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 spread in most of Europe.

Holkham Hall
Holkham Hall, by William Kent, Palladian style, begun 1734, Norfolk, Eng.. A.F. Kersting.

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

Houghton Hall - West Front
Houghton Hall – West Front-by William Kent, Palladian style, begun 1734

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

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 colors and decorations, and eventually became a regency style.

City Hall, Dublin, Éire
Royal Exchange, Dublin, 1779

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

Two guineas coin of George I, Medalist: John Croker (British, 1670–1741), Gold, British
Two guineas coin of George I,1717 –  Medalist: John Croker (British, 1670–1741), Gold, British

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

What Influenced the Early Georgian Style

The Georgian style was highly influenced by “Grand Tours” which made the influential classes follow classicism of architecture and design. The British calmly used these motifs. 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 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,..., Colen Campbell (British, Brodie, Scotland 1676–1729 London), Illustrations: etching and engraving
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

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, 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 mentally associated with the Counter-Reformation, the Hanoverians, the king’s family were a firmly Protestant dynasty.

Pitzhangar Manor, Ealing
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 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;
West Wycombe Park. West Portico. Buckinghamshire
Neoclassical way of conceiving columns.- West Wycombe Park is a country house near the village of West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England built between 1740 and 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. 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
Chiswick House

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

Chiswick House
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 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