The latter half of the eighteenth century was marked by an increasingly close attachment to the forms of ancient classic wall panelling oak panelling architecture, especially Greek, sometimes freakishly expressed in a more or less literal reproduction of temples, which made an incongruous appearance as villas, lodges, churches and banks—together with a wide use of Greek ornamental motifs, particularly of the anthemion or honeysuckle motive (Diagram XXVII). The phase lasted from about 1785-1835, and its results are chiefly to be seen in London, Cheltenham and Leamington and such seaside towns as Brighton, Worthing, Hastings and Plymouth.
Chandelier from Household Furniture by Thomas Hope 1807
The poorer buildings in acres of the East End of London are in a dark brick which gives a dreary, dull appearance, but most of the better buildings are distinguished by their complete covering of stucco painted white or fawnwith interior wall panelling oak panelling designs. It is commonly said of John Nash (1752-1835) that he found London all brick and left it all plaster : when unpainted, this looks dingy, but it can always be made bright and fresh by repainting. The stucco villas and terraces were derided during all the latter part of the XIXth century, but it is now realised that many of them have admirable qualities—good proportions, a restrained and effective dignity, and a delicate refinement in detail. As with the greater English country house, the work of this period is beginning to be appreciated just when it is vanishing, for the trim villas, the graceful terraces and the curious little lodges, with their green gardens, are being demolished wholesale every year, to be replaced by huge blocks of shops, offices and flats.
The restrained simplicity of Regency wall panelling oak panelling designs work is partly due to economic causes, which parallel present day conditions; much of its building was erected during the convulsions of a great European war or the financial stringency which followed it. As such it cannot fail to have an interest for us who exist under the same restrictions, and we can admire the taste of those who solved their problems with so happy a "mixture of the monumental and the unpretentious." Only the barest mention can be made of a few of the chief architects : of Henry Holland it may be claimed that his delicate and original domestic work in wall panelling oak panelling designs shades from the preceding Adam type to the Regency style. There are in addition John Nash, eminent in town-planning and responsible for much of the Regent's Park district of London; Decimus Burton (1800-1882), who erected Clarence Terrace, the Screen at Hyde Park Corner and many lodges in Hyde Park ; Papworth, Wilkins, Foulston, the latter of whose work is limited to Plymouth and the west of England, and most original of all, Sir John Soane, best known for his house wall panelling oak panelling designs in Lincoln's Inn Fields, now the Soane Museum, and his work at the Bank of England.
Interior Drawn by Henry Moses circa 1823
One feature of the style is the use of subtly curved bays, carried up three or four storeys, notably in seaside terraces, where their shallow segmental projections in repetition are remarkably effective. Frequently, a country house has a segmental or semi-circular central bay, more rarely capped by a dome. Coupled with this is the use of balconies with solid or light cast-iron railings of bold and distinctive patterns. The use of treillage is a distinctive feature, and the verandahs are often surmounted by lean-to curved roofs covered with metal : in Soane's Moggerhanger in Bedfordshire the verandah is carried up the whole height of the house. At Cheltenham local craftsmen evolved a special type of ironwork reminiscent in its light delicacy of the smithcraft of a century earlier. Larger country houses are occasionally provided with a Doric portico or with two, as in The Grange, Alresford, by W. Wilkins. The Orders are often used as pilasters or in massive fashion wall panelling oak panelling designs, as in the Regent's Park terraces, and the whole length of a row of house facades is characteristically treated as one composition with engaged colonnades at the centre and ends. Again, pilaster-like projections without capitals, and a recessed portion within a slightly projecting semi-circular arch are typical. The exterior doors are often ornamented with nail-head patterns and surmounted by effective fanlights.
Picture Frame from Wall Panelling Oak Panelling Designs
The shop-fronts of the time are among its pleasantest and most refined productions. With well-spaced slender sash-bars and deft touches of decorative detail, they achieve an elegance characteristic of the period. Naturally under commercial conditions the casualties among shop-fronts have been wholesale ; we can only be thankful for the few that remain in situ—such as the Chemist's in Torrington Place, the shop in Artillery Row, and the hydrographers by St. Margaret Pattens ; in addition some survivors are exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum. For their appearance in series Woburn Buildings by St. Pancras Church, Goodwin's Court, St. Martin's Lane, and the reconstructed street at Hull Museum, can still be cited, but they are seen to most advantage in contemporary prints.
In the best interiors wall panelling oak panelling designs the effect of the restrained decoration in cast and modelled plaster cannot be adequately conveyed in a drawing or photograph. Soane especially was averse to the interior use of the Orders, and as at Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing (now the Public Library), designed domed and vaulted interiors, possibly derived from the Roman Thermae. The Interiors of his Bank of England, so far as they survive, form a memorable series. Generally, the incorporation of shallow elliptical domes and curved ends to rooms with wall panelling oak panelling designs is an effective feature.
Decoration is usually confined to a repeating anthemion in the wall panelling oak panelling designs frieze, with an occasional oval or circular panel in the ceiling. In the richer houses the walls were sometimes hung with silk and French draperies, or with amusing scenic wallpapers or wall panelling oak panelling designs which have usually; "masonic" wallpapers of grained or marbled type (usually varnished) were also common, and examples of these have occasionally survived the XIXth century conviction that they were reprehensible shams. Interior doors are most typically surrounded by parallel reed mouldings, interrupted at the corners by a square containing a patera, rosette or lion's mask. The chimney-pieces (Diagram XXVII) usually follow the lines of the doors, with bundles of reed mouldings, lion-masks, rosettes and similar motifs, occasionally worked into slight curves on the upright members, affording some variety in detail with strong general similarity. Sometimes dragons and similar grotesque motifs are incorporated, as at Foley Place, lately demolished, and the Brighton Pavilion. There is also an occasional use of a low pediment, a feature not altogether unknown on the exterior. Staircases are generally curved in plan, with stone treads and ironwork balustrades incorporating the anthemion motif, or in curious sharp contrast, a rather naturalistic treatment of ivy or bay leaf design, sometimes with berries, a motive also to be found in the fireplace.
Interior Drawn by Henry Moses circa 1823
The furniture is stamped with the same forms and qualities as the exterior and interior architecture, with which it is fully in harmony, without going to the extremes of literal reproduction as shown in Thomas Hope's "Book of Wall panelling Oak panelling Designs" (1807). The paucity of surviving examples makes the little drawings of Henry Moses 1 (pages 36 and 3 8) all the more precious ; filled with figures in " Grecian" costume they record a fleeting phase of English art of which the country is almost bereft, but which can claim to be one of the most delicate achievements of its chequered course.
As alternatives to the " chaste Grecian," a few essays were made in the Egyptian style 2 and in a far from medieval Gothic, adapted for large domestic buildings such as Ashridge and Lowther. The Oriental taste, revived under the Prince Regent, has its monument in that odd excrescence, the Pavilion at Brighton.
Changed social habits, machinery and scientific progress completed the break up of the old vernacular traditions which had safeguarded the building arts through so many centuries. Until a hundred years ago everything was comely and in good taste. Nothing discordant had been evolved or would have been tolerated either in church and house or in town and country. Since then architecture in England has been eclectic.