Pursuit of Architecture
Been accorded before. The pursuit of architecture became an elegant accomplishment. Amateurs and men of culture began to study building from a somewhat new point of view. English architecture became completely Italianized.
Banqueting Hall at Whitehall
The Banqueting Hall at Whitehall is quite the most classical building of the 17th century, and one that shows the least trace of Elizabethan detail. It was designed as part of the Palace to be built for James II. It is a great loss to British architecture that the whole scheme was not completed.
The classic influence remained to the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, where we must be content to leave it.
Designers of Distinction
Lord Burlington, Henry, Earl of Pembroke, William, Earl Fitzwilliam, Dean Aldrich and Dr. Clark at Oxford, and Sir James Burroughs at Cambridge have good claim to be recognized as designers of distinction.
Indeed, the amateur architect of the 18th century had a long and even illustrious ancestry. Vanbrugh, the poet, built Blenheim and Castle Howard. Even the great Wren was an amateur in the sense that he had received no early training in architecture and was a scientist before he turned his attention to art.
Alterations in Arrangements
It was at this time that the arrangements of the house were altered. The whole of the ground floor was devoted to the family, who were provided with a.
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Suite of Rooms
Suite of rooms, dining and drawing rooms, library and parlors, and the hall then became a large vestibule leading to them. The servants were relegated to the basement.
Changes in Fashion
The long gallery and the grand chamber went out of fashion and it became the custom to devote the upper floors to the sleeping accommodation of the household.
The distinctive characteristics of the new style were the absence of gables and the substitution of sash windows for the old mullioned form. This took away the picturesque treatment which is characteristic of the earlier houses.
The sky-line had to be plain and the decorative chimney disappeared. The sash window was not susceptible to so much variation as the old mullioned form had been. The dormers now belonged to the roof and not to the wall.
In fact, picturesque details gave way to cold, careful spacing and other arrangements not conducive to artistic effects. The classical spirit seemed to pervade all artistic efforts whether in painting, sculpture or literature.
Stateliness and Noble Proportions
Stateliness and noble proportions were achieved at the expense of picturesqueness and comfort, and truth gave place to artificiality. Persons of distinction seemed content to forego the comforts of home for the opportunity of living the stately life.
This period is, perhaps, best represented by Blenheim causing Pope, when it was described to him, to say “I see from all you have been telling that ’tis a house and not a dwelling.”
Less severity prevailed later, and, whilst still conforming to the careful proportions of the classic styles, men like the Brothers Adam, whilst indulging in no great flights of fancy, imparted an individuality and restrained refinement which will ever distinguish them in the annals of English architecture.
In the Middle Ages the manners and customs of the people were crude in the extreme, and education so confined to the priesthood that culture and taste could hardly be expected of the masses. Medieval art was to be found in the Abbey and the Church, but can scarcely be said to have touched the home.
Place of Safety and Shelter
Which, as we have shown in the previous chapter, was more a place of safety and shelter than of pleasure and delight.
With further national security larger comforts became available, and as commercial enterprise with other countries enriched the trader and wealth was accumulated, so also arose the desire for something more than bare walls and boarded floors.
It was at the beginning of the 16th century that this rapid development took place, and especially during the second half was the extraordinary advance particularly noticeable.
The whole century marks the time of a vast awakening in all departments of human enterprise. New countries were discovered and explored, new ways were followed in science, in learning, in religion and in art.
Invention of Printing
And the knowledge of these ways was distributed by the invention of printing, and also by the greater intercourse with the nations of Europe.
Dissolution of Monasteries
Another cause was to be found in the dissolution of the monasteries, which transferred into private and secular hands much of the valuable property hitherto held by the church.
Mansions Instead of Monasteries
And mansions, instead of monasteries, became the scene of hospitality and the principal centers in country life.
All these new conditions of social life expressed themselves in the stately homes and princely mansions erected in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Culture and Ability
The culture and ability of the statesmen, and the courage and endurance of the men who fought the nation’s foe, found an echo in the stone and oak which remain to this day a monument and example of a comfortable English home.