Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1714 and 1830. It is named after the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I, George II, George III, and George IV—who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. The so-called great Georgian cities of the British Isles were Edinburgh, Bath, pre-independence Dublin, and London, and to a lesser extent York and Bristol.The style was revived in the late 19th century in the United States as Colonial Revival architecture and in the early 20th century in Great Britain as Neo-Georgian architecture; in both it is also called Georgian Revival architecture. In the United States the term "Georgian" is generally used to describe all buildings from the period, regardless of style; in Britain it is generally restricted to buildings that are "architectural in intention", and have stylistic characteristics that are typical of the period, though that covers a wide range.
The Georgian style is highly variable, but marked by symmetry and proportion based on the classical architecture of Greece and Rome, as revived in Renaissance architecture. Ornament is also normally in the classical tradition, but typically restrained, and sometimes almost completely absent on the exterior. The period brought the vocabulary of classical architecture to smaller and more modest buildings than had been the case before, replacing English vernacular architecture (or becoming the new vernacular style) for almost all new middle-class homes and public buildings by the end of the period.
Georgian architecture is characterized by its proportion and balance; simple mathematical ratios were used to determine the height of a window in relation to its width or the shape of a room as a double cube. Regularity, as with ashlar (uniformly cut) stonework, was strongly approved, imbuing symmetry and adherence to classical rules: the lack of symmetry, where Georgian additions were added to earlier structures remaining visible, was deeply felt as a flaw, at least before John Nash began to introduce it in a variety of styles.Regularity of housefronts along a street was a desirable feature of Georgian town planning. Until the start of the Gothic Revival in the early 19th century, Georgian designs usually lay within the Classical orders of architecture and employed a decorative vocabulary derived from ancient Rome or Greece.
In towns, which expanded greatly during the period, landowners turned into property developers, and rows of identical terraced houses became the norm.Even the wealthy were persuaded to live in these in town, especially if provided with a square of garden in front of the house. There was an enormous amount of building in the period, all over the English-speaking world, and the standards of construction were generally high. Where they have not been demolished, large numbers of Georgian buildings have survived two centuries or more, and they still form large parts of the core of cities such as London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Newcastle upon Tyne and Bristol.
The period saw the growth of a distinct and trained architectural profession; before the mid-century "the high-sounding title, 'architect' was adopted by anyone who could get away with it".This contrasted with earlier styles, which were primarily disseminated among craftsmen through the direct experience of the apprenticeship system. But most buildings were still designed by builders and landlords together, and the wide spread of Georgian architecture, and the Georgian styles of design more generally, came from dissemination through pattern books and inexpensive suites of engravings. Authors such as the prolific William Halfpenny (active 1723–1755) had editions in America as well as Britain.
A similar phenomenon can be seen in the commonality of housing designs in Canada and the United States (though of a wider variety of styles) from the 19th century down to the 1950s, using pattern books drawn up by professional architects that were distributed by lumber companies and hardware stores to contractors and homebuilders.
From the mid-18th century, Georgian styles were assimilated into an architectural vernacular that became part and parcel of the training of every architect, designer, builder, carpenter, mason and plasterer, from Edinburgh to Maryland.
Georgian succeeded the English Baroque of Sir Christopher Wren, Sir John Vanbrugh, Thomas Archer, William Talman, and Nicholas Hawksmoor; this in fact continued into at least the 1720s, overlapping with a more restrained Georgian style. The architect James Gibbs was a transitional figure, his earlier buildings are Baroque, reflecting the time he spent in Rome in the early 18th century, but he adjusted his style after 1720.Major architects to promote the change in direction from Baroque were Colen Campbell, author of the influential book Vitruvius Britannicus (1715–1725); Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and his protégé William Kent; Isaac Ware; Henry Flitcroft and the Venetian Giacomo Leoni, who spent most of his career in England.
Other prominent architects of the early Georgian period include James Paine, Robert Taylor, and John Wood, the Elder. The European Grand Tour became very common for wealthy patrons in the period, and Italian influence remained dominant,though at the start of the period Hanover Square, Westminster (1713 on), developed and occupied by Whig supporters of the new dynasty, seems to have deliberately adopted German stylistic elements in their honour, especially vertical bands connecting the windows.
