Lost and hidden villas

Cumberland Terrace

Cumberland Terrace, Regent’

Architect: John Nash (1828). Photographer: Bernard Cox (1964)
Copyright: Bernard Cox / RIBA Library Photographs Collection


Cumberland Terrace is part of John Nash's design for Regent's Park in central London. The terrace was designed to stand opposite the Prince's proposed palace within the park and was therefore of particular importance in the scheme. Although it cannot be described as Palladian|, the basic features of a villa are here incorporated into city architecture and a residential terrace.

The structure is a very long terrace consisting of three linked blocks, the central one of which includes a large sculptural pediment above a long colonnade of Ionic columns. Technically, this is not a portico|, but it clearly alludes to Palladio's idea of a temple front to a villa. Other Palladian villa features adopted include the use of a rusticated| ground floor and the allusion to a piano nobile| above.

The Regent's Park commission came towards the end of Nash's life and long career in architecture (1752-1835). He initially became known as an architect through his successful partnership with the picturesque landscape garden designer, Humphry Repton. Ultimately his fame lay as the designer of Regency London, notably for Regent's Park and Regent Street.

Palladianism was not really in fashion during Nash's career, however Nash's uses of these villa-like features shows how Palladio remained influential in the 19th century.