Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/445

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418
[ENGLISH RENAISSANCE
ARCHITECTURE

were introduced which seemed to give an impetus towards their further development.

The most important of these features were the following:—the bow window, rectangular or polygonal, of which the earliest examples date from the reign of Edward IV. (1461-1483), such as Eltham Palace in Kent, Cowdray Castle in Sussex, and Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire, and at a later period at Hampton Court; octagonal towers or turrets flanking the entrance gateway at each end of the main front; the projecting forward of the side wings so as to get better light to the rooms in them by having windows on both sides, such projections varying the otherwise monotonous effect of a uniform façade without breaks; the long gallery (generally on an upper floor), which was an important characteristic of the Elizabethan house; and last but not least, the adherence to the type of old Tudor window, with its moulded mullions and transoms but with square head.
One of the first modifications was the introduction of semicircular bow windows, as in Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire, followed by a second example at Burton Agnes in Yorkshire (1602-1610), and a third at Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire (1635). They were carried up through three storeys at Kirby Hall, the upper storey in the roof; three storeys at Burton Agnes with balcony and balustrade; and two storeys at Lilford Hall—these features being extremely simple but fine in effect, and the windows with moulded mullions and transoms lending themselves naturally to the curve.
The projecting bays and bow windows seemed to have such an attraction for the builders of these country mansions that at Burton Agnes (with a rectangular plan of 120 ft. by 80 ft.) there are no fewer than thirteen of them, which break up the wall surface and give a picturesque group externally, whilst internally they add to the fine effect of the rooms. At Barlborough Hall, Derbyshire, with a frontage of 80 ft., there is a central rectangular bay forming the entrance porch and carried up above the roof, and two large octagonal bow windows which rise as towers with an extra storey. In all these mansions the only influence which the Revival seems to have exerted was in the introduction of an entablature, which sometimes takes the place of the Gothic string course, balustrades which crown the building, but with no projecting cornice, and gables with curved outlines and Renaissance panels or scrolls. The fact is that, with prominent features so widely differing from those which were represented on the perspective drawings attached to the earlier publications of the five orders, such as those of Serlio (1537) and Vredeman de Vries of Antwerp (1577), the only course left open to the master-mason was to decorate the principal entrance with columns and pilasters of the Classic orders, sometimes superposed one upon the other.
To the further development of this singular introduction of the Classic orders we shall return; for the moment it will be better to follow a chronological sequence and take up the principal examples of the country mansion, some of which were from the first intended to be Classic buildings. Of the house built at Gorhambury in Hertfordshire (1563) for Sir Nicholas Bacon, the father of Lord Bacon, too little remains to render its design intelligible, except that it still retains in its lofty window the Tudor pointed arch; but in Longleat in Wiltshire, built by Sir John Thynne (1567-1580), we have a typical example, the design of which departs from the English type, though it would seem to have been carried out according to the traditional custom of entrusting the whole work to a master-mason, and furnishing him with sketch designs of some kind suggesting the required arrangements of the plan, the principal features of the exterior elevation and the internal disposition. This custom was adhered to far into the 18th century at Oxford and Cambridge, where the alterations and additions to some of the colleges, such as the chapel of Clare College, Cambridge (1763), were carried out by master-masons or builders who were supplied with sketch designs and sometimes even the materials for the buildings they had to carry out, notwithstanding the existence of properly trained architects, who from the first half of the 17th century were usually entrusted with the preparation of the necessary designs for new structures of any considerable importance.
The name of the designer of Longleat is not known; the master-mason was Robert Smithson, who in 1580 went to Wollaton in Nottinghamshire and constructed the mansion there. Longleat is so Italian in style that it must have been conceived by some one who had been in Italy, because it departs from the usual English type. The plan is rectangular, with a frontage of 220 ft. by 180 ft. deep, an entrance porch in the centre, with two projecting bays on each side carried up through the three storeys, and three similar bays on the flanks. The whole block is crowned with a parapet, the centre portion of which is pierced with a balustrade, but the main cornice bears no resemblance to the Italian feature, being only that of the entablature of the upper order. The projecting bays are decorated with pilasters of the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders, each with its proper entablature. These classic features would seem to have been copied from a work by John Shute, painter and architect, who had been sent to Italy by the duke of Northumberland in 1551, and in 1563 brought out his Chief Groundes of Architecture, the first practical work published in English on architecture. Shute died in the same year, but two other editions