Essential Architecture-  Search by style

English Renaissance Architecture

English Renaissance - Late Renaissance Architecture ( Originally Published 1921 )

A. ANGLO-CLASSIC (A.D. 1625-1702)

The architecture of this period consists largely of the work of two of England's greatest architects—Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren —and their best-known buildings will now be described.

INIGO JONES (A.D. 1573–1652)


Chilham Castle, Kent (A.D. 1614-16), is a transitional example of brick with stone dressings. The E-shaped facade has radiating side wings at the back forming a horseshoe court; while the porch has Jacobean baluster-columns. This house is the tentative work of an artist who was destined to Anglicise and adapt for domestic use the Classical Roman style.


The Banqueting House, Whitehall, London (A.D. 1619-21), is a small portion only of the original design by Inigo Jones for an English royal palace, which was never carried into execution, owing to the differences between Charles I and his Parliament. This palace-scheme was one of the grandest architectural conceptions of the Renaissance in England, both in extent and in the finely adjusted proportions of its various parts. The complete plan of the palace, with its seven courts, shows the position the Banqueting House occupied on the Grand Court (800 ft. by 400 ft.), twice the size of the court of the Louvre, Paris , and now partly absorbed into the thoroughfare of Whitehall. The facade of the Hall, 75 ft. 6 ins. in height, is divided into a rusticated lower storey and two upper storeys, each contained within an Order of architecture in which no two adjacent columns are uniformly treated, except those in the centre. The lower windows have pediments, alternately triangular and segmental, and the upper windows have straight cornices ; while festoons and masks under the upper frieze suggest the feasting and revelry associated with the idea of a royal banqueting hall. The severely Classic treatment here employed for the first time in England was the natural result of Inigo Jones' study of the correct Palladian architecture of Italy, and it constituted nothing less than an architectural revolution following directly, as it did, on the free and picturesque Jacobean architecture. This noble fragment of what would have been the most imposing of royal palaces was converted into a Chapel Royal by George I, and in A.D. 1894 it became the Museum of the Royal United Service Institution.


S. Paul, Covent Garden, London (AD. 1631–38), was designed by Inigo Jones to be the " handsomest barn in England," for he was told by the Earl of Bedford to erect a church as simple and inexpensive as a barn, and he here showed, in the Tuscan portico, wide-spreading eaves and simple pediment, how it was possible to produce dignity and impressiveness by the simplest means. The arcades of Covent Garden Market, carried out in conjunction with this church, form an instance of successful town-planning.


Greenwich Hospital is another great scheme which, like Whitehall Palace, owed its inception to the genius of Inigo Jones. He himself erected the Queen's House (A.D. 1635) (p. 717 C, E) for the unhappy Queen Henrietta Maria, and on the Restoration the portion known as " King Charles's Block " (p. 717 E, F) was carried out (A.D. 1661–67) by his pupil, John Webb (A.D. 1611–74). The facades, with lofty Corinthian Order and chaste Classic details, resulted from a close study of Palladian architecture and recall a similar treatment by Michelangelo on the Capitol at Rome. It represents, however, only the commencement of a great building scheme afterwards carried to completion by Sir Christopher Wren and other architects of the eighteenth century.


York Water-Gate, London (A.D. 1626), was designed for the Duke of Buckingham and executed by the master mason, Nicholas Stone, to form the river entrance of old York House, in days when the Thames was used as a highway for the pleasure barges of the nobility, but it now stands isolated in the Embankment gardens. This is a charming little piece of monumental architecture, with rusticated masonry and Tuscan Order surmounted by a pediment with armorial bearings flanked by " lions couchants."


Stoke Park, Northants (A.D. 1630–36), originally consisted of a central block containing the living-rooms connected by quadrant colonnades to wings for library and chapel. This plan, derived from houses by Palladio round Vicenza, influenced the setting-out of larger Georgian houses.

Ingo Jones designed other houses, both in town and country, such as Houghton Hall, Beds (A.D. 1616–21) ; Raynham Hall, Norfolk (A.D. 1630); West Woodhay House, Berkshire (A.D. 1635), one of the earliest examples in rubbed brickwork ; Wilton House, Wilts (additions) (A.D. 1640–48) ; Chevening Place, Kent (A.D. 1630), with wings added later ; additions to Kirby Hall, Northants (A.D. 1638–40) (p. 708) ; Houses in Lincoln's Inn Fields and Great Queen Street (A.D. 1620) ; Barber-Surgeons' Hall (A.D. 1636) ; and (with John Webb) Ashburnham House, Westminster (A.D. 1640), notable for its fine staircase (pp. 741 A, 762 J). Lincoln's Inn Chapel, in the Gothic style (A.D. 1617–23), is one of his earliest works. S. Katherine Cree, London (A.D. 1630), and the Inner Court arcades of S. John's College, Oxford (A.D. 1636), have also been ascribed to Jones, while the porch of S. Mary, Oxford (A.D. 1633), is perhaps from his design. According to recent investigations, however, it appears that John Webb (A.D. 1611–74) was the architect of many important buildings such as Coleshill, Berks (A.D. 1650) (p. 737 c), and Thorpe Hall, Northants (A.D. 1656) (p. 737 M), which have been accredited to Inigo Jones, and have influenced some of the smaller houses of the Georgian period.

SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN (A.D. 1632-1723).


Pembroke College Chapel, Cambridge (A.D. 1663), designed for his uncle, the Bishop of Ely, was Wren's first essay in architecture, and, though a daring innovation, shows his invariable restraint in design, with its single Order of Corinthian pilasters, central window flanked by niches, large pediments, and hexagonal cupola (p. 762 A).

026-StPaulsCathedralSouth.jpg (78835 bytes)
Saint Paul's Cathedral , London (A.D. 1675–1710), ranks as Wren's masterpiece, and as one of the finest Renaissance cathedrals in Europe. The first design for the Cathedral, of which there is a model in the north triforium, was a Greek cross in plan, with projecting vestibule, but the influence of the clergy, who desired a long nave and choir suitable for ritual, finally caused the selection of a Latin cross or Mediaeval type of plan (p. 718 D). The interior has a length of 46o ft. including apse, a breadth including aisles of 100 ft., and an area of about 64,000 square ft. This plan consists of a great central space at the crossing, like that in Ely Cathedral, crowned by a dome ; choir and nave in three bays, north and south transepts with semicircular porticoes, and projecting western vestibule of coupled columns. The western bay of the nave is, unlike the other bays, square on plan, and is flanked by chapels, which project externally. This bay has coupled columns supporting lateral arches, through the northern of which is visible the Chapel of S. Dunstan, with its fine columnar screen of carved woodwork. The piers of the nave are fronted with Corinthian pilasters supporting entablature and attic, while the nave is crowned by a series of ingeniously designed saucer-like domes, about 90 ft, above the floor (p. 544 F–J). The windows in the clear-story are not visible from the exterior (pp. 718, 721 A, B, 722 F). The vault surfaces of the choir have been decorated by Sir William Richmond with coloured glass mosaics, and there is great difference of opinion as to the suitability of this treatment. The dome is carried on eight piers, and is 112 ft. in diameter at the base of the high drum, at the level of the Whispering Gallery, diminishing to 102 ft. at the top of the drum, and is of triple construction. The inner dome of brickwork, 18 ins. thick, has its summit 217 ft. above the floor, while the intermediate conical dome, also of brickwork 18 ins, thick, and strengthened by a double chain of iron, supports the stone lantern, ball, and cross ; besides which the outer dome also rests on this intermediate cone and is formed of timber covered with lead. Eight openings are formed in the summit of the outer dome .to admit light to the inner dome (cf. dome of the Pantheon, Paris, p. 635 E). The magnificent monument to the Duke of Wellington, by Alfred Stevens, is fittingly enshrined in Wren's great Cathedral. Like some Elizabethan monuments, it has a podium supporting the sarcophagus and recumbent - effigy of the Duke enclosed by marble Corinthian columns and crowned by an attic flanked by bronze groups, the whole surmounted by an equestrian statue.

