Desvignes, Peter Hubert 1808 - 1883

(1804-1883), engineer, architect and artist

Peter Hubert Desvignes was born on the 29th April 1804 in Constantinople, now Istanbul but grew up in London. He initially studied under William Atkinson at the Royal Academy in London. In 1827 Desvignes developed his "Speiragraph", a machine to create elaborate spiral drawings, intended to prevent bank note forgeries.

In 1835 he took part in a competition to design a new building for the British Houses of Parliament. He also received the commission to redesign the Liechtenstein palace in Vienna in the Neo-Rococo style, a task that occupied him from at least 1837 until around 1849. His redesign marks not only the highpoint of his career but is believed to be the most elaborate and ambitious design projects to be implemented in the nineteenth century. The remodelling was the first in the Rococo Revival style in Vienna and is considered the most important of its kind.

Although he later returned to England, Desvignes had difficulty regaining a foothold there, and very little is known of the last decades of his life. He died on 27th December 1883.