Royal Crescent, Bath: a panoramic view
Wood, John, the Younger (1728-1781)
RIBA Library Photographs Collection
The British enthusiasm for Palladio was unparalleled. No other nation took up his designs with such energy. The result is a remarkable legacy of Palladian and Neo-Palladian buildings throughout the country.
Of course, the results are mixed. Some buildings are more obviously Palladian than others. These include:
country houses, directly inspired by Palladio’s villas
elegant terraced streets and squares, echoing the palaces of Vicenza
great public buildings, finely proportioned and rich in sculpture
stately town churches, and a select few country churches attached to great estates
Rich patrons and architects, however, were not the only enthusiasts for Palladio. Cheaper printing transformed architecture. With tradesmen’s manuals and pattern books, builders and craftsmen could easily source Palladian details. Engravings of columns, capitals, doorways, windows and fireplaces drawn to scale were ready to be copied.
Relatively ordinary buildings could claim to be a cut above the rest by incorporating a number of fashionable Palladian features, inside and out. Palladian motifs could be found on houses, shops, banks, mills and memorials: there is almost certainly a building aspiring to be Palladian near you.
Why not explore Britain’s rich heritage of Palladian buildings in your area?