The exterior is exceedingly effective and groups well with the central dome. The facades have two Orders, the lower Corinthian and the upper Composite, totalling 107 ft. 8 ins. in height. The aisles are only one storey high, so the part above them is a screen-wall introduced to give dignity and to act as a counterweight to the flying buttresses concealed behind it, which receive the thrust of the nave vault. Consider-able criticism has been directed against this screen wall, which is said to be a sham, since the space behind it is unroofed, and a suggestion is here put forward (p. 722 n) that such objections might be removed if the wall were pierced with openings so as to show the flying buttresses behind. The western facade, 18o ft. wide, approached by a broad flight of steps which give scale to the building, has a central two-storeyed portico of coupled Corinthian and Composite columns superimposed, surmounted by a pediment sculptured with the Conversion of S. Paul. The portico is flanked by two beautifully proportioned tapering towers, which are most pleasing features in the design, 210 ft. high above the nave floor, that on the left containing bells and that on the right the clock. The external dome is probably the finest in Europe, for the projecting masses of masonry at the meeting of nave and transepts, forming the vestries and stairs to dome, express support from the ground upwards. The colonnade round the drum, which latter has an external diameter of 140 ft., is particularly effective with three-quarter columns attached to radiating buttress-walls ; while as every fourth intercolumniation is filled with masonry, there is an appearance of strength and solidity lacking in the Pantheon, Paris. Above the colonnade is the balustrade known as the " Stone Gallery," and behind this rises an attic supporting the dome, which is crowned with lantern, ball, and cross, rising to a height of 366 ft. above the pavement.

There are some striking contrasts in the history of the building of the great Metropolitan Cathedral and that of S. Peter, Rome . S. Paul, London, had one architect and one master mason, and was built in 35 years, during the episcopate of one bishop while S. Peter, Rome, had 13 successive architects and numerous master masons, and the building extended over loo years, during the pontificates of 20 popes. Mountainous in mass, with its soaring central dome and lofty lateral towers, this greatest of English Renaissance buildings appealed to the imagination of that day as rising from the mists of London, like an Alpine peak.

" S. Paul's high dome amid her vassal bands
Of neighbouring spires, a regal chieftain stands;
And over fields of ridgy roofs appear
With distance softly tinted, side by side,
In kindred grace, like twain of sisters dear,
The towers of Westminster, her abbey's pride,
While far beyond the hills of Surrey shine
Through their soft haze, and show their wavy line." BAILLIE.

The London City Churches, 53 in number, designed (A.D. 1670-1711) by Wren in the Renaissance style to replace those destroyed by the Great Fire, are models of simplicity in design and restraint in treatment. The varied towers and steeples make London City one of the most picturesque in the world, and group up to form a unique setting to the Great Cathedral dome, as pictured by the late Professor Cockerell. Many of them are most skilfully planned on cramped and awkward sites (p. 724), and are among the first churches actually designed to meet the requirements of Protestant worship, in which a central preaching-space usurps the long nave and aisles which had been suitable for the pro-cessions of Roman Catholic ritual.


St. Stephen's Walbrook  (A.D .1672—79), is famous for original and ingenious planning which produces a wonderful effect within a limited area. Enclosed in a rectangle are 16 columns, of which 8 are arranged in a circle to carry a central cupola, and the special feature here is the judicious disposition of single columns so as to produce the effect of a church with five aisles of varying width.

035-StMaryLeBowChurch.jpg (84880 bytes)
St. Mary Le Bow , Cheapside (A.D. 1671—80), is specially notable not only for " Bow Bells," but for its graceful Renaissance steeple, the masterpiece of that particular type which Wren may be said to have evolved. With the Gothic spire as his prototype, he surmounted a square tower with a pyramidal spire composed of receding stages of encircling columns, and gave unity to the design by a clever use of inverted consoles.


S. Bride, Fleet Street (A.D. 1680), has a similar though less successful steeple, in which the absence of the inverted consoles gives a telescopic effect to the series of columned stages.


S. Martin, Ludgate (A.D. 1684), has an interior with four Corinthian columns to the central vault, but is best known for its beautiful little steeple, consisting of a square tower connected by side scrolls to the facade and surmounted by an octagonal stage with timber spire and weather vane.

030-St_Clement_Danes_Jan2005.jpg (65913 bytes)
St. Clement Danes, Strand (A.D. 1684, steeple finished A.D. 1719), and S. James, Piccadilly (A.D. 1683), are both remarkable for their two-storeyed aisles in which the galleries are supported by square piers surmounted by Corinthian columns and a barrelvaulted plaster roof, intersected by semi-cylindrical vaults at right angles over the gallery bays.


S. Mary Abchurch (A.D. 1686) is a small church in a cramped position with the dome as the principal feature, and not the steeple, which is neither fine nor well placed ; but Wren lavished his decoration on altar-piece, organ case, pulpit, and pews to produce a fine interior, which even appears spacious under its painted dome.


S. Mildred, Bread Street (A.D. 1677—83), is a rectangle in three compartments with central dome on pendentives, and is quite a gem in the perfection of its parts and in the beauty of its carved woodwork.


S. Lawrence Jewry (A.D. 1671—80), S. Benetfink (A.D. 1673—76) (p. 724 C), now destroyed, S. Mary-at-Hill (A.D. 1672—77) (p. 724 E), S. Anne and S. Agnes (A.D. 1681), S. Swithin, Cannon Street (A.D. 1678) (p. 724 H), Christ Church, Newgate Street (A.D. 1687, steeple 1704), and S. Magnus, London Bridge (A.D. 1676—1705), all show Wren's subtle adaptation of plan to site.

S. Alban, Wood Street (A.D. 1685), S. Dunstan in the East (A.D. 1698), S. Mary, Aldermary (A.D. 1711), and S. Michael, Cornhill (A.D. 1672—1721) offer examples of his treatment of Gothic spires.

Wren designed a number of collegiate buildings in Oxford and Cambridge which display his peculiar power of adapting the design to meet the exigencies both of site and purpose. At Oxford there is the Sheldonian Theatre (A.D. 1664), which bears evidence of scientific skill in the construction of the roof and in the excellence of acoustic properties ; while the Library, Queen's College (A.D. 1682), the Inner Court, Trinity College (A.D. 1665), and the Tom Tower, Christ Church (A.D. 1682) (p. 728 s), exhibit Wren's mastery in design. The Ashmolean Museum (A.D. 1677) was designed by T. Wood under Wren's influence. At Cambridge there are Pembroke College Chapel (A.D. 1663), Emmanuel College Chapel (A.D. 1668–77), and Trinity College Library (A.D. 1679). The School Room, Winchester (A.D. 1684), links the name of Wren with that of the cathedral builder, William of Wykeham.

