British Classicism to 1700 and the Search for a National Architectural Style

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In 1624 the English diplomat Henry Wotton (1568–1639) noted the “naturall imbecility” of pointed arches, and advised that they “ought to bee exiled from judicious eyes, and left to their first inventors, the Gothes or Lumbards, amongst other Reliques of that barbarous Age.” Wotton had served as Stuart ambassador to Venice, and was a keen advocate of the use of the antique columns (or “orders”) that he had witnessed there. He was writing at a time when there were early signs of a fundamental change in the accepted style of British court buildings and in the architectural fashion that they led. This shift in fashion had spread north from Italy during the sixteenth century. The Banqueting House by Inigo Jones (1573–1652) had only just been completed at Whitehall (1619–23), and the ground story of his Queen's House now stood at Greenwich (1616–18). English construction practices were moving away from the mixture of rich medieval and antique decoration that had been favored by Elizabethan courtiers, toward the more restrained and exclusive use of antique ornament and forms that is evident in most of Jones’ work. These forms were derived from Italian sources and included, for the first time under Jones, temple fronts with pediments and porticoes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompanion to the History of Architecture
Subtitle of host publicationRenaissance and Baroque Architecture
EditorsAlina Payne
Place of PublicationChichester, U. K.
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781118887226
ISBN (Print)9781444338515
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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