Office of Works
Taylor's most active period as an architect began in 1879–80 with the construction of Bow Street Magistrates' Court which the listing entry describes as "dignified, eclectic Graeco-Roman with some slightly Vanbrughian details, rather in the Pennethorne manner." In 1883–84 he was a judge in the competition for the Admiralty and War Office buildings in Whitehall, and in 1886 added a new storey to Marlborough House.
In the 1880s, Taylor was involved in restructuring work in a number of London's museums. He was responsible for display fittings of the new Natural History Museum and built the White Wing of the British Museum from 1882–84. From 1885–87, Taylor designed and built the vestibule and central hall with staircase of the National Gallery, London, for which he is best known.
Highly regarded as a technical expert and planner of well-functioning buildings, Taylor remained attached to the Office of Works even after his retirement in 1898. As a consulting architect, he fulfilled the projects he had in hand.
Due to the death of its original architect William Young in 1900, Taylor, together with Young's son Clyde Francis Young, was given the task of completing the construction of the War Office building. He resigned from his post after the building's completion in 1906 but remained a member of the advisory committee on the new public buildings.
Honours and memberships
Taylor was well respected as an architect as well as a public servant.
He became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1881, was a member of its council from 1899–1900 and served as vice-president 1905–06.
Taylor was a member of the Civil Service Rifles and a good shot, winning several competitions of the National Rifle Association. He was also a keen golfer, captain of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club and, in 1887, a founder member of the Royal St George's Golf Club at Sandwich, Kent.
- Henry Tanner, revised by M. H. Port, Taylor, Sir John, in: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, published 3 January 2008
- Dictionary of Scottish Architects
- Richard Holder, Salvin, Anthony, in: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, published 23 September 2004
- Dod's peerage, baronetage and knightage of Great Britain and Ireland, London 1909, p. 967
- Bow Street Magistrates' Court and Police Station listing, Historic England
- National Gallery listing, Historic England