Gothic Revival Architecture
Picturesque style Architecture
During the Georgian period London surpassed Amsterdam to become the wealthiest city in the Western world. At this same
period London was rebuilt in opulent architecture, much of it neoclassical. The elegant garden squares in
the suburbs west of London date from this period. First the agricultural revolution and later the trade wealth
pouring into London enriched the great landed families so that many Great Houses were built on their country
estates. Other families rose on the tide of national wealth from merchant and banking roots to join the upper class,
buying land and building their own expensive townhouses and country mansions.
These architects designed the new buildings that transformed London and England:
Robert Adam (1728-1792) was particularly
known for his interiors based on classical decoration.
Robert Adam was responsible for much Georgian development in London, including the layout
of Portland Place, Apsley House, the remodel of
Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath,
Lansdowne House, and the
facade of the
Admiralty in Whitehall. He also designed a significant number of country seats throughout Britain
including Syon House,
Harewood House, Osterley Park,
Bowood, Croome Court, Mersham-le-Hatch, and
Thomas Archer (1668-1743) known for his continental baroque style
was the architect of St John's, Smith Square and other churches in London.
He designed the north side of Chatsworth and the Cascade House
at Chatsworth in 1702.
William Blackburn designed the 1780 Watermen and Lightermen Guild Hall.
William Blackburn was the leading prison architect of the day. His design aimed to provide the inmates with dry and airy cells.
Lancelot "Capability " Brown (1716-1783)
was best know as a landscape designer, but he was also an architect who designed both the house
and its park on several occasions. Redgrave Hall
in Norfolk and the 2nd Viscount Palmerston's house
Broadlands in Hampshire are examples of his architectural work.
Brown came to the famous garden at Stowe in 1741 where he worked with William Kent
and John Vanbrugh. In 1764 Brown was appointed Master Gardener at Hampton Court. His nickname 'Capability' came from his
fondness for saying a country estate had great 'capability' for improvement. Brown described himself
as a 'place-maker'. His simple formula of grass, trees, and water in a rolling landscape with hills
emphasised by trees planted at their crests is recognized
as a stroke of genius. The lakes in his landscapes are large enough to reflect the sky and curve away
to leave their size a mystery to the eye. The landscape though expensive to create was maintained for
nothing by the four legged lawn mowers natural to a country estate. Judicious harvesting and replanting
of trees provided an income beyond that produced by the animals raised on the estate.
Colen Campbell (1676-1729) was a leader of the fashionable
neo-classical revival. In 1717 Henry Hoare I,
the son of Sir Richard Hoare founder of the family bank,
purchased the manor of Stourton.
He immediately demolished the existing house and employed Colen Campbell to build its replacement.
as Hoare named his new home, was one of the first Palladian houses to be built in England.
Campbell designed Mereworth in Kent, built on a model from
Villa Rotonda near Vincenza.
Sir William Chambers (1726-1796) used his
position as drawing teacher to the Prince of Wales, later George III, to launch his career. He was
architect of Somerset House, and of the Pagoda
in Kew Gardens. The Pagoda examplified his
philosophy known as Ornamental Gardening. Chambers was the chief critic of Brown's simple landscape
George Dance the Elder (1695-1768)
Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, which was
first occupied in 1752.
George Dance the Younger (1741-1825)
designed the Church of All Hallows on London Wall in 1765.
Henry Flitcroft (1687-1769), his private commissions included country houses, town houses, churches, and garden buildings.
Flitcroft's early training under Burlington and his acquaintance with the designs of
Inigo Jones and
Andrea Palladio effected all of his work.
He is the architect who designed the classical eyecatchers in the garden at
Stourhead; he was
the only professional employed in the creation of the garden.
James Gibbs (1682-1754)
the Scottish architect James Gibbs built the baroque
garden pavilion at Orleans House in 1721, at a time
when Gibbs was the most fashionable architect in England.
He also designed several important churches in the city of London, including
St Martin's-in-the-fields (1726),
and other public buildings such as St. Bartholomew's Hospital (1730).
Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736) though he
never visited Italy, he researched the works of Antiquity, the Renaissance and the English Middle Ages.
His studies of the Italian Baroque through engravings helped him to become a major figure of English Baroque.
He was an able assistant to Wren. He also assisted Sir John Vanbrugh on the construction of Castle Howard
in 1699 and on Blenheim Palace a few years later. Hawksmoor made his name with church and university
architecture rather than building houses for the wealthy. He was the architect of
Christ Church, at Spitalfields, London
and All Soul's College, Oxford.
Henry Holland (1745-1806)
trained under Capability Brown. He began his career by designing
Brooks's Club, St James's (1776-78). Holland converted York House
on Piccadilly into the Albany apartments (from 1802).
