and machinist, was born at Florence in 1695. He rendered himself famous by his exquisite taste in architecture, and by his genius for decorations, fetes, and buildings. He was employed and rewarded by most of the princes of Europe. He was honoured in Portugal with the order of Christ. In France he was architect and painter to the King, and member of the different academies established for the advancement of these arts. He received the same titles from the kings of Britain, Spain, Poland, and from the duke of Wirtemberg; but notwithstanding these advantages, his want of economy was so great, that he left nothing behind him. He died at Paris in 1766. Paris is indebted to him for many of its ornaments. He made decorations also for the theatres of London and Dresden. The French king’s theatre, called la salle des machines, was under his management for some time. He was permitted to exhibit shows consisting of single decorations, some of which are said to have been astonishingly sublime, as his representations of St. Peter’s of Rome; the descent of JEneas into hell; the enchanted forest; and the triumph of conjugal love; the travels of Ulysses; Hero and Leander; and the conquest of the Mogul by Thamas Koulikan. He built and embellished a theatre at Chambon for Mareschal Saxe, and had the management of a great number of fetes in Paris, Vienna, London, and Lisbon. Frederick prince of Wales, too, engaged him in his service: but the death of his royal highness prevented the execution of the designs which had been projected. Among his most admired architectural performances, are the portal, and many of the interior decorations of the church of St. Sulpice, at Paris the great parish church of Coulanges in Burgundy the great altar of the metropolitan church of Sens and of the Chartreux at Lyons, &c. &c. 1


Dict. Hist. KiKycl. Britain. rNecrologie des Homines Celebres, post annee 1767.