Jacobethan is the style designation coined in 1933 by John Betjeman to
describe the English Revival style made popular from the 1830s, which
derived most of its inspiration and its repertory from the English
Renaissance (1550 - 1625), with elements of Elizabethan and Jacobean.
Anthony Salvin's Harlaxton Manor, 1837 –
1855, defines the Jacobethan taste.
As architectural term
Its main characteristics are flattened, cusped "Tudor" arches, lighter
stone trims around windows and doors, carved brick detailing, steep roof
gables, often terra-cotta brickwork, balustrades and parapets, pillars
supporting porches and high chimneys as in the Elizabethan style. Examples
of this style are Mentmore in Buckinghamshire and Sandringham House in
In 1838, the Gothic revival was well under way in Britain, when Joseph
Nash, trained in A.W.N. Pugin's office designing Gothic details, struck out
on his own with a lithographed album Architecture of the Middle Ages : Drawn
from Nature and on Stone in 1838. Casting about for a follow-up, Nash
extended the range of antiquarian interests forward in time with his next
series of lithographs The Mansions of England in the Olden Time 1839 – 1849,
which accurately illustrated Tudor and Jacobean great houses, interiors as
well as exteriors, made lively with furnishings and peopled by inhabitants
in ruffs and farthingales, the quintessence of "Merrie Olde England". A
volume of text accompanied the fourth and last volume of plates in 1849, but
it was Nash's picturesque illustrations that popularized the style and
created a demand for the variations on the English Renaissance styles that
was the essence of the newly-revived "Jacobethan" vocabulary.
Two young architects already providing Jacobethan buildings were (later
Sirs) James Pennethorne and Anthony Salvin. Salvin's Jacobethan Harlaxton
Manor, , near Grantham, Lincolnshire, its first sections completed in
1837, is the great example that defines the style.
The Jacobethan Revival survived the late 19th century and became a part of
the commercial builder's repertory through the first 20 years of the 20th
century. Apart from its origins in the UK, the style became popular both in
Canada and throughout the United States during those periods, for sturdy
"baronial" dwellings in a free Renaissance style. A key exponent of the
style was T.G. Jackson.
As literary term
More recently the term has proved useful to literary studies that are
emphasizing the continuity of English literature in the half century 1575 –
1625. For example the 1603 death of Elizabeth I of England falls in the
middle of Shakespeare's career as dramatist: he is both an Elizabethan and a
Mowl, Tim, 1993. Elizabethan And Jacobean Style (Phaidon).
|Cambridge Arms (1925), New Haven, CT.
Constructed during New Haven’s apartment house building boom of the 1920s,
the Cambridge Arms, on High Street, was designed by Lester Julianelle in the
Jacobethan-style, to complement the Gothic architecture of nearby Yale
University. Jacobethan was a more elaborate style than the humbler and more
rustic Tudorbethan. The apartment building features the Jacobethan’s
multifaceted turrets and varied bays, which helped reduce the structure’s
massiveness on a residential street.