The styles that resulted fall within several categories. In the mainstream of Georgian style were both Palladian architecture—and its whimsical alternatives, Gothic and Chinoiserie, which were the English-speaking world's equivalent of European Rococo. From the mid-1760s a range of Neoclassical modes were fashionable, associated with the British architects Robert Adam, James Gibbs, Sir William Chambers, James Wyatt, George Dance the Younger, Henry Holland and Sir John Soane. John Nash was one of the most prolific architects of the late Georgian era known as The Regency style, he was responsible for designing large areas of London.Greek Revival architecture was added to the repertory, beginning around 1750, but increasing in popularity after 1800. Leading exponents were William Wilkins and Robert Smirke.
In Britain, brick or stone are almost invariably used;brick is often disguised with stucco. The Georgian terraces of Dublin are noted for their almost uniform use of red brick, for example, whereas equivalent terraces in Edinburgh are constructed from stone. In America and other colonies wood remained very common, as its availability and cost-ratio with the other materials was more favourable. Raked roofs were mostly covered in earthenware tiles until Richard Pennant, 1st Baron Penrhyn led the development of the slate industry in Wales from the 1760s, which by the end of the century had become the usual material.
Versions of revived Palladian architecture dominated English country house architecture. Houses were increasingly placed in grand landscaped settings, and large houses were generally made wide and relatively shallow, largely to look more impressive from a distance. The height was usually highest in the centre, and the Baroque emphasis on corner pavilions often found on the continent generally avoided. In grand houses, an entrance hall led to steps up to a piano nobile or mezzanine floor where the main reception rooms were. Typically the basement area or "rustic", with kitchens, offices and service areas, as well as male guests with muddy boots,came some way above ground, and was lit by windows that were high on the inside, but just above ground level outside. A single block was typical, with perhaps a small court for carriages at the front marked off by railings and a gate, but rarely a stone gatehouse, or side wings around the court.
Windows in all types of buildings were large and regularly placed on a grid; this was partly to minimize window tax, which was in force throughout the period in the United Kingdom. Some windows were subsequently bricked-in. Their height increasingly varied between the floors, and they increasingly began below waist-height in the main rooms, making a small balcony desirable. Before this the internal plan and function of the rooms can generally not be deduced from the outside. To open these large windows the sash window, already developed by the 1670s, became very widespread.Corridor plans became universal inside larger houses.
Internal courtyards became more rare, except beside the stables, and the functional parts of the building were placed at the sides, or in separate buildings nearby hidden by trees. The views to and from the front and rear of the main block were concentrated on, with the side approaches usually much less important. The roof was typically invisible from the ground, though domes were sometimes visible in grander buildings. The roofline was generally clear of ornament except for a balustrade or the top of a pediment.Columns or pilasters, often topped by a pediment, were popular for ornament inside and out, and other ornament was generally geometrical or plant-based, rather than using the human figure.
Inside ornament was far more generous, and could sometimes be overwhelming.The chimneypiece continued to be the usual main focus of rooms, and was now given a classical treatment, and increasingly topped by a painting or a mirror. Plasterwork ceilings, carved wood, and bold schemes of wallpaint formed a backdrop to increasingly rich collections of furniture, paintings, porcelain, mirrors, and objets d'art of all kinds. Wood-panelling, very common since about 1500, fell from favour around the mid-century, and wallpaper included very expensive imports from China.
Smaller houses in the country, such as vicarages, were simple regular blocks with visible raked roofs, and a central doorway, often the only ornamented area. Similar houses, often referred to as "villas" became common around the fringes of the larger cities, especially London,and detached houses in towns remained common, though only the very rich could afford them in central London.