Among Wren's secular works are the Monument, London (A.D. 1671), to commemorate the Great Fire ; the Fountain Court and garden facades (A.D. 1690) of Hampton Court Palace, which have been described in connection with the Tudor portion of Henry VIII; two blocks of Greenwich Hospital (A.D. 1696–1705); Chelsea Hospital (A.D. 1682-92); Temple Bar, London (A.D. 1672) (now at Theobald's Park, Herts); Marlborough House, Pall Mall (A.D. 1710) ; and the Banqueting Hall (Orangery) and additions to Kensington Palace (A.D. 1690–1704). The Temple, London (A.D. 1674–84), with its simple brick facades and carved doorways, also shows Wren's versatility in adapting design to purpose.

Winchester (Royal) Palace (A.D. 1683), now used as barracks, was designed by Wren ; while Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, was rebuilt (A.D. 1684) under his influence, but has been since mostly pulled down.


Morden College, Blackheath (A.D. 1695) bears witness to the spirit of benevolence of the age, and is planned with rooms for forty pensioners. Its red brickwork, stone quoins, and sash windows contrast with its columned entrance over which are the statues of the founder and his wife, and a useful clock-turret. The courtyard, surrounded by its effective and reposeful facade and colonnade providing a covered access to the different rooms, completes this interesting building.

Abingdon Town Hall (A.D. 1677), with its open market and assembly-room over, is a bold design with pilasters including two storeys, and obviously owes much to the influence of Sir Christopher Wren.

Guildford Town Hall (A.D. 1683) is a bold and picturesque building of this period, with its carved brackets supporting the overhanging storey, large windows separated by pilasters, consoled cornice, hexagonal turret and projecting clock with wrought-iron stays, and shows the influence of Wren.

Windsor Town Hall (A.D. 1688) is also by Wren, and Rochester Guild-hall (A.D. 1687) is by Wren or one of his pupils.

Wren's facile genius also found scope in designs for country houses for the nobility, and for houses in country towns for the prosperous middle classes, now firmly established in the social life of England.

Belton House, Grantham (A.D. 1689), is one of Wren's houses of the H type of plan, with central steps leading to the hall and rooms on the principal floor. There is a main staircase to the right of the hall, and in each wing service stairs from the kitchen in the basement. The exterior has a slightly projecting centre surmounted by a pediment and has hipped roofs, dormers, belvedere, and central turret. The dining-room has decorative treatment of the late Renaissance, with walls panelled from floor to ceiling, doors with large panels and pediments, and chimney-piece with bold mouldings and cornice surmounted by a frame of elaborately carved birds, fruit, and flowers by Grinling Gibbons, while the plaster ceiling has a geometrical design with richly modelled mouldings.

Groombridge Place, Kent, is generally regarded as one of Wren's works. The plan is of the H type, reminiscent of that of a Jacobean mansion, but the central hall has no screen or dais, and is a thoroughfare room. The house, reached by a bridge across the moat p. 736 A), is of red brick with sash windows, divided by stout bars ; it has a central portico of Ionic columns, and hipped roofs, dormers, and tower-like chimney-stacks.

Among other examples of these different kinds of houses are Honington Hall, Warwickshire (A.D. 1680), with later additions, the Master's House in the Temple, London (A.D. 1674-84), and the House in West Street, Chichester (A.D. 1696)—in all of which staircases, chimney-pieces, wall panelling, and ceilings show how he applied late Renaissance motifs to the fittings of the English home. Melton Constable, Norfolk (A.D. 1687), has also been ascribed to Wren.

Eltham House, Kent (A.D. 1664), now the Golf Club, was designed by Hugh May, Paymaster (Surveyor) to the King's Works. He carried out other buildings at Windsor Castle, Cornbury (Oxfordshire), and Cassiobury, and also was a Commissioner for the repair of S. Paul, London, and was one of those who carried on the traditions of Sir Christopher Wren.
 
GEORGIAN HOUSES

It has already been stated that the character of Renaissance architecture depended largely on the personal whim and fancy of the architects (p. 542), but by this period domestic architecture had become fairly standardised in treatment. The essential element in domestic building is to capture the spirit of rest and express it in the house design and appointments. In achieving this purpose, Wren and his disciples were, though perhaps unconsciously, as resourceful as in their more ambitious designs for public buildings. It only remains to describe some of the more important buildings of this period. The demand for houses for the middle classes and for mansions for the aristocracy had, as we have seen, opened a new field of design, even in the time of Inigo Jones and Wren (pp. 716, 726), and in the eighteenth century large numbers of houses were built, and these were of two types.

(a) The simple block plan. —This type of plan was very generally employed, both in town and country, for eighteenth-century houses, in which the hall and staircase occupy the centre, while the rooms are compactly disposed on either side. It was developed from the square block as in Coleshill (p. 737 c), the Queen's House, Greenwich (p. 717 E), and Thorpe Hall (p. 737 M), or from the oblong block, as at Chevening (p. 737 H). The Great House, Burford ; the Moot House, Downton (A.D. 1650, re-modelled 1720) ; the Castle House, Buckingham ; Eagle House, Mitcham ; Fenton House, Hampstead (p. 737 D), and the House in the Close, Salisbury (A.D. 1701) (pp. 737 A, 762 B, L), are representative Georgian houses. Swan House, Chichester (p. 738 A), by some attributed to Wren, has all the familiar characteristics of Georgian houses, which were built for the middle classes, with a basement for kitchen, stores, and servants' quarters. These houses have brick or stone walling, symmetrically disposed sash windows, columned doorways, bold crowning cornices, hipped and dormered roofs, and big chimney-stacks. The comfort of the interior goes hand in hand with the solidity of the exterior, and panelled walls, ornamental plaster ceilings, carved chimney-pieces, and well-designed stair-cases, set off by the beautiful furniture of Chippendale, Sheraton, and the brothers Adam, complete these typical English homes (pp. 741, 769). Every old provincial town furnishes examples of these quiet and dignified houses, often now occupied by local professional men. Both in external symmetry and internal comfort they represent the spirit of an orderly and prosperous community desiring no parade of riches, but intent on comfortable home surroundings.

The Palladian Villa, Chiswick (A.D. 1729), designed by Kent and the Earl of Burlington, although a simple block in plan, is a modified copy of the Villa Capra, Vicenza (p. 599), with a windowless central hall and portico, and proved quite unsuitable to the dull English climate.

Mereworth Castle, Kent (A.D. 1723) (p. 737 G), by Colin Campbell, is also founded on the Villa Capra, Vicenza, and possesses all the defects of the Villa at Chiswick for its purpose as an English country house.

(b) The central block with wings.—This type of plan superseded the E- and H-shaped plans of the previous period, as most suitable for great mansions. The central block has a basement storey, not necessarily below ground, often containing kitchen and domestic offices. The principal floor, with its columned portico, reached by imposing external steps, was devoted to the hall, grand staircase, saloon, and reception rooms, which were usually of noble proportions. As a portico surmounted by a pediment was considered necessary by the owners, the nickname of pediment and portico style " has been given to this type of house. On either side colonnades, sometimes quadrant in form, connected the central block to the wings, which sometimes contained the chapel, library, kitchens, and stables. All the component parts, whether central block, pedimented portico, wings, or colonnades, were designed to give scale and dignity to these stately mansions, which expressed the greatness of England's noble families. This type of plan was on the model of Stoke Park, Northants, by Inigo Jones (p. 716).

