THE WALL PANELlING DESIGNS OF WILLIAM KENT
Hertfordshire. " The Little house of his invention," as he terms it, Argyll House, Kings Road, Chelsea, is notable for its being the first building in the pale-tinted bricks that have for more than a century been the normal material of London houses. Lord Burlington employed Campbell, but his chief instrument was William Kent (1684-1748), whose work as architect and designer of furniture and wall panelling decoration has made his name well known. His principal building is Hackham Hall, Norfolk, and his most successful one is undoubtedly the Horse-guards Whitehall. He had the power of investing a simple and restrained treatment with an air of interest and repose. Kent published a book comprising Designs of Inigo Jones, in the drawings for which he was assisted by Henry Flit croft (1697-1769) another protege of Lord Burlington. The latter built Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire, and (an earlier work) the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields (Fig. 126). There are one or two other names that should be mentioned among the architects of the first half of the century. Thomas Ripley (died 1758) was engaged by Wapole to carry out Campbell’s design for Houghton House. He was also at work at Greenwich Hospital and built the Admiralty was the designer of Chesterfield House, Mayfair, and he had a considerable practice in London, being responsible for a number of the excellent wall paneling designs in houses in Mayfair and Bloomsbury, over which the metropolis was then spreading. John Vardy
WALL PANELING THE REACTION TO THE CHANGE IN STYLE AND DESIGN
(died 1765), who was associated with Kent as pupil and assistant, designed the charming Spencer House in the Green Park, St. James's (Fig. 128). George Dance, the elder (1698-1768), official architect to the City of London, is best known by the Mansion House, and among his churches by that of St. Leonard's, Shore ditch.
The architects whom we have mentioned above represent the course of wall paneling in architecture as far as the opening years of George ills reign. From 1660, the date of his accession, there are immediate signs of a coming change. With the exception of Vanbrugh and to a lesser extent Hawks moor, in both of whom we find tendencies towards the Baroque (the name for that style in France and Italy which permitted a licence with the scale and conventions of classical architecture) there had been by common consent a concerted resolution to confine design within the limits of academic rules and proportions. Gibbs, it is true, had allowed himself the freedom which we associate with Wren, and in not a few instances of other men's work, we see the influence of his versatility. But the wall paneling style in Palladianism of the first half of the century was as we have seen in a measure a reaction from Wren. From this time onwards we are chiefly concerned with reactions from the doctrines of Palladia. These reactions are mainly three in number. In 1762 Stuart and Revet published their Antiquities of Athens whence came ultimately a revival of Greek architecture. The more far-reaching work of Winckelmann, The History of Ancient Art was issued in 1764. Robert Adam, who measured up Diocletian's Palace at Spallation in 1757, published his drawings in 1764, and the enthusiastic students who followed him, prepared the way for a new fashion in the late Roman ornament of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In 1762 Horace Walpole published his Anecdotes of Painting, in which was contained the first serious advocacy of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages, and from which we may date the earliest signal for the revival of Gothic." The student may ask himself wherein did these revivals differ from the great revival of classical art which we know as the Renaissance. The answer lies in the character of the art which it was sought to revive, for Greek, late Roman, anc Gothic modes are the specific embodiment of certain phases e: civilisation, and have not the general fitness for adaptation t - modern life that is the conspicuous quality of the main output
GARDEN ARCHITECTURE TO TRACE DESIGN FROM GEOMETRIC WALL PANELLING
the Renaissance wall panelling designs. Hence we name these revivals as merely a form of eclecticism, a passing fancy uprooted in the practical realities of the age. In the reign of George in there were still several eminent architects and many of obscure name who scarcely bowed to the new gods. James Paine (1725-1789), an extraordinarily able designer, had a large practice throughout the country. He built Workshop Manor and made the first design for Kedleston Hall. Sir Robert Taylor (1714-1788) was also widely employed and built in London, Stone Buildings, and Lincoln’s Inn. But Sir William Chambers (1726-1796) was the chief and most distinguished champion of the Palladian style in the latter part of the century and if his great work, Somerset House, had been his only production he would have richly deserved the high position he holds in the world of architecture.
Throughout the country many provincial men were doing excellent work. John Carr of York (1723-1807) had a large northern practice. John Wood the elder, who died in 1754, was followed by his son (1727-1782), and together they built the fine city of Bath, and the beautiful house that overlooks it, Prior Park (Fig. 134). Their work was ably continued by others, notably Thomas Baldwin (1750-1820) whose work is shown in Fig. 136. James Gannon (1742-1823) beautified Dublin with its Custom House, the Four Courts, etc. And finally, in London, George Dance the younger (1741-1825) produced one of the best triumphs of xvinth century design in New gate. In country towns and villages many a man whose name is practically unknown was producing here an excellent church, there a fine house, every example being a recognizable and reputable member of the Palladian family.
It may be imagined that side by side with these great architectural enterprises, there would be a development of gardens and garden architecture as well as the arts of sculpture and of decoration, especially mural painting. There is not space to do more than mention the elaborate schemes and formal pleasure grounds that formed the setting for the palatial houses of the day, but it is necessary to mention the names at least of the principal sculptors. In the days of the early Renaissance, sculptor and architect were not infrequently one and the same person, and in the xvnth century the sculptor seemed to have had a big share in architectural design. The elevation of the architect, in the
WALL PANELLING DESIGNS SOME FAMOUS SCULPTORS
xvntth century, to a status involving more autocratic control of the arts, reduced the independence of the sculptor, but did not minimize the importance of his work. After Nicholas Stone, the chief names of the Charles ii period were Caius Gabriel Cibber (1630-1700), John Bushnell (died 1701) and Grilling Gibbons (1648-1721). Then we have Francis Bird (1667-1731), the author of the beautiful monument to Dr. Busby, in Westminster Abbey, the family of Stanton, of whom Edward carried out at least 140 monuments, Peter Scheemaker (1690-1771), John Michael Rickrack (1693-1770), Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823), and greater than them all, Louis Francois Roubiliac (c. 1702-1762). To these sculptors we owe not only much of the fine carving with which Wren and his successors adorned their buildings doubt their influence extended beyond the mere ornament-but also that inexhaustible storehouse of the portraiture, manners and art-ideals of the time, which the memorials in all our churches preserve for us (Fig. 132). This rich field for the study of the period has been largely neglected owing to a narrow and modern prejudice against classical monuments. It therefore holds out the greater reward for those who will look at these works of art with seeing eyes, for they are a veritable mirror of the fashions and aspirations of a great period.