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Palladian Architecture & Inigo Jones

The designs of Inigo Jones in the Palladian architecture style in England.

During the 17th century period the influence of the work of Andreo Palladio on the great English architect, Inigo Jones, resulted in a breaking away from the English model; so much so that the new style is termed "Palladian" and resulted in an architectural revolution, such as was effected by Brunelleschi in Italy.

The "Orders of Architecture" were used to give importance and dignity, and were employed in the smaller houses in the entrance doorways, fireplaces and wall surfaces, windows, etc.

The fireplace with open dog grate, after Jacobean models, was often richly treated with columns, while the overmantel had carved festoons with coat of arms, the whole design being in harmony with the treatment of the walls.

Architecture was also to a certain extent taken up as a fashionable study, as may be seen in the erection by the Earl of Burlington of the well-known villa at Chiswick, which was a copy of the Villa Rotonda at Vicenza by Palladio. It is an Italian country house quite unsuited to the English climate, and has had no effect on the traditional architecture of this country.

Palladian Country Mansions

A large number of mansions were erected which exhibit a stateliness and grandeur well suited to their purpose as country seats for the English nobility, although the practical requirements of domestic convenience were still frequently ignored.

Stoke Park
Stoke Park, Northants.

The "E" and "H" shaped plans of the preceding period were now superseded by the Italian type of plan introduced by Inigo Jones, as evidenced in his design for Stoke Park, which consists of a central block containing the principal apartments, which were placed above a basement story. These rooms were reached by an external flight of steps.

On either side of this central block were wings containing the kitchens, offices, and Stables frequently connected to the main building by colonnades.

The principal entrance was sometimes provided with a two-storied portico, which, however, is unsuitable to the English climate, as it causes the rooms behind to be dark and unhealthy, and so it has in many cases been removed.

The Elizabethan hall was succeeded by a thoroughfare room forming the entrance hall, as seen at A in the picture.

Behind the entrance hall was the saloon, an Italian modification for country villas of the open cortile of the larger town palazzi, and this often formed a large apartment in the centre of the garden fa?ade, with the principal living-rooms ranged on either side (see B in picture 8); such rooms were sometimes octagonal or circular on plan.

Where to See

Inigo Jones designed Raynham Hall, Norfolk (A.D. 1630), the Queen's House, Greenwich (A.D. 1639), Coleshill, Berks (A.D. 1650), and Chevenlng House, Kent (since destroyed).

Sir Christopher Wren continued the same ideas of planning, but his designs were principally of the central block type. Amongst his reputed domestic works are Groombridge Place, Kent; Belton House, near Grantharn (A.D. 1689), and Marlborough House, London (A.D. 1698), with wings added later; besides considerable additions to Kensington Palace and Hampton Court.

Next: Georgian & Queen Anne Houses.

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