Palladianism is an architectural style based on the designs of the 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). Palladio was inspired by the buildings of ancient Rome.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palladian_architecture
Palladianism became popular in Britain during the mid-17th century. In the early 18th century the style became also popular in the British colonies in North America. The style continued to be popular in Europe throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, where it was frequently employed in the design of public and municipal buildings; its pediments, symmetry and proportions are clearly evident in the design of many modern buildings today.
Clarity, order, and symmetry, homage to antiquity in its use of classical forms and decorative motifs.
- Corinthian columns with acanthus leaf capitals at the top.
- Scallop shells are a typical motif in Greek and Roman art. The shell is a symbol of the Roman goddess Venus, who was born of the sea, from a shell.
- Pediments were used over doors and windows on the outside of buildings. They are also found over inside doors.
- Masks used as a decorative motif. They are based on examples from ancient Greek and Roman art.
- Terms are based on free-standing stones representing the Roman god, Terminus. They consist of a head and upper torso, often just the shoulders, on top of a pillar and were originally used as boundary markers.
Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580) his Classical style was based on ancient Roman architecture; he wrote Four Books of Architecture that contain illustrations and descriptions of his own architecture. His first commission was Villa Godi.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Godi
Chiswick House was built between 1725 and 1729, designed by Lord Burlington ; the centralised structure and square plan of the villa was inspired by Andrea Palladio’s Villa Rotonda near Vicenza in Italy.
Wanstead House by Colen Campbell. The grand entrance portico, the alternately arched and pedimented windows, the great rough blocks of the basement and the end pavilions lit by arched ‘Venetian’ windows at Wanstead were to become key Palladian architectural features.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanstead_Park
The original architects of the Palladian style had made no designs for furniture, being more interested in the overall layout of buildings, grounds, and gardens. Furniture was a mere addition and had to be in line with the other elements.
Therefore Kent set about creating a style of Palladian furniture that would compliment and blend in with the Palladian architecture of great homes and their interiors, enhance their architectural symmetry, and be complementary to their existing windows, doors, chimney pieces, and cornices.
William Kent (1685 – 1748) He worked initially as an interior decorator, in which capacity he designed much of the furniture and interiors for Burlington’s villa, Chiswick House, Palladian style.
The “Kentian” furniture that resulted was ornate, of monumental size, heavy, only barely movable with lavish carving and golden ornamentation. Common items included side tables, especially pier tables, usually with marble tops, chairs peaked with shells and legs graced with fish-scaled scrolls, as well as bookcases and gilt mirrors.