British Georgian Style History

The prominent design of Georgian is Palladianism, which is based on ancient Roman architecture, by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. "Rigid symmetry, axial entrances, geometrical proportions, hipped roofs and sash windows" characterize the form. (What Style is it? Poppeliers) The style was perpetuated by Inigo Jones and adapted by the great Sir Christopher Wren in England. The style became prominent in England at the beginning of the 18th century.

The notable intellectuals of England, the 3rd Earl of Burlington, the 4th Earl of Cork, and William Kent called upon "George I to reaffirm British supremacy in the arts."(Visions of Power, pg. 6). "By adopting an architectural style which has been sanctioned by tradition, it seems to say, the King can build a more enlightened future". (Same) For that inspiration these Brits turned to classicism, or Andrea Palladio and his I Quattro libri dell'architettura (1570).

Along with books of engravings and trips to Vincenza, Italy to see Palladio's Palazzi, the British architects interpreted Palladio's works and built according to his classic principals. Palladio's principals were directly derived from the writings of Roman Vitruvius, which stated that architecture should combine utility, durability and beauty and achieve harmony between the various parts of a building. Palladio seemed to interpret this to mean strict and precise symmetry and a balance of proportion to achieve this classicism. He proposed that, "the kitchen, cellar and servants quarters be located in the basement and that the main rooms such as the library and the entrance hall be on the main floor" (Georgian House Style, 1997).

The identifying feature of Palladianism is that the hall is the center axis from which all the surrounding rooms are arranged symmetrically. Think of large interior and exterior staircases and lots of square and rectilinear shaped homes with large evenly spaced windows and the front door as the centerpiece.

Palladian classicism was popular for nearly a hundred more years; however, the Rococo Style and Neoclassicism became popular in the 1730's.

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