Early Georgian Style – Palladianism Revival (1714-1750)

The Early Georgian style can be traced back to the reign of George I, and was about the revival of Palladianism in England. The trend spreaded in most of Europe.

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/place/Holkham-Hall

The Origins of Georgian Style

Georgian style embraced a century under the reign of three Georges and is divided into the Palladian, early and late Georgian periods. The style was to be seen as a reaction to Baroque which George I loathed. The three phases of Georgian were considered a continuum of each other. As the century went on, the style became lighter and lighter dealing with colours and decorations and eventually became a regency style.


George I, oil painting, 1714.
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/topic/House-of-Hanover

What Influenced the Early Georgian Style

The Georgian style was highly influenced by “Grand Tours” made the influential classes follow classicism of architecture and design. The British used these motifs in a calm way. The excesses of the Baroque created a distaste for over-decoration. In Britain four books talked about the simplicity and purity of classical architecture. These were:

  • Vitruvius Britannicus by Colen Campbell, the most important of these;
  • Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture;
  • Leone Battista Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria;
  • The Designs of Inigo Jones… with Some Additional Designs;
Vitruvius Britannicus, by Colen Campbell.
Vitruvius Britannicus, by Colen Campbell.

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/334069

The publication of these books coincided with the adoption of classicism, the models of this period were no longer Italian Renaissance‘s buildings, but those of Classical Greece and Rome. A political element played a key role this change of design: Baroque was mentally associated with the Counter-Reformation, the Hanoverians, the king’s family were a firmly Protestant dynasty.

Pitzhanger Manor by John Soane.
Pitzhanger Manor by John Soane.

Image source: https://study.com/academy/lesson/neoclassical-architecture-in-england.html

Early Georgian Style Characteristics

Palladinism was a key factor in the early Georgian style. There was a proportion-based Palladian school of design that strongly influenced British architecture. It was rich and graceful, and were employed Roman temples facades and pillars. Georgian buildings were featured with:

  • symmetry and regularity of detail;
  • massive pediments;
  • masks, and sphinxes;
  • colonnades inspired by ancient Greek and Roman temples;
Neoclaasical way of conceiving columns.
Neoclassical way of conceiving columns.

Image source: https://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/architecture/neoclassical/neoclassical_architecture.php

Lord Burlington’s Contribution

Richard Boyle, was one of the most important figures in 18th century English art. His name is not mentioned in books of art and his paintings are not preserved in the National GalleryHe projected the fine villa above for himself at Chiswick in 1729. He was the leader of the Palladianism revival movement. This House was created after Palladio’s Villa Capra with 16th century ornaments.

Chiswick House, London, England.
Chiswick House, London, England.

Image source: http://chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk/

Colen Campbell

Due to his book Vitruvius Britannicus, Colen Campbell was named the architect for banker Henry Hoare I’s Stourhead house, an absolute masterpiece that will be the inspiration for several similar mansions across England.

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://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stourhead_House_-_geograph.org.uk_-_31721.jpg

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

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