In towns even most better-off people lived in terraced houses, which typically opened straight onto the street, often with a few steps up to the door. There was often an open space, protected by iron railings, dropping down to the basement level, with a discreet entrance down steps off the street for servants and deliveries; this is known as the "area".This meant that the ground floor front was now removed and protected from the street and encouraged the main reception rooms to move there from the floor above. Often, when a new street or set of streets was developed, the road and pavements were raised up, and the gardens or yards behind the houses remained at a lower level, usually representing the original one.
Town terraced houses for all social classes remained resolutely tall and narrow, each dwelling occupying the whole height of the building. This contrasted with well-off continental dwellings, which had already begun to be formed of wide apartments occupying only one or two floors of a building; such arrangements were only typical in England when housing groups of batchelors, as in Oxbridge colleges, the lawyers in the Inns of Court or The Albany after it was converted in 1802.In the period in question, only in Edinburgh were working-class purpose-built tenements common, though lodgers were common in other cities. A curving crescent, often looking out at gardens or a park, was popular for terraces where space allowed. In early and central schemes of development, plots were sold and built on individually, though there was often an attempt to enforce some uniformity, but as development reached further out schemes were increasingly built as a uniform scheme and then sold.
The late Georgian period saw the birth of the semi-detached house, planned systematically, as a suburban compromise between the terraced houses of the city and the detached "villas" further out, where land was cheaper. There had been occasional examples in town centres going back to medieval times. Most early suburban examples are large, and in what are now the outer fringes of Central London, but were then in areas being built up for the first time. Blackheath, Chalk Farm and St John's Wood are among the areas contesting being the original home of the semi.Sir John Summerson gave primacy to the Eyre Estate of St John's Wood. A plan for this exists dated 1794, where "the whole development consists of pairs of semi-detached houses, So far as I know, this is the first recorded scheme of the kind". In fact the French Wars put an end to this scheme, but when the development was finally built it retained the semi-detached form, "a revolution of striking significance and far-reaching effect".
Until the Church Building Act 1818, the period saw relatively few churches built in Britain, which was already well-supplied,although in the later years of the period the demand for Non-conformist and Roman Catholic places of worship greatly increased. Anglican churches that were built were designed internally to allow maximum audibility, and visibility, for preaching, so the main nave was generally wider and shorter than in medieval plans, and often there were no side-aisles. Galleries were common in new churches. Especially in country parishes, the external appearance generally retained the familiar signifiers of a Gothic church, with a tower or spire, a large west front with one or more doors, and very large windows along the nave, but all with any ornament drawn from the classical vocabulary. Where funds permitted, a classical temple portico with columns and a pediment might be used at the west front. Interior decoration was generally chaste; however, walls often became lined with plaques and monuments to the more prosperous members of the congregation.
In the colonies new churches were certainly required, and generally repeated similar formulae. British Non-conformist churches were often more classical in mood, and tended not to feel the need for a tower or steeple.
The archetypal Georgian church is St Martin-in-the-Fields in London (1720), by Gibbs, who boldly added to the classical temple façade at the west end a large steeple on top of a tower, set back slightly from the main frontage. This formula shocked purists and foreigners, but became accepted and was very widely emulated, at home and in the colonies,for example at St Andrew's Church, Chennai in India. And in Dublin, the extremely similar St. George's Church, Dublin.
The 1818 Act allocated some public money for new churches required to reflect changes in population, and a commission to allocate it. Building of Commissioners' churches gathered pace in the 1820s, and continued until the 1850s. The early churches, falling into the Georgian period, show a high proportion of Gothic Revival buildings, along with the classically inspired.
Public buildings generally varied between the extremes of plain boxes with grid windows and Italian Late Renaissance palaces, depending on budget. Somerset House in London, designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776 for government offices, was as magnificent as any country house, though never quite finished, as funds ran out.Barracks and other less prestigious buildings could be as functional as the mills and factories that were growing increasingly large by the end of the period. But as the period came to an end many commercial projects were becoming sufficiently large, and well-funded, to become "architectural in intention", rather than having their design left to the lesser class of "surveyors".
