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GEORGIAN STYLE

AND THE RENAISSANCE IN EUROPE

 

Britain, being an island and so far from the European culture, geographically and characteristically, was the last country to fall under the influence of the new movement of the Renaissance, reaching the island by way of Prance and the Netherlands.

 

The Renaissance had a strong recognition of the inherent human right to enjoyment of life; a new order had already been formed when the Renaissance reached Britain, the people having thrown off the ecclesiastical domination, so were ready to accept the new thinking.

 

As late as the end of the 18th century, the population of England and Wales was 8 million, one million of these residing in London, with Norwich and Bristol being next in order of importance in Britain. The general increase in wealth and the rise in standards of comfort are seen in the extant numbers of Georgian town houses.

Anglicisation of design, style and gardens took place in the reigns of Queen Anne and the four Georges, producing convenient and comfortable housing to suit the needs of the increasing middle classes, arising out of the general prosperity promoted by international trade and cooperation, stemming from the Peace of Utrecht in 1713.

 

In Italy, Classicism began in 1500 until 1600, when Baroque held until 1760 and the Antiquarian movement took over. In France, Classical .design began in 1589 and lasted until 1715, the Late Style continuing until 1830; Whereas in England, Elizabethan, Jacobean and Stuart were distinctly English, the full European influence not taking a foothold until the Georgian period.

 

Georgian Style relates to the period 1702 - 1830, the specific period of 1728 to 1745, being the time of Edmond Prideaux at Prideaux Place, Padstow, being in George II reign of 1727 - 1760. This was the era of Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh, Archer; The English Baroque being supplanted, before it had run it's course, by the Palladian phase. James Gibb, a devotee of the Baroque from 1709, was accommodated into the Palladian by 1714. Palladianism held the country from 1710 - 1750, books by Campbell & Leoni did much to promote it's restrained Classicism, most acceptable to English tastes.

 

The Earl of Burlington, taken with Colin Campbell's "Vitruvius Britanicus", visited Italy a second time in 1719, returning with William Kent. Lord Burlington, himself, became a designer, assisted by Henry Flitcroft; a protogee being Isaac Ware. Books proliferated on the new style, Batty Langley especially. Bath was under re-planning by the Woods, with the assistance of Ralph Allen. Town planning was ordered to the Palladian principles. Landscape art reached it's climax in the work of Lancelot ( Capability ) Brown.

 

 

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