Born in the 1730’s, in Scotland; died 1812, in St. Petersburg. Russian classicist architect. Scottish by birth.
Cameron studied in France and Italy. In 1779 he began working in St. Petersburg as Catherine II’s court architect. From 1802 to 1805 he was the principal architect of the Admiralty College. His most important project was a complex of buildings at Tsarskoe Selo (now the town of Pushkin). In the Agate Pavilion (1780–85) with the Cold Baths, Cameron used architectural motifs that were characteristic of Roman baths. His other buildings at Tsarskoe Selo include the Hanging Garden (1783–86) and Cameron Gallery (1783–86; ramp, 1793). In the latter building, Cameron effectively contrasted the massive, monumental forms of the ground floor and the light, open gallery of the upper tier. He also built the palace and park pavilions at Pavlovsk (1780–1801), which form a harmonious architectural complex with the surrounding park. The palace is characterized by classical clarity and elegance; the architect’s imagination and his distinctive interpretation of classical architectural elements and decorative motifs are clearly revealed.
Cameron’s interiors, including the Arabesque Hall, the Snuff Box, and the Green Dining Hall of the Great Palace in Pushkin, as well as the Greek and Roman halls in Pavlovsk Palace, are distinguished by an extraordinary refinement and elegance of form and decor, as well as by a masterful coordination of different materials. These interiors were all created in the 1770’s and 1780’s; they were destroyed by the fascist Germans during the Great Patriotic War (restored, 1945–69). Cameron also constructed the Razumovskii Palace in Baturin, in the Ukraine (1799–1803).