Georgian architecture was widely disseminated in the English colonies during the Georgian era. American buildings of the Georgian period were very often constructed of wood with clapboards; even columns were made of timber, framed up, and turned on an oversized lathe. At the start of the period the difficulties of obtaining and transporting brick or stone made them a common alternative only in the larger cities, or where they were obtainable locally. Dartmouth College, Harvard University and the College of William and Mary offer leading examples of Georgian architecture in the Americas.
Unlike the Baroque style that it replaced, which was mostly used for palaces and churches, and had little representation in the British colonies, simpler Georgian styles were widely used by the upper and middle classes. Perhaps the best remaining house is the pristine Hammond-Harwood House (1774) in Annapolis, Maryland, designed by the colonial architect William Buckland and modelled on the Villa Pisani at Montagnana, Italy as depicted in Andrea Palladio's I quattro libri dell'architettura ("The Four Books of Architecture").
After independence, in the former American colonies, Federal-style architecture represented the equivalent of Regency architecture, with which it had much in common.
In Canada, the United Empire Loyalists embraced Georgian architecture as a sign of their fealty to Britain, and the Georgian style was dominant in the country for most of the first half of the 19th century. The Grange, for example, is a Georgian manor built in Toronto in 1817. In Montreal, English-born architect John Ostell worked on a significant number of remarkable constructions in the Georgian style such as the Old Montreal Custom House and the Grand séminaire de Montréal.
In Australia, the Old Colonial Georgian residential and non-residential styles were developed in the period from c. 1810 – c. 1840.
After about 1840, Georgian conventions were slowly abandoned as a number of revival styles, including Gothic Revival, that had originated in the Georgian period, developed and contested in Victorian architecture, and in the case of Gothic became better researched, and closer to their originals. Neoclassical architecture remained popular, and was the opponent of Gothic in the Battle of the Styles of the early Victorian period. In the United States the Federalist Style contained many elements of Georgian style, but incorporated revolutionary symbols.
In the early decades of the twentieth century when there was a growing nostalgia for its sense of order, the style was revived and adapted and in the United States came to be known as the Colonial Revival. The revived Georgian style that emerged in Britain during the same period is usually referred to as Neo-Georgian; the work of Edwin Lutyensand Vincent Harris includes some examples. The British town of Welwyn Garden City, established in the 1920s, is an example of pastiche or Neo-Georgian development of the early 20th century in Britain. Versions of the Neo-Georgian style were commonly used in Britain for certain types of urban architecture until the late 1950s, Bradshaw Gass & Hope's Police Headquarters in Salford of 1958 being a good example. Architects such as Raymond Erith, and Donald McMorran were among the few architects who continued the neo-Georgian style into the 1960s. Both in the United States and Britain, the Georgian style is still employed by architects like Quinlan Terry, Julian Bicknell, Ben Pentreath, Robert Adam Architects, and Fairfax and Sammons for private residences. A debased form in commercial housing developments, especially in the suburbs, is known in the UK as mock-Georgian.
Regency architecture encompasses classical buildings built in the United Kingdom during the Regency era in the early 19th century when George IV was Prince Regent, and also to earlier and later buildings following the same style. The period coincides with the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Federal style in the United States and the French Empire style. Regency style is also applied to interior design and decorative arts of the period, typified by elegant furniture and vertically striped wallpaper, and to styles of clothing; for men, as typified by the dandy Beau Brummell and for women the Empire silhouette.
In architecture and city planning, a terrace or terraced house (UK) or townhouse (US) is a form of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century, whereby a row of attached dwellings share side walls. In the United States and Canada they are also known as row houses or row homes, found in older cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Toronto.
Victorian architecture is a series of architectural revival styles in the mid-to-late 19th century. Victorian refers to the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901), called the Victorian era, during which period the styles known as Victorian were used in construction. However, many elements of what is typically termed "Victorian" architecture did not become popular until later in Victoria's reign, roughly from 1850 and later. The styles often included interpretations and eclectic revivals of historic styles (see Historicism). The name represents the British and French custom of naming architectural styles for a reigning monarch. Within this naming and classification scheme, it followed Georgian architecture and later Regency architecture, and was succeeded by Edwardian architecture.
