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Queen Anne Houses, Georgian Homes

The major characteristics of Queen Anne and Georgian type homes and houses.

Queen Anne and Georgian Country Mansions

A large number of mansions were erected in the eighteenth century by later architects, among whom may be mentioned Nicholas Hawksmoor, Sir John Vanbrugh, William Talman, William Kent, John Carr of York, Colin Campbell, Isaac Ware, George Dance, the Brothers Adam, John Wood of Bath, Sir William Chambers and many others.

The Italian or Palladian type of plan still prevailed, the entrance hall and saloon forming the nucleus of the central block, which contained also the principal living-apartments.

Wings on either side containing stables and kitchens were still arranged as at Castle Howard, but sometimes also four wings were arranged symmetrically as at Holkham Hall and Kedlestone Hall.

Castle Howard
Plan section and elevation of Castle Howard, Yorkshire.

The Jacobean long gallery still survived in a modified form in some of the larger houses, as at Holkham and Blenheim.

Little advance was made with regard to privacy and the convenient arrangement of the apartments, for corridors are seldom found and thoroughfare rooms were usual.

Compactness was frequently not much studied, the kitchen in the East Wing at Blenheim being one hundred yards from the nearest dining-room!

The accommodation shows an improvement on that given in the account of Hengrave Hall, and begins to accord more with modern ideas. The dining and drawing rooms, which are henceforward common to all homes, are supplemented in the larger examples with morning rooms, libraries, business rooms, boudoirs, ballrooms, music rooms, billiard rooms and conservatories.

Holkham Hall
First floor plan of Holkham Hall, Norfolk.

Bedrooms were again increased in number, and occasionally they were grouped for visitors in a separate wing, as at Holkham.

Staircases leading to the bedrooms on the upper floor were usually symmetrical (diagram 8), on either side of the entrance hall, and the various apartments were grouped with special regard to symmetry and stateliness at the expense of practical utility and convenience.

Pope satirized this prevailing idea in the following lines :

Tis very fine.
But where d'ye sleep, or where d'ye dine ?
I find by all you have been telling
That 'tis a house and not a dwelling.

The science of sanitation was still in a very backward state; the supply of lavatories and bathrooms was limited, and such as existed wrere badly placed, insufficiently ventilated and inadequately drained.


These houses of the late Renaissance were surrounded by formal gardens laid out on geometrical lines ornamented with sculptured figures and vases and with flights of steps and fountains, forming an ideal setting for a country house.

Examples of Queen Anne Homes

Many of these mansions are illustrated in the volumes of the Vitruvius Britannicus and indicate a passion for symmetry, together with a waste of space and inconvenience of disposition ; but no one can deny the magnificent effect of many of these stately compositions.

Castle Howard, Yorkshire (diagram 8), Blenheim Palace (Oxfordshire), which is peculiar in having internal courts, Seaton Delaval (Northumberland), all have detached wings containing kitchens, Stabling, etc., with two connecting portions of quadrant forms treated as colonnades. Holkham Hall, Norfolk (III 9), and Kedlestone Hall (Derbyshire) are larger examples with four detached wings.

Examples of the smaller country mansions which have no wings are Melton Constable (Norfolk), Eltham House (Kent), Thorpe Hall (near Peterborough), Honington Hall (Warwickshire).

Small Houses

A large number of the smaller houses for the rapidly increasing middle class were erected in and around London and almost every provincial town; and their simple and practical plans are in striking contrast with the stately and grandiose mansions we have already dealt with.

These smaller houses, frequently occupied nowadays by the country doctor or solicitor, are usually of the block type, approximating either to a square or double square on plan. The centre third of the house is usually occupied by the Outer Hall, staircase and Inner Hall; and on either side of this central portion are arranged the various rooms and offices.

The general appearance of the smaller Queen Anne and Georgian house has often been described in the novels of Thackeray, Dickens and others.

It is frequently set back from the road behind simple iron railings, and consists of a long, straight two-storied front raised upon a basement containing the kitchen and offices.

The principal features are the sash-windows symmetrically arranged with stout wooden bars, the central doorway with side consoles, entablature and pediment, displaying the owner's coat-of-arms, and a boldly projecting consoled cornice protecting the walls from the frequent showers of a rainswept country.

The house is generally crowned with a plain hipped roof, with simple dormer windows which complete the ensemble of an unpretentious work of art in consonance with eighteenth-century civilization.

Many of the smaller examples in towns, owing to the cost of land, are attached buildings, and depend mainly on the distribution of their windows and well-proportioned entrance doorways for effect.

Next: Victorian Houses.

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