Castle Howard, Yorkshire (A.D. 1702–14) (p. 742), by Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, is a stately palace (p. 742 A), possessing many of the general features already alluded to, with a total length of 66o ft. The plan (p. 742 B) shows a central block, with north entrance to the great hall, 34 ft. square, which is crowned by a dome and flanked by staircases. The saloon beyond, on the central axis, faces the garden, and on either side are the principal rooms. Curved arcades connect the main building with the stable court on the west and the kitchen court on the east. The hall (p. 742 C, D) forms a stately vestibule, with its Composite Order, statues in niches, and arched openings admitting light from the central dome to the main staircase.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (A.D. 1705) (p. 745), by Sir John Vanbrugh, is the most monumental mansion in England, and was given by the nation to the first Duke of Marlborough. The plan (p. 745 B) (850 ft. long) is designed on axial lines in which symmetry rather than convenience is aimed at. A bold entrance gate led to a great court, three acres in extent, beyond which is the central block, with hall, saloon, internal courts for light, and corridors, which are here extensively used, while on the west is the great gallery, 18o ft. by 22 ft., reminiscent of the Elizabethan long gallery. Right and left on the entrance facade are quadrants and colonnades which connect the main building to the kitchen and stable courts. The great hall (p. 745 c), 70 ft. long by 45 ft. wide and 67 ft. high, forms a worthy approach to the saloon and state apartments. The exterior (p.745 A) shows the symmetrical lay-out, with the centre block and its imposing Corinthian portico embracing two storeys, flanked by quadrants, and there are four angle turrets to the main structure. The garden facade (p. 745 D), 320 ft. long, has a lighter and more delicate treatment than the somewhat ponderous but imposing entrance facade, satirised by Pope in his reference to Vanbrugh :

"Lie heavy on him, earth, for he
Laid many a heavy load on thee."

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire (A.D. 1761—65) (p. 746), designed by Brettingham and Paine, was carried out by Robert Adam. The plan (p. 746 D) consists of a central block, 135 ft. by 105 ft., having on the principal floor the great hall, 66 ft. by 51 ft., and saloon on the central axis, with drawing-room, library, music-room, dining-room, and other apartments on either side. Quadrant corridors connect the main building with the kitchen and private wings, and the original design included two similar wings on the south. The hall (p. 746 C, E) is a most imposing apartment, being the whole height of the mansion and having the appearance of an ancient basilica, with colonnades of alabaster Corinthian columns, 25 ft. high, surmounted by a coved ceiling in the Adam style, while the walls have statue niches. The general lay-out (p. 746 A) shows the usual basement storey, the external steps to the principal floor, with its fine central Corinthian portico, and on either side are the wings, which, being lower, give scale and importance to the central block. The south front (p. 746 B) is treated in a lighter vein with curved steps to the garden.

Buckland House, Berks (A.D. 1757–71) (p. 737 L), by John Wood, Junior, has a central block on the model of Prior Park, Bath, with corridors right and left leading to the octagonal chapel and library.

Other examples of this type of mansion are : Latham Hall, Lancashire (A.D. early eighteenth century), by Leoni; Houghton Hall, Norfolk (A.D. 1723), by Colin Campbell; Moor Park, Herts (A.D. 1720), by Leoni; Seaton Delaval, Northumberland (A.D. 1720), by Sir John Vanbrugh ; Holkham Hall, Norfolk (A.D. 1734) (p. 737 J), by William Kent ; Prior Park, Bath (A.D. 1735–43), by John Wood; Sion House, Isleworth (A.D. 1761), and Kenwood House, Hampstead (A.D. 1764), the two last by the Brothers Adam. Stowe House, Buckingham (A.D. 1697), was altered by Robert Adam and others (A.D. 1775), the garden houses and temples being by Vanbrugh. Harewood House, Yorkshire (A.D. 1760), by " Carr of York" (A.D. 1723—1807), is an instance of a mansion designed with wings extending in a straight line on either side of the central block ; while Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (A.D. 1681), by William Talman, is a ducal palace famous for its priceless treasures of art and literature and for the gardens laid out by Paxton.

The Garden House, Poundisford Park (c. A.D. 1675) (p. 747 c), near Taunton, Somerset, is a simple yet pleasing example of garden architecture, such as is to be found in many a country seat of the period.

GEORGIAN TOWN HOUSES

Many mansions were erected in London, but restrictions of site did not usually permit of the extended treatment adopted for the country, though William Kent, in Devonshire House, Piccadilly (A.D. 1734), made a fine use of this central town site, now unfortunately condemned to serve other purposes. Other great London houses of this period are Chesterfield House (A.D. 1766), by Isaac Ware ; the " Mansion House " (A.D. 1739—53), by George Dance, Senior ; Lansdowne House (A.D. 1765) and Apsley House, Piccadilly (A.D. 1785), by the Brothers Adam (portico added to the latter A.D. 1828), and Carlton House (A.D. 1788) (since destroyed), on the site of the present Waterloo Place, by Henry Holland, who is also responsible for Dover House, Whitehall (A.D. 1754—58). Ely House, Dover Street, London (A.D. 1772), by Sir Robert Taylor, has a typical rusticated street facade.

GEORGIAN CHURCHES

A number of important churches belong to this period, designed, as by Wren, whose influence was paramount, with central space and surrounding galleries, suitable for the preaching requirements of the Protestant faith.

S. Mary-le-Strand, London (A.D. 1714—27) (p. 748 c), by James Gibbs, was one of the fifty London churches authorised to be built in the reign of Queen Anne, but of which only ten were completed. On an island site in the Strand, it stands conspicuous, and is notable for its fine general proportions, with facades of superimposed Ionic and Corinthian Orders, a semicircular portico and storeyed western steeple, oblong on plan.

S. Martin in the Fields, London (A.D. 1722), is on a similar design by James Gibbs, with great Corinthian portico and western steeple as its principal features.

S. Philip, Birmingham (A.D. 1711-19), now the Cathedral, S. John, Westminster (A.D. 1728), with its four angle turrets, and S. Paul, Deptford (A.D. 1730), are by Thomas Archer, a pupil of Vanbrugh.

S. Mary Woolnoth, London (A.D. 1713—19) (p. 748 D), by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of Wren, is remarkable for its fortress-like rusticated facade and curious oblong tower with Composite columns surmounted by two low turrets.

Christ Church, Spitalfields (A.D. 1725), with its lofty and unusual western steeple, and S. George, Bloomsbury (A.D. 1720—30), with a pyramidal spire based on the Mausoleum at Halicarnassos (p. 117), surmounted by a statue of King George II, both show the originality of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

S. George, Hanover Square, London (A.D. 1720), by John James, a pupil of Gibbs, is a ponderous edifice whose Corinthian portico, 7o ft. long, serves as a shelter in connection with the numerous weddings solemnised within ; while here for the first time is found a steeple rising from the roof, and without apparent support from the ground. S. Alphege, Greenwich (A.D. 1718), is also by John James.