Palladian architecture is a European architectural style derived from the work of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). What is today recognised as Palladian architecture evolved from his concepts of symmetry, perspective and the principles of formal classical architecture from ancient Greek and Roman traditions. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Palladio's interpretation of this classical architecture developed into the style known as Palladianism.
The architecture of the Republic of Ireland is one of the most visible features in the Irish countryside – with remains from all eras since the Stone Age abounding. Ireland is famous for its ruined and intact Norman and Anglo-Irish castles, small whitewashed thatched cottages and Georgian urban buildings. What are unaccountably somewhat less famous are the still complete Palladian and Rococo country houses which can be favourably compared to anything similar in northern Europe, and the country's many Gothic and neo-Gothic cathedrals and buildings.
The architecture of England is the architecture of modern England and in the historic Kingdom of England. It often includes buildings created under English influence or by English architects in other parts of the world, particularly in the English and later British colonies and Empire, which developed into the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Italianate style was a distinct 19th-century phase in the history of Classical architecture. Like Palladianism and Neoclassicism, the Italianate style drew its inspiration from the models and architectural vocabulary of 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture, synthesising these with picturesque aesthetics. The style of architecture that was thus created, though also characterised as "Neo-Renaissance", was essentially of its own time. "The backward look transforms its object," Siegfried Giedion wrote of historicist architectural styles; "every spectator at every period—at every moment, indeed—inevitably transforms the past according to his own nature."
The Jacobean style is the second phase of Renaissance architecture in England, following the Elizabethan style. It is named after King James VI and I, with whose reign it is associated. At the start of James' reign there was little stylistic break in architecture, as Elizabethan trends continued their development. However, his death in 1625 came as a decisive change towards more classical architecture, with Italian influence, was in progress, led by Inigo Jones; the style this began is sometimes called Stuart architecture, or English Baroque.
In Great Britain and former British colonies, a Victorian house generally means any house built during the reign of Queen Victoria. During the Industrial Revolution, successive housing booms resulted in the building of many millions of Victorian houses which are now a defining feature of most British towns and cities.
Tudor Revival architecture first manifested itself in domestic architecture in the United Kingdom in the latter half of the 19th century. Based on revival of aspects that were perceived as Tudor architecture, in reality it usually took the style of English vernacular architecture of the Middle Ages that had survived into the Tudor period. The style later became an influence elsewhere, especially the British colonies. For example, in New Zealand, the architect Francis Petre adapted the style for the local climate. In Singapore, then a British colony, architects such as R. A. J. Bidwell pioneered what became known as the Black and White House. The earliest examples of the style originate with the works of such eminent architects as Norman Shaw and George Devey, in what at the time was considered Neo-Tudor design.
Scottish baronial or Scots baronial is an architectural style of 19th century Gothic Revival which revived the forms and ornaments of historical architecture of Scotland in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Reminiscent of Scottish castles, buildings in the Scots baronial style are characterised by elaborate rooflines embellished with conical roofs, tourelles, and battlements with Machicolations, often with an asymmetric plan. Popular during the fashion for Romanticism and the Picturesque, Scots baronial architecture was equivalent to the Jacobethan Revival of 19th-century England, and likewise revived the Late Gothic appearance of the fortified domestic architecture of the elites in the Late Middle Ages and the architecture of the Jacobean era.
Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the Neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century in Italy and France. It became one of the most prominent architectural styles in the Western world. The prevailing styles of architecture in most of Europe for the previous two centuries, Renaissance architecture and Baroque architecture, already represented partial revivals of the Classical architecture of ancient Rome and ancient Greek architecture, but the Neoclassical movement aimed to strip away the excesses of Late Baroque and return to a purer and more authentic classical style, adapted to modern purposes.