He designed the
Marine Pavilion at Brighton
for the Prince of Wales in 1787. The Marine Pavilion and Carlton House,
London (1783), exemplified his dignified neoclassicism.
Thomas Hopper (1776-1856) built the
Gothic conservatory at Carlton House for the Prince Regent. Hopper once stated "It is an architect's business to
understand all styles and be prejudiced in favor of none ", a rule which he himself followed, designing buildings
which varied from Tudor Gothic and Jacobean to Palladian and Greek.
He also design neo-Norman fantasies Gosford Castle for Archibald Acheson,
the 2nd Earl of Gosford, and
complete with elaborate carvings, plasterwork and mock-Norman furniture for the wealthy Pennant family,
who made their fortune from Jamaican sugar and Welsh slate.
John James (1672-1746) Architect
know for his red brick Georgian manor houses such as Appuldurcombe (Remodeled in the Palladian style in 1770.) on the Isle of Wight and
He designed and built Warbrook for his own use in 1727.
William Kent (1674- 1748) met
Lord Burlington in 1715 while Burlington was on his Grand Tour.
He painted several ceilings in the house and designed the grounds of
London for Burlington.
Kent is the father of the "picturesque ", or English landscape garden. He also designed the Horse Guards,
John Nash (1752-1835) is best known for his buildings
in the neo-classical and picturesque styles. He transformed
London by conceiving, designing and developing Regent's Street and Regent's Park from 1813-32.
Nash worked on Buckingham Palace from 1825-30.
The lake side facade remains as he designed it. John Nash designed the eccentric picturesque Royal Pavillion
in a mixture of classical and Indian styles.
J. B. Papworth (1775-1847) (John Buonarotti Papworth) architect known for his charming and playful
designs for garden architecture published in
his book Rural Residences, 1818.
Sir John Soane (1753-1837)
designer of the Bank of England was trained
by George Dance the Younger and Henry Holland.
(1650- 1719) Rebuilt east front of Dyrham Park, 1689.
He redesigned much of Chatsworth
for the first Duke of Devonshire.
Talman was the architect for the Palladian Kimberley Hall, Norfolk.
John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) know for his expansive,
ostentatious, and theatrical style. His best-known buildings
are Blenheim Palace,
Castle Howard, the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket,
and Seaton Delaval.
Christopher Wren (1632-1723) London's Great Fire
of 1666 gave Wren a chance to present a scheme to rebuild the city. He designed many buildings including Greenwich Hospital and
Saint Paul's Cathedral. Wren's work predates
Georgian rule, however he is included here because many of his buildings were landmarks in Georgian England.
Benjamin Dean Wyatt (1775-1850), the son and pupil of James Wyatt, succeeded his father as surveyor
(1813-27) at Westminster Abbey. He began the rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre and wrote
Observations on the Design for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (1813). The Duke
of York's Column was erected to his designs in 1834 and his designs were used in the creation
of Trafalgar Square.
James Wyatt (1746-1813) worked in many styles but is best
known as one of the originators of the Gothic revival. On the death of Sir William Chambers in 1796, he was
appointed surveyor-general to the Board of Works. Among the many residences he designed in various
parts of England was the architecturally influential
Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire, built
(1796-1807) for William Beckford (the eccentric author of Vathek).
Wyatt was one of the imitators of Adam's
interiors to Adam's deep irritation. Heaton Hall is another example of Wyatt's work.
Jeffery Wyatville (1766-1840) He was the nephew of James and Samuel Wyatt,
two of the leading English architects of the time. He was one of the leading proponents of the Picturesque style.
His masterpiece was the romantic remodeling of Windsor Castle
for George IV, earning him the distinctive suffix "ville ", and a knighthood in 1828.
Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807) the elder brother
of James Wyatt was an architect and engineer. He designed the Mansion at Tatton
for William Egerton in 1791.
He was the consultant engineer to Trinity House, Headquarters of the Lighthouse Service, between 1776-1807. In 1793 he designed the
Trinity House headquarters at Tower Hill in London, which was completed in 1795.
The following anecdote sums up very well the temper of the age of NeoClassical architecture.
Lord Burlington the famous arbiter of taste was an amateur architect. He designed a house for
General Wade complained that the house was not comfortable. Whereon Lord Chesterfield
advised him to take a house on the opposite side of the road where he could look at his own.
The advice is not so humorously far fetched as you may imagine. It was actually rather common to construct a
teahouse or prospect house from which
to view the lovely scene of one's new country house situated in a perfect landscape setting.
This site last updated September 2002 by