Foots Cray

Foots Cray, Bexley, London: elevation of the entrance facade

Foots Cray, Bexley, London: elevation of the entrance facade
Isaac Ware
Copyright: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Villa Trissino, Meledo, Sarego: plan and elevation

Villa Trissino, Meledo, Sarego: plan and elevation
Andrea Palladio
Copyright: RIBA Library



Foots Cray in Kent was designed in the 1750s by Daniel Garrett, who had been an assistant architect in Burlington’s circle about thirty years before. It was probably under Burlington that Garrett acquired his knowledge of Palladio, and Foots Cray shows quite clearly the influence of not only the Villa Rotonda, but also Palladio’s Villa Trissino at Meledo.

The Villa Trissino

The Villa Trissino, like the Villa Rotonda, makes the most of the views with four porticos; it was Palladio’s only other hilltop site. Again it is an almost square building surmounted by a dome. Here the villa lay at the heart of an agricultural estate, and so curved colonnades were planned to link the villa to farm buildings.

In reality only part of one wing was built, but thanks to the woodcut of the plan in I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura, the design went on to be highly influential. The curving colonnades can be seen reflected in the design of Holkham Hall, and an echo of the overall plan and form of the building can be seen here at Foots Cray.

Foots Cray

Foots Cray was built for Bourchier Cleeve, a financier, however by the time of the design’s publication in Vitruvius Britannicus in 1767, the house was named as the seat of Sir Robert Ladbrooke.

In the book Woolfe and Gandon emphasised the building’s excellent location, being both on a hill and not far from a canal.

It states that the estate was “laid out with great art and judgement” and that the “idea of the building was taken from the celebrated Villa-Capra [Villa Rotonda], built by Palladio.”

Unfortunately Foots Cray was destroyed by fire in 1949, so the above illustration from the fourth volume of Vitruvius Britannicus is especially useful.

 
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