S. George in the East (A.D. 1729) and S. Anne, Limehouse (A.D. 1712—24), by Hawksmoor, and S. Giles in the Fields (A.D. 1730), by Flitcroft, are other churches of the period.

GEORGIAN PUBLIC BUILDINGS

Civic, social, government, and collegiate requirements had all to be provided for during this period. Town Halls arose, as at Liverpool (A.D. 1754), by Wood of Bath, and at Monmouth (p. 747 E), a wellbalanced public building of the eighteenth century ; Corn Exchanges, as at Rochester (A.D. 1756) ; Law Courts, as the " Four Courts," Dublin (A.D. 1776-86), by Thomas Cooley and James Gandon ; Custom Houses, as in London (A.D. 1813), by David Laing and Sir Robert Smirke, and in Dublin (A.D. 1781, recently destroyed) by James Gandon ; Prisons, such as Newgate (A.D. 1770-82, now demolished) by George Dance, Junior ; Hospitals, such as S. Bartholomew's (A.D. 1730, gateway A.D. 1702) by James Gibbs, S. Luke's Hospital (A.D. 1782) by George Dance, Junior, and additions to Greenwich Hospital (A.D. 1705—15) (p. 716) by Hawksmoor ; and many Banks were erected throughout the country.

The Bank of England, London (A.D. 1795-1827), by Sir John Soane, is unique by reason of its windowless facades in which he employed the Corinthian Order as used for the Temple at Tivoli (p. 146), while he obtained light and shade by columned recesses ; but the building has not now sufficient height to give it due dignity among its neighbours.

The Guildhall, London, dating from the Mediaeval period (p. 398), had a Gothic-like facade (A.D. 1789) built by George Dance, Junior, but it was not until the nineteenth century that Sir Horace Jones restored the Great Hall to its original appearance and added the modern roof (A.D. 1864—70).

The Pelican Life Office, Lombard Street, London, designed by Sir Robert Taylor (A.D. 1714-88), is a scholarly example of commercial architecture.

The Butter Markets, Barnard Castle (A.D. 1747) (p. 747 B), Bungay (A.D. 1789) (p. 747 D), and Ludlow, are examples of the civic buildings on a smaller scale which abound throughout the country towns, and show the full corporate and commercial life of the period.

Clubs were among the types of buildings of this prolific' period and reflect the social life of the times. Boodle's Club, S. James's Street, London (A.D. 1765), by Robert Adam, Brook's Club, London (A.D. 1777), by Henry Holland, and White's Club, London (A.D. 1776), by James Wyatt, were among the first of those palatial clubs for which London was to become famous. The Pantheon, London (A.D. 1770), by James Wyatt, once a fashionable meeting-place, has since been altered, and is now a warehouse.

Hospitals and Almshouses still continued to reflect the wishes of the pious founders, as we have seen in Morden College, Blackheath (A.D. 1695), by Sir Christopher Wren (p. 726). Many of these buildings date from the seventeenth century, and appear to have been executed under the influence of Wren. Amongst these may be mentioned Smyth's Almshouses, Maidenhead (A.D. 1659), Colfe's Almshouses, Lewisham (A.D. 1664), Bromley College, Kent (A.D. 1666), Corsham Almshouses (A.D. 1668), College of Matrons, Salisbury (A.D. 1682), and Trinity Alms-houses, Mile End (A.D. 1695). Trinity Almshouses, Salisbury (A.D. 1702), Fishmongers' Almshouses, Yarmouth (A.D. 1702), and Somerset Hospital, Petworth (A.D. 1748), are some of those which grace the wayside of our country towns.

Government buildings of the period in London include the Old Admiralty, Whitehall (A.D. 1722—26), by Thomas Ripley, and its enclosing street screen (A.D. 1760), by Robert Adam ; the Treasury Buildings (facade to S. James's Park) (A.D. 1734), and Horse Guards (A.D. 1742), by William Kent. The Record Office, Edinburgh (A.D. 1772), is by Robert Adam.

Somerset House, London (A.D. 1776–86) (p. 751 B), by Sir William Chambers, is a grand and dignified building, with a river facade, 600 ft. long, in which rusticated walls carry a Corinthian Order rising through two storeys, pleasingly relieved by colonnades which emphasise the open courts.

Architectural design was not practised only on single and detached buildings. Monumental street architecture was also successfully carried out, as by the Woods at Bath between the years A.D. 1720 and 178o (p. 704) . Unity of design, as applied to street facades, is also well exemplified by the Brothers Adams in Fitzroy Square (A.D. 1790) and the Adelphi, London.

Collegiate buildings received many important additions and numerous effective examples of the period are to be seen in the universities.

The Radcliffe Library, Oxford (A.D. 1737–47) (p. 748 A), by James Gibbs—probably his finest work—is monumental in character, with a rusticated sixteen-sided ground storey, having alternately pedimented arched openings and niches, while the upper portion is circular, 100 ft. in diameter, with two storeys of windows and niches alternately, included in one Order of coupled Corinthian columns, supporting entablature and balustrade, behind which a high drum with eight buttresses supports the lead-covered dome and lantern.

The Gateway, Queen's College, Oxford (A.D. 1710) (p. 748 B), is an effective and original composition by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of Wren. It has an archway flanked by rusticated Tuscan columns supporting an entablature, surmounted by a circular canopy borne on eight pairs of Doric columns, with entablatures supporting arched drum and cupola crowned by a finial, all enclosing a statue of Queen Anne.

The Senate House, Cambridge (A.D. 1722–30) (p. 751 A), is an imposing building by James Gibbs. Two storeys are included in a single Order of Corinthian pilasters, coupled at ends, and centre-piece of four half-columns surmounted by a sculptured pediment, flanked by balustrades, while the sash windows of the ground storey are headed by alternately triangular and segmental pediments, the upper windows being round-headed. The whole has a unity of composition and is rich yet reposeful in effect.

Among other important collegiate buildings of this period may be mentioned : At Oxford the Radcliffe Observatory (A.D. 1772), by Robert Adam, and the North Quadrangle of All Souls' College (A.D. 1720–35), by Nicholas Hawksmoor, date from this period. At Cambridge there are the University Library (A.D. 1754–58) by Stephen Wright, and portions of other colleges. Trinity College, Dublin (A.D. 1780), was altered by Sir William Chambers, and Edinburgh University (A.D. 1778) is by Robert Adam.

Bridges of architectural character, as Richmond Bridge (A.D. 1780) and Kew Bridge (A.D. 1782), both designed by James Paine, now joined up the busy districts on either side of the Thames. Waterloo Bridge (A.D. 1811-17), of which Sir John Rennie was engineer, shows the influence of the Greek revival.
 
English Renaissance - Comparative Analysis


( Originally Published 1921 )



(For a comparative analysis of the essential differences between Gothic and Renaissance Architecture see p. 547)

This Comparative Analysis covers Early Renaissance (Elizabethan and Jacobean periods) and Late Renaissance (Anglo-Classic and Georgian).

