Drawing Out Meaning

The long 18th century: John Talman

Preliminary design for a villa near Hampton Court Palace, London

Preliminary design for a villa near Hampton Court Palace, London, c.1699
Drawing
Artist and designer: John Talman
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections 


A gentleman architect and socialite, John Talman never actually completed a building. His exuberant design for a villa adjacent to Hampton Court Palace, London, however, showcases the influence of Palladio and Inigo Jones on British design.

This drawing, striking for its use of colour and busy profile of statues, urns and towers, captures the restlessness of the Baroque. Notes made by Talman on the drawing detail the importance of proportion and work out the mathematics of the space. Likely a rapidly executed working drawing, the details here are poorly drawn and the elevation is out of proportion.

 
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