Early Georgian Style – Palladianism Revival (1714-1750)

The Early Georgian style, during the reign of George I, saw the revival of Palladianism in England. Later, it became popular throughout Europe.

Holkham Hall: A large estate shown from far away. The lawn can be seen before the house as well.

Holkham Hall, by William Kent, Palladian style, 1734, Norfolk, Eng.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/cfebb0c9-a73f-47ec-8e2d-2db9e4100d62 by Richard Croft

The west front of Houghton Hall, which is a large grey-stone building.
Houghton Hall – West Front by William Kent, Palladian style, 1734

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/6a2d5eb0-03a4-4970-8cd1-5b32d516a216 by ell brown

Origins of Georgian Style

Georgian style is divided into three distinct periods: The Palladian, early, and late Georgian periods. While the style was to be seen as a reaction to Baroque which George I loathed, the three phases of Georgian were a continuation of the previous style period. Throughout the century, the style became lighter and lighter and dealt with colors and decorations, which eventually became a regency style.

A photo of the City Hall, in Dublin, which is a large bright building with four, chunky columns along the front.
Royal Exchange (1779)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/8b59463f-4545-409e-bb14-ef39e30568b9 by w_lemay

Two Guineas coin of George I (1717).
Two Guineas coin of George I (1717)

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/211376?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=George+I&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=17

Early Georgian Influences

The Georgian style was highly influenced by “Grand Tours,” which made the followed the classicism of architecture and design. Often, the British calmly used these motifs. The excesses of the Baroque style created a distaste for over-decoration. Four books talked about the simplicity and purity of classical architecture. These were:

Vitruvius Britannicus or The British Architect, The Plans, Elevations, and Sections of the Regular Buildings, both Publick and Private, in Great Britain,..., Colen Campbell (British, Brodie, Scotland 1676–1729 London), Illustrations: etching and engraving.
Vitruvius Britannicus by Colen Campbell.
Vitruvius Britannicus or The British Architect- The Plans, Elevations, and Sections of the Regular Buildings, both Publick and Private, in Great Britain, by Colen Campbell: A spread from Vitruvius Britannicus that has a sketch of few buildings.
The British Architect by Colen Campbell

Images source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/334069?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Vitruvius+Britannicus%2c+by+Colen+Campbell&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=1

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

A photo of the Pitzhanger Manor.
Pitzhanger Manor by John Soane.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/439bfe83-a29e-4992-b792-d57d49762fb3 by markhillary

Early Georgian Style Characteristics

Palladianism was a key influence on the early Georgian style, as there was a proportion-based Palladian school of design that strongly influenced British architecture. It was rich, graceful and employed Roman temples facades and pillars. Georgian buildings have the following:

  • symmetry and regularity of detail
  • massive pediments
  • masks, and sphinxes
  • colonnades inspired by ancient Greek and Roman temples
A large yellow building with six columns along the front. Further, it is located in West Wycombe Park house in Buckinghamshire.
West Wycombe Park (1740-1800)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/46d32e9e-435a-41f8-aa71-4f7cceea76b1 by amandabhslater

Lord Burlington’s Contribution

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

Chiswick House: A large grey building with a dome at the top and six columns along the front.
Chiswick House

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/1c71e58d-4c37-47c1-9360-c16d6ddd6cbf by Maxwell Hamilton

Chiswick House from a different angle.
Chiswick House

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/6b91eaff-fba8-42c1-a1a9-ad76f5677e2c by It’s No Game

Colen Campbell

Due to his book, Vitruvius Britannicus, Colen Campbell became the architect for banker Henry Hoare I’s Stourhead house, a masterpiece that inspired several similar mansions across England.

A photo of Stourhead House, in England. Owned by the National Trust, Stourhead House is close by the famous gardens.
Stourhead House, England

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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