A. Plans.

Early Renaissance.—House plans are often E- or H-shaped (p. 696) with central entrance and two side wings, as at Montacute (p. 696 B), Bramshill (p. 696 G), Aston Hall (p. 696 H), Hatfield (p. 696 F), and Audley End. Plans are sometimes quadrangular, as at Burghley (p. 696 A), Longleat (p. 696 D), Wollaton (p. 696 c), and Castle Ashby (p. 700 n). Sometimes plans are of a fanciful shape, as at Longford Castle (p. 696 E). Hardwick Hall (p. 700 B) is a rectangular block with large projecting bays. Such buildings as Knole, Penshurst (p. 370 E), and Haddon (p. 370 H) are of irregular plan, and are additions to previous Gothic houses. Internal courts for lighting are sometimes employed, as at Blickling (p. 696 J) and Chastleton House, Oxfordshire. Characteristic features are the great hall (p. 693 A), broad staircase (pp. 693 B, 755 B, c), and long gallery (p. 693 C). Broad terraces with balustrades (p. 752 D, F) raised above the garden level and wide flights of steps are charming features in the style ; while the gardens were often laid out in a formal manner with yews and box cut in fantastic shapes, as at Holland House (p. 705 A), Montacute, Longford, and Hatfield (p. 695).

Late Renaissance.—Plans are now marked by regularity and even by exaggerated symmetry, which aimed at uniting the various parts in an imposing facade (p. 737). The square type of plan sometimes had a central top-lit saloon, as at the Queen's House, Greenwich (p. 717 E), and the Villa at Chiswick (p. 734), and Mereworth (p. 737 G). The oblong type was usually divided into three, of which the centre third was occupied by hall, saloon, and stairs, as at Thorpe Hall (p. 737 AI), Chevening (p. 737 H), Coleshill (p. 737 c), and Eltham (p. 737 E). The Italian " piano nobile " was adopted for many country houses (pp. 736 B, 742 A, IT, 745 A, D, 746 A, B) with basement, not necessarily below ground, for cellarage and kitchen offices, while the principal rooms are approached either by a great external staircase with a portico (pp. 736 B, 742 A, 745 A, D, 746 A) or by an internal stair from the basement. Octagonal, circular, and ellipticalshaped apartments became usual, often arranged in various combinations, but these fanciful forms are not indicated externally (p. 737 G, J, L, N). Staircases received much attention, ingenious domical or other top-lights being introduced, as at Ashburnham House (pp. 741 A, 762 J), and there is no feature more characteristic than the well-designed staircases, with their stout newels, variously treated balusters, and consoled step ends (p. 762 L). Corridors gradually superseded the " thoroughfare " system of planning (p. 379), and added much to the convenience and privacy of houses. The Jacobean gallery survived in a modified form, as at Castle Howard (p. 742 B), Chatsworth, Holkham (p. 737 J), and Blenheim (p. 745 B).

B. Walls.

Early Renaissance.—Facades, both in brick and stone, are picturesque in character and often marked by a free use of the Classic " Orders " one above the other, as at Hatfield (p. 706 A), the Bodleian Library, Oxford (p. 706 c), Kirby Hall (p. 699 B), and Holland House (p. 705 A). Gables are often of scroll-work, due to foreign influence, and their general outlines are governed by the roof-slope (pp. 699 B, 705 A), while parapets are balustraded (p. 700 A) or pierced with letters or characteristic patterns (pp. 700 C, 705 A, 706 A). Chimney-stacks, either of cut brickwork or stone, follow Tudor traditions ; the shafts are carried up boldly above the roof and are sometimes disguised as columns, as at Burghley (p. 752 B) and Kirby (p. 699 B), and owing to their prominence on the skyline they play an important part in the design, thus differentiating it from Italian and approximating it to French treatment. Walls were frequently finished internally with panelling or wainscoting, with framing often joined by a mason's mitre " (see Glossary), in small divisions of uniform size, as at Stockton House (p. 755 A), Hatfield (p. 693 A), Knole (p. 693 B), Haddon (p. 693 C), Crewe Hall (p. 694 A), and Sizergh (p. 694 B).

Late Renaissance. —Walls continued to be of stone, sometimes simulated by stucco, but Sir Christopher Wren popularised the use of red brickwork as at Belton House and Groombridge Place (p. 736) ; while the angles of walls were frequently emphasised by raised blocks or quoins, as at Swan House (p. 738 A), which in brick buildings were often of stone, as also were the window architraves. The walls of Georgian houses are often terminated with well-designed cornices in brick (p. 738 A), stone (p. 762 B), or wood (p. 762 D, E), which, when painted white in conjunction with the window-frames, give pleasant relief to the facades, especially when of red brickwork. Plain ashlar wall surfaces served to throw into relief the ornate stonework of porticoes and windows (pp. 717 C, 736). Pediments and hipped roofs take the place of gables (p. 736), and chimneys are often hidden behind parapets, and thus the design approximates more in this respect to Italian Renaissance. The panelling of internal walls now generally extended in houses from floor to ceiling, and the wall surface was divided into dado, large panels, and moulded cornice, which gives a finished appearance and sense of comfort, as at Belton House (p. 741 c), and the Orangery, Kensington (p. 762 x).

C. Openings.

Early Renaissance. — Arcades were introduced into the larger houses, such as Hatfield (p. 706 A), Bramshill (p. 752), and Holland House, Kensington (p. 705 A). Doorways are always important features, as at S. Catherine's Court (p. 752 H), and are sometimes elaborate in design, flanked by columns (pp. 699 B, 706, 752 B, G) and are an evidence of the hospitality of the times, which is expressed in the couplet at Montacute House :

"Through this wide opening gate None come too early, none return too late."

Windows still resembled those of the Tudor period with vertical mullions, horizontal transoms, and leaded glass (pp. 699 B, 700 A, C, 705, 706). They became flat-headed instead of arched, to suit the level ceilings of dwelling-rooms. Projecting oriel windows, as at Bramshill (p. 752 A), and bay-windows were also much used and give light and shade to facades, as at Little Moreton Hall (p. 699 A), Hardwick Hall (p. 700 A), Longleat, Holland House (p. 705 A), Hinchingbrooke Hall (p. 752 c), and Kirby Hall (p. 699 B) .

Late Renaissance. — Arcades, formed of columns of correct Classic proportions, are familiar features of this period, especially in the larger mansions, such as Blenheim (p. 745 A) and Castle Howard (p. 742 A). Arcades with superimposed Orders, under the influence of Palladio, became systematised (p. 756 K), as were also superimposed colonnades (p. 756 G), and various other combinations were used by Sir William Chambers (p. 756 D, F). Doorways became more formal in design, owing to the influence of Palladio (p. 736), and many treatments became standardised (pp. 756 B, 763 A, C). The doorways of Georgian houses are often special features of the facades, showing variety of treatment, and are sometimes provided with shell hoods (pp. 738 D, E, 762 G). Gate-ways, frequently filled in with wrought-iron gates, are flanked by well-proportioned piers of stone crowned with balls, sculptured figures, or armorial bearings (pp. 712 A, 738 A), and rustication was frequently employed (p. 756 A). Windows were much altered in character from the previous period and became smaller, as mullions and transoms, although sometimes used by Wren, as at Wolvesey House, Winchester (p. 762 H), went out of general use, and sash windows were introduced (pp. 717 C, F, 736, 738). These sash windows, placed almost flush with the outer face of the walls (p. 762 F), were painted white and form a pleasant colour scheme when flanked by green shutters, which contrast with the red brickwork commonly in use. The openings were surrounded by moulded architraves and frequently surmounted by a pediment (pp. 711 c, 723), while larger openings were often formed in three divisions, as in Italy (p. 597)—a treatment much favoured by the Brothers Adam (pp. 756 C, 763 B).

