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Palladio and English-American Palladianism

ANDREA PALLADIO distilled his architec-tural principles from personal examination of the ruins of classical Rome, from study of the works of Vitruvius, Alberti and other writers who preceded him, and from interaction with older architects of his own time, such as Jacopo Sansovino, Michele Sanmicheli and Giulio Romano. 

This process enabled Palladio to design a remarkable collection of villas, palaces, churches and other buildings for patrons in the Veneto region of Italy.  Palladio's greatest achievement, however, was in conceptualizing the principles which guided


his work and articulating them in his masterwork, Four Books on Architecture.

This was the step which made possible the dissemination of his architectural style, known as Palladianism, throughout continental Europe, England and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, establishing Palladio as the most influential figure in the history of architecture. 

The timeline below traces the pathway of Palladianism from Palladio's Veneto to England and colonial America.

         Palladio and his Four Books
Related Events and Publications
Andrea Palladio (1608-1580) designs villas, palaces and churches in the Veneto.
1538-   1580

Palladio's masterwork, Four Books on Architecture
is published in Venice

Palladio dies.
English Palladianism Begins
Inigo Jones
Inigo Jones
1598-   1603
Inigo Jones (1573-1652) travels to Italy to study architecture, probably funded by Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland (1576-1612).

Inigo Jones arrives in the Veneto on his second trip, carrying with him a copy of the 1601 Italian edition of I quattro libri. He writes copious marginal notes on differences he notes between its woodcuts and the actual buildings he visits. 'All of Palladio's works are lighter than in the drawings.'

1613-   1615
Inigo Jones travels to Italy as guide for Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel (1585-1646).  They meet with architect Vincenzo Scamozzi in August 1614 and buy chests of Palladio and Scamozzi drawings.
Queen's House, Greenwich
Queen's House, Greenwich
Inigo Jones designs the Queen's House, Greenwich. Construction is not completed until 1638, with the flanking colonnades and wings added in 1807.
Inigo Jones is appointed Surveyor of the King's Works.
Banqueting House, Whitehall
Banqueting House, Whitehall
Inigo Jones designs the Banqueting House, Whitehall.  Early drawings included a pediment over the three central bays.
Henry Wotton (1568-1639), The Elements of Architecture (London), a paraphrase of Vitruvius' Ten Books on Architecture. Wotton was appointed British ambassador to Venice in 1604 and lived there for most of the ensuing twenty years.

Vyne, Basingstoke, Hampshire

John Webb (1611-1672), Inigo Jones' in-law and former assistant, designs the portico addition at Vyne, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Christopher Wren (1632-1723) is appointed Surveyor-General of the King's Works.  For the rest of the century Wren's influence moves English architecture away from Palladian classicism and toward a baroque style.
Edmund Warcupp's L'Italia nella sua gloria originari, rovina e rinascita (Italy in its original glory, ruin and rebirth) (London, 1660), prob. written decades earlier, cites Palladio's fame as a reviver of classical principles and praises him as a European cultural model.
 Godfrey Richard, trans., The First Book of Architecture by Andrea Palladio (London). 1st English ed., Book I only, with illustrations from Pierre Le Muet's 1645 French edition. Reprinted in 12 editions through 1733.

John Evelyn's translation from French of Roland Fréart de Chambray's A Parallel of the Antient Architecture with the Modern (Paris, 1650)

James Gibbs
James Gibbs
James Gibbs (1682-1754) returns to England after architecture research in Italy.
Third Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), in his Letter concerning design criticizes buildings which retain 'what artists call the Gothic style.'
1713? [cf 1705]
Giacomo Leoni (1686-1746) moves to London from Germany to serve Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Kent.
William Kent (c1685-1748), while studying in Rome with financial support from a group of Yorkshire gentlemen, tours Palladio's palaces in Vicenza with Thomas Coke, later 1st Earl of Leicester.
Third Earl of Burlington
Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington
1714-   1715

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork (1594-1753), travels to Italy.

