Queen Anne and Georgian: 18th Century

A crescent at bath

A great deal of building in renaissance style, as that style had developed in Britain. s,, as done during the 18th century.

Nearly all houses, whether large or small, were symmetrical anyway as seen from ~h.e t ont,, . Wealthy people had huge mansions erected in great parks which were laid out by landscape Gardeners. Very often the house had a majestic central block -;ti,ith a great portico sheltering the front door. On either side of the central block, exactly matching each other, were lower wings which ,ti ere cone cted A4 ith the main block by straight or curved colonnades.

The largest and most impressions example of a mansion of this kind is Blenheim Palace. which was designed for the Duke of Marlborough by Vanbrugh. Others are Castle Howard, Yorkshire; Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire; Holkham Hail, Norfolk.

'Ye can see scores of smaller. simpler 18th-century houses all over the country. Usually the are rectangular with central ors and regularly spaced windows. Very often there is a dignified porch before the :from door, with classical columns to support the canopy. But towns (which were growing a a ~idea ii the 1% th center; j.- .u ,w-ili find something which I have sot seen before-rows of houses joined on to one another. Architects, for the rest time, were employed to design these terraces of houses and to plan whole districts, Leith streets, crescents, squares and circuses. There are examples of their work in London and many other large towns, but Bath is one of the finest examples of 18th-century town planning in Britain.

Queen Anne & Georgian Architecture

The doors of terrace houses are just as elegant, with their canopies and pediments, as those of detached houses. Over the door itself, below the canopy, there is a glass panel, to light the hall, and the delicate ribs which hold the glass are often arranged like the spokes of an open fan. We call them `fanlights'.

The sash windows in i 8th-century houses are not always the same size. Those which light the main rooms, on the first floor, may be the tallest, while those below them, on the ground floor, are a little shorter and those above them, lighting the second floor, are shorter still. Those lighting the top floor are square or nearly so. Sometimes the ground-floor windows are rounded at the top, and outside the first-floor windows there may be graceful little wrought-iron railings. Windows usually have an architrave round them.

Details, such as the glazing bars of windows, wrought-iron rails and balustrades, the plaster mouldings on ceilings, became more and more delicate and graceful during the 18th century.

Two brothers, Robert and James Adam, were famous architects of the period. Their finest rooms are sometimes rounded at each end and have round-headed niches for statues. The walls and ceilings are decorated with dainty patterns made up of fine lines framing round or oval plaques in which classical figures are painted in delicate colours. The Adam brothers based many of their designs on Ancient Greek patterns, particularly one which we call the Greek honey­suckle.

In some of our towns charming 18th-century shop-fronts have survived. There is one in the Haymarket, London. It has two bow windows, one on either side of a door approached by two steps. Over the door is a graceful fanlight, protected by a simple canopy.

Greek honeysuckle pattern

Staircase wrougth iron

Shop front

An adam room

 

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