D. Roofs.

Early Renaissance. — Steep sloping roofs, sometimes covered with tiles or stone slabs, were still used (p. 752 B), as well as flat lead-covered roofs, and sometimes both occur together (pp. 699, 700, 705 A) . Roofs were fronted with gables of the Gothic type, as well as with low pediments of Classic origin, even in the same building, and this is one of the many instances of reluctance to break with tradition (p. 705). Balustrades in great variety of design—arcaded, columned, pierced, or battlemented —were favourite features evolved from those of the Gothic period.

Late Renaissance. — Sloping roofs were frequently " hipped" and without gables, because the cornice was now the characteristic feature of the building and gables were therefore inappropriate, while dormer windows now took the place of the windows in the gables of the Jacobean period (pp. 736, 738 A, 762 B). A low-pitched pediment sometimes outlined the ends of sloping roofs, in contrast to the steep gables of the early period (p. 712). The upper part of the roof was often formed as a lead flat, surrounded by a balustrade and surmounted by a turret with a domical roof (p. 736 B). Balustrades played an important part in the general design, and partly concealed the flat-pitched roofs behind them (pp. 742, 745, 746) . Domes and cupolas were much in vogue (p. 762 A, c), while splendid steeples, initiated by Sir Christopher Wren, rival and even surpass Mediaeval spires in their fanciful storeyed outlines (p. 727).

E. Columns.

Early Renaissance.—The columns of the five Orders of architecture, as standardised by the Romans, were reintroduced, and indeed form the outstanding features of the Renaissance style ; so much so that all five Orders were sometimes used one above the other, as in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (p. 706 c), and Burghley House (p. 752 B). They were employed in all parts of the building, externally in porches, gables, and even in chimney-stacks (pp. 699 B, 706), and internally in panelling, doorways, and fireplaces (p. 705 D, E). These columns, both circular and square, were as yet seldom correct, either in design or proportion, while pilasters, banded with strapwork or prismatic ornament (p. 752 J), often tapered towards the base like the " Hermes " columns, which were also now used, especially in the design of hall screens and elaborate chimney-pieces (p. 694 A). Pedestals also received similar ornamentation.

Late Renaissance. — The Orders of architecture now lost the naive incorrectness of proportion and detail which characterised them in the early period. After Inigo Jones' visits to Italy and his study of Palladio's buildings, columns, as in the Banqueting House (p. 711 c), and other buildings (p. 712), were more strictly designed according to the proportions laid down by that autocrat of architecture. Full scope was afforded for the display of the Orders in the spacious porticoes of churches (p. 723), country mansions (pp. 742, 745, 746), and public buildings (pp. 748, 751), and they were often carried through two or more storeys to give an effect of unity, as at Greenwich Hospital (p. 717). Columns and pilasters are also the prevailing features of the Renaissance monuments introduced into Gothic churches, while panelling, doorways, and chimney-pieces of interiors conform to the same columnar style (p. 741). The canons governing proportions, first promulgated by Vitruvius and further systematised by Palladio, were again formulated by Sir William Chambers, who is generally accepted by English architects as the authority on this subject (pp. 756, 757).

F. Mouldings.

Early Renaissance.- Mouldings once again reverted to Roman forms as applied to the bases and capitals of columns and their entablatures (pp. 119, 12o), but naturally displayed considerable variety, due to lingering Gothic influence. They were often coarse in outline, but became more refined when used in wood panelling or plaster ceilings (p. 693). Bold convex mouldings, banded and decorated with strapwork (pp. 694 A, 705), characterise many Jacobean chimney-pieces as well as monuments and tombs.

Late Renaissance. — Mouldings, like other features, became more strictly Classical in form and, as the stock-in-trade of every craftsman, they admitted of little variety in design (pp. 119, 120). Mouldings in general, whether in stone, wood, or plaster, became bolder, and the large " ogee " moulding was the one chiefly in use round fireplaces and panels (PP. 738, 741).

G. Ornament.

Early Renaissance (pp. 758, 761).—The carved ornament of the Early Renaissance period is often a strange mixture of Gothic and Renaissance forms, and this transitional treatment gives it a special interest. " Strap " ornament, now much employed in all materials, received its name from its resemblance to leather straps interlaced in geometrical patterns, attached to the background as if by nails or rivets (pp. 694 A, 762 J, 761 C, E). It was probably derived from the damascene work of the East, and appears on pilasters, as at Hatfield (p. 706), on piers, spandrels, and plaster ceilings, as at Bromley (p. 761 B) and in friezes, as at Yarmouth (p. 761 E) and Aston Hall (p. 761 c). Carved figures of mythological personages, and of grotesques, such as satyrs and fauns, are further evidence of Classic influence, while heraldry was freely employed (pp. 752 B, C, G, 761 D). Interiors owe much of their finished character to the carved wainscot panelling, wide stairs with carved newels (pp. 693 B, 755 C, E), chimney-pieces, as at Blickling Hall (p. 755 F), Crewe Hall (p. 694 A), and Holland House (p. 705 E), wall tapestries, and modelled plaster ceilings, as at Audley End (p. 761 A), developed from the rib and panel type of the Tudor period (p. 337). Renaissance features also pervaded every branch of the allied arts and crafts, as in the following examples : The monuments to Elizabeth (A.D. 1604) and Mary, Queen of Scots, in Westminster Abbey; the tomb of Lord Burghley (A.D. 1598) (p. 758 E) ; the Culpepper Tomb, Goudhurst (p. 758 c) ; the chapel screen at the Charterhouse (p. 758 B) ; the doorway in Broughton Castle (A.D. 1599) (p. 755 D) ; the bookcase at Pembroke College, Cambridge (p. 758 D) ; the throne and stalls in the Convocation Room, Oxford (A.D. 1639) (p. 758 F) ; the pulpit in North Cray Church, Kent (p. 758 A) ; the rain-water head from Claverton Manor (p. 752 E) ; a cistern now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (p. 758 H) ; the tablets in Peterhouse Chapel, Cambridge (p. 758 J) and All Hallows, Barking (p. 758 G) ; the entrance porch (p. 752 G) and chimney-piece at Blickling Hall (p. 755 F) ; while the style was also applied to the furniture of the period, such as chairs (p. 761 x), chests, tables (p. 761 G), stools (p. 761 F), table settles (p. 761 J), cupboards (p. 761 H, N), and bedsteads (p. 761 L).