Renaissance Revival architecture is a group of 19th century architectural revival styles which were neither Greek Revival nor Gothic Revival but which instead drew inspiration from a wide range of classicizing Italian modes. Under the broad designation Renaissance architecture nineteenth-century architects and critics went beyond the architectural style which began in Florence and Central Italy in the early 15th century as an expression of Renaissance humanism; they also included styles that can be identified as Mannerist or Baroque. Self-applied style designations were rife in the mid- and later nineteenth century: "Neo-Renaissance" might be applied by contemporaries to structures that others called "Italianate", or when many French Baroque features are present.
London's architectural heritage involves many architectural styles from different historical periods. London's architectural eclecticism stems from its long history, continual redevelopment, destruction by the Great Fire of London and The Blitz, and state recognition of private property rights which have limited large scale state planning. This sets London apart from other European capitals such as Paris and Rome which are more architecturally homogeneous. London's architecture ranges from the Romanesque central keep of The Tower of London, the great Gothic church of Westminster Abbey, the Palladian royal residence Queen's House, Christopher Wren's Baroque masterpiece St Paul's Cathedral, the High Victorian Gothic of The Palace of Westminster, the industrial Art Deco of Battersea Power Station, the post-war Modernism of The Barbican Estate and the Postmodern skyscraper 30 St Mary Axe 'The Gherkin'.
Australian residential architectural styles have evolved significantly over time, from the early days of structures made from relatively cheap and imported corrugated iron to more sophisticated styles borrowed from other countries, such as the Victorian style from the United Kingdom, the Georgian style from North America and Europe and the Californian bungalow from the United States. A common feature of the Australian home is the use of fencing in front gardens, also common in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Gothic Revival architecture in Canada is an historically influential style, with many prominent examples. The Gothic Revival was imported to Canada from Britain and the United States in the early 19th century, and rose to become the most popular style for major projects throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A Gibbs surround or Gibbs Surround is a type of architectural frame surrounding a door, window or niche in the tradition of classical architecture otherwise known as a rusticated doorway or window. The formula is not fixed, but several of the following elements will be found. The door is surrounded by an architrave, or perhaps consists of, or is flanked by, pilasters or columns. These are with "blocking", where rectangular blocks stick out at intervals, usually alternating to represent half the surround. Above the opening there are large rusticated voussoirs and a keystone and a pediment above that. The most essential element is the alternation of blocking with non-blocking elements. Some definitions extend to including arches or square openings merely with alternate blocked elements that continue round the top in the same manner as the sides, as in the rectangular windows of the White House's north front basement level.
The architecture of the United Kingdom, or British architecture, consists of a combination of architectural styles, dating as far back to Roman architecture, to the present day 21st century contemporary. England has seen the most influential developments, though Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have each fostered unique styles and played leading roles in the international history of architecture. Although there are prehistoric and classical structures in the United Kingdom, British architectural history effectively begins with the first Anglo-Saxon Christian churches, built soon after Augustine of Canterbury arrived in Great Britain in 597. Norman architecture was built on a vast scale throughout Great Britain and Ireland from the 11th century onwards in the form of castles and churches to help impose Norman authority upon their dominions. English Gothic architecture, which flourished between 1180 until around 1520, was initially imported from France, but quickly developed its own unique qualities.
Prodigy houses are large and showy English country houses built by courtiers and other wealthy families, either "noble palaces of an awesome scale" or "proud, ambitious heaps" according to taste. The prodigy houses stretch over the periods of Tudor, Elizabethan, and Jacobean architecture, though the term may be restricted to a core period of roughly 1570 to 1620. Many of the grandest were built with a view to housing Elizabeth I and her large retinue as they made their annual royal progress around her realm. Many are therefore close to major roads, often in the English Midlands.
In architecture, the term frontispiece is used to describe the principal face of the building, usually referring to a combination of elements that frame and decorate the main or front entrance of a building. The earliest and most notable variation of frontispieces can be seen in Ancient Greek Architecture which features a large triangular gable, known as a pediment, usually supported by a collection of columns. However, some architectural authors have often used the term ‘frontispiece’ and ‘pediment’ interchangeably in reference to both large frontispieces decorating the main entrances, as well as smaller frontispieces framing windows which is traditionally known as a pediment.