Villa Features

Window surrounds

 

Design for Villa Valmarana, Vigardolo: elevation and plan

Design for Villa Valmarana, Vigardolo: elevation and plan Enlarge image

Design for Villa Valmarana, Vigardolo: elevation and plan
Andrea Palladio, 1540s
RIBA Library Drawings Collection

Design for Stourhead, Wiltshire: the south or garden front

transparent-magnifying-glass-r Enlarge image

Design for Stourhead, Wiltshire: the south or garden front
Architect: Colen Campbell (1724). Engraving from: Colen Campbell, 'Vitruvius Britannicus', (London, 1725), Vol. III, p. 43
RIBA Library Drawings Collection

The use of decorative window surrounds, in particular banded rustication, is a popular motif adopted in Palladian and Neo-Palladian architecture.

Palladio used heavy rustication around the windows in this preparatory drawing for the Villa Valmarana in Vigardolo. Interestingly, these were never built as they were considered too complex and expensive by the patrons.

Inigo Jones was even keener to use elaborate window frames, and it can be argued that the decorative window surrounds of Neo-Palladianism are more a tribute to Jones than to Palladio.

Colen Campbell designed banded rustication window surrounds for the garden front of Stourhead, including decorative lintels and pediments above the windows. He also applied banded rustication to the doorway in the centre of the façade, a version of a Venetian window.

This use of decorative surrounds around windows, in particular triangular or semicircular pediments above, all act to mark out the principal storey, or piano nobile, behind which lie the main apartments of the villa.