1715-   1725
Colen Campbell (1676-1729), Vitruvius Britannicus or the British Architect, vol. 1. He condemns the works of Bernini and Fontana, as well as the 'odd and chimerical Beauties' of Borromini.  Among buildings designed by Campbell: Wanstead House, Essex (begun 1713/14); Stourhead, Wilshire (1721); Houghton Hall (1722) (replaced by Gibbs); Mereworth Castle, Kent (1722); and Waverley Abbey, Surrey 1723).
 Giacomo Leoni, The Architecture of A. Palladio, in Four Books.  Italian and French texts with English translation by Nicholas Dubois. Allegorical frontispiece by Sebastiano Ricci. Engravers supervised by Bernard Picart.  Among buildings designed by Leoni: Clandon Park (begun 1730); Wortley Hall; and Alkrington Hall, Middleton.
1716-   1720
Lord Burlington travels to the Veneto specifically to study (and survey) Palladio's work.  While there he buys all of Palladio's drawings he can find. Returning to England, he buys a large part of the Inigo Jones collection of Palladio's drawings.
 Leoni reprint, English volume only (London: John Darby). Originally intended to include Inigo Jones' notes, but rights could not be cleared.
Chiswick House
Chiswick House, near London
1725-   1730
Lord Burlington builds Chiswick House on his estate near London.
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
William Kent (c1685-1748), ed., Designs of Inigo Jones and Others (London: Isaac Ware), with support from Lord Burlington; republished 1770.  Although best known as an interior designer and landscape architect, Kent also (with Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester) designed Holkham Hall, Norfolk (begun 1734).
 Colen Campbell, sponsored by Burlington, publishes Book I of Palladio's Four Books as Andrea Palladio's First Book of Architecture, reprinted the next year as Andrea Palladio's Five Orders of Architecture.
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London; Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
  James Gibbs, A Book of Architecture (London).  Among buildings designed by Gibbs were the Church of St.Mary-le-Strand, Westminster (begun 1714); Ditchley, Oxfordshire (1720); the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London (1721); Fellows' Building, King's College, Cambridge (1724); and the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford (1739).
  Robert Morris (1703-1754), An Essay in Defense of Ancient Architecture; or a Parallel of the Ancient Buildings with the Modern.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744), An Epistle to the Right Honourable Lord Burlington (London).
    James Gibbs, Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture (London).


Robert Morris, Lectures on Architecture, Consisting of Rules Founded upon Harmonick and Arithmetical Proportions in Building
Fabbriche antiche
c1735-   1740
Lord Burlington, Fabbriche antiche, from Burlington's collection of Palladio's unpublished drawings.
 Edward Hoppus, Andrea Palladio's Architecture, in Four Books (London: Benjamin Cole), which pirates Campbell's Book I, and Leoni's Books 2-4.
Isaac Ware (1704-1766), Designs of Inigo Jones and Others (London).
 Isaac Ware, The Four Books of Andrea Palladio's Architecture (London), with Lord Burlington's support.
Ware, Four Books of Palladio's Architecture
 American Palladianism Begins
Du Simitiere, Drayton Hall-Charleston, S. C. watercolor (1765)
Drayton Hall, Charleston, S. C.
in 1765 watercolor by P. E. du Simitiere (c1736-1784) 
1738-   1742
Drayton Hall, Charleston, S. C., built by John Drayton.

Robert Morris, An Essay upon Harmony as it relates chiefly to Situation and Building.
 Francesco Muttoni, ed., The Architecture of Andrea Palladio (Venice)
 Leoni reprint, with Inigo Jones' notes and L'Antichità di Roma.
Harrison, Redwood Library, Newport, I. I.
Redwood Library, Newport, R. I.
Redwood Library, Newport, R. I., is begun, after a design by architect Peter Harrison (based on a plate in Hoppus 1735).
Robert Morris, Rural Architecture; republished 1755 and 1757 as Select Architecture.
Jefferson, Monticello I, Albemarle County, Va.
Monticello I planning drawing by Thomas Jefferson
c1750- c1800
Numerous Palladio-influenced houses, churches and public buildings are built throughout America, often inspired by the books of Campbell, Gibbs, Kent and Morris and other patternbooks published in England throughout the century.  Examples include: King's Chapel, Boston (begun 1749); Mount Airy, Richmond County, Va. (1758); Jumel-Morris House, New York (1765); Brandon, Prince George County, Va. (c1765); Monticello I, Albemarle County, Va. (1771); Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis, Md. (1774); Wye House, Talbot County, Md. (1781).
Greek Revival Begins
James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, The Antiquities of Athens, vol. 1, with 5-volume series completed in 1816.
Isaac Ware, A Complete Book of Architecture (London), relying heavily on Marc-Antoine Laugier, Essai sur l'architecture (France, 1753).
  Ware's A Complete Book of Architecture, like Morris' 1739 book extolling 'situation,' signals a cooling of interest in Palladio, although he remains preëminent.
1773-   1778
Robert and James Adam, Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, vol. 1, with additional volumes in 1779 and (posthumously) 1822.

further reading, see CPSA's Suggestions for a Palladian Bookshelf.

2009-2011 Center for Palladian Studies in America, Inc. / C. I. G.