Early Georgian Style – Palladianism Revival (1714-1750)

The Early Georgian style refers to the reign of George I, and saw a revival of Palladianism in England. The trend spreaded to Italy and thence throughout most of Europe and the American colonies.

Holkham Hall, by William Kent, Palladian style, begun 1734, Norfolk, Eng.. A.F. Kersting
Holkham Hall, by William Kent, Palladian style, begun 1734, Norfolk, Eng.. A.F. Kersting. Image source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Palladianism

 

the meaning of GEORGIAN style

Georgian style, the various styles in the architecture, interior design, and decorative arts of Britain during the reigns of the first four members of the house of Hanover, between the accession of George I in 1714 and the death of George IV in 1830. There was such diversification and oscillation in artistic style during this period that it is perhaps more accurate to speak ofGeorgian styles”: Early georgian and late georgian.

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Georgian-style


George I, detail of an oil painting after Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1714; in the National Portrait .Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London
George I, detail of an oil painting after Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1714;
in the National Portrait . Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London.  Image source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-I-king-of-Great-Britain
George II, detail of an oil painting by Thomas Hudson, c. 1737; in the National Portrait. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
George II, detail of an oil painting by Thomas Hudson, c. 1737; in the National Portrait. London.               Image source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-II-king-of-Great-Britain

 

What inspired the creation of the Early Georgian style ?

The excesses of the Baroque had created a distaste for over-decoration, infact, the baroque style (popular in continental Europe) was never truly to the English taste. It was quickly superseded when, in the first quarter of the 18th century, four books were published in Britain which highlighted the simplicity and purity of classical architecture. These were:

  • Vitruvius Britannicus published by Colen Campbell, 1715 (the most important of these)
  • Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture translated by Giacomo Leoni, published from 1715 onwards.
  • Leone Battista Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria, translated by Giacomo Leoni, published 1726.
  • The Designs of Inigo Jones… with Some Additional Designs, published by William Kent in 1727.
Vitruvius Britannicus, Colen Campbell, 1715.
Vitruvius Britannicus, Colen Campbell, 1715. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colen_Campbell

The publication of these books coincides with the adoption of classicism, infact, the models for the architecture of this period were no longer the buildings of the Italian Renaissance, but those of Classical Greece and Rome.

There was a political element to this change of taste: Baroque was associated with the Counter-Reformation, the Hanoverians were a firmly Protestant dynasty.

Info source: http://www.buildinghistory.org/style/georgian.shtmlhttps://www.britannica.com/art/Georgian-style

 

Early Georgian Style Characteristics:

In the Early georgian style, Andrea Palladio’s Renaissance villas were admired as reflecting the pure lines of Classical architecture.

Georgian buildings are characterised by:

  • symmetry and regularity of detail
  • massive pediments
  • masks, and sphinxes
  • colonnades inspired by ancient Greek and Roman temples.

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image source:http://www.artnewsnviews.com/ age-of-aristocracy-georgian-furniture

Later, in the Late Georgian period will come the sash window.

 

Lord Burlington:

At the forefront of the new school of design was the aristocratic “architect earl”, Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Lord Burlington, who designed the fine villa above for himself at Chiswick in 1729, was a leader of the Palladianism revival movement.

This House was a reinterpretation of Palladio’s Villa Capra, but purified of 16th century elements and ornament.

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palladian_architecturehttp://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/chiswick-house

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington.
Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Boyle,_3rd_Earl_of_Burlington
Chiswick House, London, England.
Chiswick House, London, England. Image source: http://chfriends.org.uk/gallery/chiswick-house-photography

 

Colen Campbell:

Due to his book Vitruvius Britannicus, Colen Campbell was chosen as the architect for banker Henry Hoare I’s Stourhead house (1720-1724), a masterpiece that became the inspiration for dozens of similar houses across England.

Print, engraving, The East Front of Stourhead, Wiltshire (after Colen Campbell) by Hendrick Hulsberg ( London 1729).
Print, engraving, The East Front of Stourhead, Wiltshire (after Colen Campbell) by Hendrick Hulsberg ( London 1729). Image source: http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/Colen+Campbell(1676-1729)
Stourhead House, England. Owned by the National Trust, Stourhead House is close by the famous gardens.
Stourhead House, England. Owned by the National Trust, Stourhead House is close by the famous gardens. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stourhead#/media/File:Stourhead_House_-_geograph.org.uk_-_31721.jpg

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