Late Renaissance (pp. 763, 769).—The carved ornament of the later period is an Anglicised version of the fully developed Italian Renaissance, from which all trace of Gothic influence disappeared as Classic tradition reasserted itself. The style of Louis XIV naturally affected decorative art in England ; while later on the Brothers Adam show the effect of the simpler Classic tradition in their designs. Interiors are characterised by large wall panels (p. 741 c), often containing family portraits, which also appear over chimney-pieces which otherwise became simpler in treatment (p. 741 B). Plaster ceilings are boldly set out in squares, ovals, or circles, framed in by mouldings, on which fruits and flowers are modelled in high relief (p. 741 A, C). Both walls and ceilings were sometimes painted with frescoes, such as those by Verrio and Sir James Thornhill at Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court. Renaissance features, now more sedate in type, were reproduced in all decorative features, such as the archway at Wilton (p. 763 D) by Sir William Chambers, the gate piers (p. 763 G) by Inigo Jones, the circular window (p. 763 E) by Gibbs, the typical chimney-pieces (p. 763 H, K) by Gibbs ; in the numerous wall tablets of the period (p. 763 F) and in monuments, such as that of the Duke of Newcastle in Westminster Abbey (p. 763 J) ; in casinos, such as that near Dublin (p. 756 E), and covered bridges, as in Prior Park, Bath, and Wilton (p. 712 E), and in buildings resembling Roman temples, such as the circular temple in Kew Gardens by Sir William Chambers, which it had become the fashion to introduce into the plans of formal gardens, usually decorated with such accessories as ornamental vases and sundials (p. 738). Houses owe much of their interest to the beautiful fittings and furniture with which they were completed by Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and their followers. Chairs (p. 769 A, c), settees (p. 769 B), tables (p. 769 N, P, Q), waiters (p. 769 D), book-cases (p. 769 H, M), clocks (p. 769 F, x), mirrors (p. 769 E), candlestands (p. 769 L), gueridon (p. 769 J) and pedestals (p. 769 G) all help to give a comfortable feeling to houses of this period.
Thanks to http://www.oldandsold.com/articles23/architecture-130.shtml
"English Renaissance" is a term often used to describe a cultural and artistic movement in England from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that many cultural historians believe originated in northern Italy in the fourteenth century. This era in English cultural history is sometimes referred to as "the age of Shakespeare" or "the Elizabethan era," taking the name of the English Renaissance's most famous author and most important monarch, respectively; however it is worth remembering that these names are rather misleading: Shakespeare was not an especially famous writer in his own time, and the English Renaissance covers a period both before and after Elizabeth's reign.

Poets such as Edmund Spenser and John Milton produced works that demonstrated an increased interest in understanding English Christian beliefs, such as the allegorical representation of the Tudor Dynasty in The Faerie Queen and the retelling of mankind’s fall from paradise in Paradise Lost; playwrights, such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, composed theatrical representations of the English take on life, death, and history. Nearing the end of the Tudor Dynasty, philosophers like Sir Thomas More and Sir Francis Bacon published their own ideas about humanity and the aspects of a perfect society, pushing the limits of metacognition at that time. As England abolished its astrologers and alchemists, it came closer to reaching modern science with the Baconian Method, a forerunner of the Scientific Method.

Comparison of the English and Italian Renaissances
The English Renaissance is distinct from the Italian Renaissance in several ways. First, the dominant art form of the English Renaissance was literature, while the Italian Renaissance was driven much more by the visual arts, such as painting and sculpture. Second, the English movement is separated from the Italian by time: many trace the Italian Renaissance to Dante or Petrarch in the early 1300s, and certainly most of the famous Italian Renaissance figures ceased their creative output by the 1520s. In contrast, the English Renaissance seems to begin in the 1520s, reaching its apex around the year 1600, and not concluding until roughly the restoration of Charles II in the 1660s. Finally, the English seem to have been less directly influenced by classical antiquity, which was a hallmark of the Italian Renaissance (the word "renaissance" means "rebirth," an allusion to the Italian belief that they were merely rediscovering or reviving lost ancient knowledge and technique); instead, the English were primarily influenced by the Italians themselves, and rediscovered the classical authors through them.

On the other hand, the Italian and English Renaissances were similar in sharing a specific musical aesthetic. In the late 16th century Italy was the musical center of Europe, and one of the principal forms which emerged from that singular explosion of musical creativity was the madrigal. In 1588, Nicholas Yonge published in England the Musica transalpina—a collection of Italian madrigals "Englished"—an event which touched off a vogue of madrigal in England which was almost unmatched in the Renaissance in being an instantaneous adoption of an idea, from another country, adapted to local aesthetics. (In a delicious irony of history, a military invasion from a Catholic country—Spain—failed in that year, but a cultural invasion, from Italy, succeeded). English poetry was exactly at the right stage of development for this transplantation to occur, since forms such as the sonnet were uniquely adapted to setting as madrigals (indeed, the sonnet was already well-developed in Italy). Composers such as Thomas Morley, the only contemporary composer to set Shakespeare, and whose work survives, published collections of their own, roughly in the Italian manner but yet with a unique Englishness; many of the compositions of the English Madrigal School remain in the standard repertory in the 21st century.

Not all aspects of Italian music translated to English practice. The colossal polychoral productions of the Venetian School aroused little interest there, although the Palestrina style from the Roman School had already been absorbed prior to the publication of Musical transalpina, in the music of masters such as William Byrd.

While the Classical revival led to a flourishing of Italian Renaissance architecture, architecture in Britain took a more eclectic approach. Elizabethan architecture retained many features of the Gothic, even while the occasional purer building such as the tomb in the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, or the French-influenced architecture of Scotland showed interest in the new style.

Criticisms of the idea of the English Renaissance
The notion of calling this period "the Renaissance" is a modern invention, having been popularized by the historian Jacob Burckhardt in the nineteenth century. The idea of the Renaissance has come under increased criticism by many cultural historians, and some have contended that the "English Renaissance" has no real tie with the artistic achievements and aims of the northern Italian artists (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello) who are closely identified with the Renaissance. Indeed, England had already experienced a flourishing of literature over 200 years before the time of Shakespeare when Geoffrey Chaucer was working. Chaucer's popularising of English as a medium of literary composition rather than Latin was only 50 years after Dante had started using Italian for serious poetry. At the same time William Langland, author of Piers Plowman, and John Gower were also writing in English. The Hundred Years' War and the subsequent civil war in England known as the Wars of the Roses probably hampered artistic endeavour until the relatively peaceful and stable reign of Elizabeth I allowed drama in particular to develop. Even during these war years, though, Thomas Malory, author of Le Morte D'Arthur, was a notable figure. For this reason, scholars find the singularity of the period called the English Renaissance questionable; C.S. Lewis, a professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge, famously remarked to a colleague that he had "discovered" that there was no English Renaissance, and that if there had been one, it had "no effect whatsoever".

Historians have also begun to consider the word "Renaissance" as an unnecessarily loaded word that implies an unambiguously positive "rebirth" from the supposedly more primitive Middle Ages. Some historians have asked the question "a renaissance for whom?," pointing out, for example, that the status of women in society arguably declined during the Renaissance. Many historians and cultural historians now prefer to use the term "early modern" for this period, a neutral term that highlights the period as a transitional one that led to the modern world, but does not have any positive or negative connotations.

Other cultural historians have countered that, regardless of whether the name "renaissance" is apt, there was undeniably an artistic flowering in England under the Tudor monarchs, culminating in Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Major English Renaissance figures
The key literary figures in the English Renaissance are now generally considered to be the poet Edmund Spenser; the philosopher Francis Bacon; the poets and playwrights Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson; and the poet John Milton. Sir Thomas More is often considered one of the earliest writers of the English Renaissance. Thomas Tallis and William Byrd were the most notable English musicians of the time, and are often seen as being a part of the same artistic movement that inspired the above authors.