appeared in 1579 and 1584, which shows that it must have had an extensive circulation and probably exercised the greatest influence on English architecture. A second book on the orders, already referred to as published in 1577 by Jan Vredeman de Vries of Antwerp, was not of the same type, for instead of confining his work, like Shute and Serlio, to a simple representation of the Classic orders, he introduced, on the shafts of his columns and on the pedestals, designs of the most debased rococo type, with additional plates suggesting their application to various buildings. Robert Smithson, or his client Sir Fr. Willoughby, apparently obtained a copy of this book, and the result is seen (Plate VI., fig. 76) in the mansion built at Wollaton (1580-1588), in which we find the first examples of elaborately decorated pedestals; crestings on the angle towers, the design of which is known as strap-work; and medallions with busts in them, enclosed with twisted curves similar to those which flowers and leaves take when thrown into the fire. The plan and the scheme of the design of Wollaton is, however, so far superior to the usual type, that it may fairly be ascribed to John Thorpe, an architect or surveyor, of whose drawings there is a large collection in the Soane Museum, representing many of the more important mansions of the Elizabethan era; some of his own design, others either plans measured from existing buildings upon which he was called in to report or copies from other sources, and some reproduced from published works such as Vredeman de Vries’s pattern book and Androuet du Cerceau’s Des plus excellents bastiments de France (1576).
To John Thorpe is also attributed the design of Kirby Hall (1570-1572) in Northamptonshire, in which the plan of the feudal castle with great central court is still retained. This court is symmetrically designed, and was evidently considered to be the principal feature, the decoration being far richer than that of the exterior of the building.
Amongst other important mansions are Moreton Old Hall (1550-1559, partly rebuilt in 1602; see House, Plate III., fig. 11) in Cheshire, a fine house in half-timber; Knole House, Kent (1570), possibly also designed by John Thorpe; Charlecote Hall (1572) near Stratford-on-Avon; Burleigh House, Northamptonshire (1575), the most remarkable feature in which is the great tower in the courtyard, decorated with the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders superposed, the design apparently suggested by a similar feature in the château of Anet, France (published in du Cerceau); Apethorpe Hall, Northamptonshire (1580); Montacute House, Somersetshire (1580-1600); Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire (1583-1589); Brereton Hall, Cheshire (1575-1586), in brick and stone; Westwood Park, Worcestershire (1590); Wakehurst Place, Sussex (1590); Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire (1590-1597); Longford Castle, Wiltshire (1591-1612); Cobham Hall, Kent (1594); Dorton House, Buckinghamshire (1596); Speke Hall, Lancashire (1598), partly in half-timber work; Holland House, Kensington (1606; wings and arcades, 1624); Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire (1607-1613); Charlton House, Kent (1607); Bramshill, Hampshire (1607-1612), an interesting example of Jacobean architecture; Hatfield, Hertfordshire (1608-1611), with an extremely fine courtyard (north side in brick and stone, 1621); Audley End, Essex (1610-1616), a great portion of which was afterwards pulled down; Ham House, Surrey (1610), chiefly in brick; Pinkie House, at Musselburgh in Midlothian (1613); Aston Hall near Birmingham (1618-1635); Blickling Hall, Norfolk (1619); Heriot’s hospital, Edinburgh (1628-1659); and Lanhydroc, Cornwall (1636-1641), which brings us down to the period of the pure Italian Revival introduced by Inigo Jones.
We have already referred to the reproduction of the Classic orders, superposed as an enrichment of the principal entrance doorways. In addition to Burton Agnes and Burleigh House, there are endless examples in mansions and country houses, but the most remarkable are those at Oxford: in the old Schools, where coupled columns flank the entrance gateway with the five orders superposed, and in Merton and Wadham Colleges, with four orders (the Tuscan being omitted), in neither case taking any cognizance of the levels of windows or string courses of the earlier building to which they were applied, or serving any structural purpose. The orders were all taken from one of the pattern books, and in the Schools and in Merton College the rococo ornament and strap-work found in Vredeman de Vries’s work were copied with more or less fidelity to the original. There are, however, two or three buildings in Northamptonshire which are free from rococo work, and in their design form a pleasant contrast, as much to the elaboration of the buildings just described as to the cold formality of the works of the later Italian style. Lyveden new buildings (1577), the Triangular Lodge at Rushton, and the Market House at Rothwell, are all examples in which the orders from Serlio or John Shute are faithfully represented, and are of a refined character; in the first named the entablatures only of the orders are introduced. In Rushton Hall (1595) the cresting of the bow windows shows the evil influence of Vredeman de Vries’s pattern-book and of numerous designs by him and other Belgian artists, which were printed at the Plantin press. Two other publications of a similar rococo type were brought out in Germany, one by Cammermayer (1564) and the other by Dietterlin (1594), both at Nuremberg; neither of them would seem to have been much known in England, but indirectly through German craftsmen they may have influenced some of the work of the Jacobean period, and more particularly the chimney pieces and the ceilings