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V-

History of Interior Design

John
The

Pile

first

decade.

major survey text on

acknowledges

the arts and crafts,

of personal

and public space. John

that interior design

unclear boundaries,

overlap.

design for over a

Histoiy of Intenor Design delivers the inside

story on 6,000 years


Pile

interior

a field with

is

which construction,

in

architecture,

technology, and product design

These topics are

woven together

in

all

a fascinating

from cave dwellings and temple


architecture, through Gothic cathedrals and Renaissance
narrative that runs

palaces onto the grand civic spaces of the nineteenth


century and the sleek interiors of

Embedded

in

modern

sky-scrapers.

a social and political context, detailed

discussions of famous buildings, from the Parthenon


with
to the Pompidou Center, are interspersed
investigations of the domestic vernacular - the

cottages, farmhouses, apartments,

and

city terraces

inhabited by ordinary people. Primary source quotations


are used to provide contemporary perspectives

wide

on a

variety of interior settings.

With 400

illustrations,

Tadao Ando Architect

200

&

in

color

Associates,

Kidosaki House, Tokyo, Japan,

Shinkenchiku-sha

The Japan

1982-6
Architect Co., Ltd, Japan

History of

NTERIOR DESIGN

lOHN

WTi FY
:

hnsbane

<:nN; tkh

Singapore

Toronto

in

2
6

Contents

Islamic Influence 52

Preface 8

Acknowledgments

The Mosque 52

Moorish Elements

in

Spanish

Romanesque 53

Prehistory to Early Civilizations


Prehistoric Interiors

The Later Middle Ages

Archeological Evidence 10
The

First

Shelters

Dolmens and Barrows

Evidence from Tribal Cultures


Pattern

The

and Design

First

Elements of Gothic Style 54


New Construction Techniques 56
Gothic Cathedrals and Churches 59
France 59

Permanent Settlements

Mesopotamia: Sumeria 16
Ancient Egypt

England 62
Elsew/here in Europe 63
Secular Gothic Buildings 64

Geometry and Proportion

54

Egyptian Temples and

Houses 18 Egyptian Furniture and Other

INSIGHTS; CONSTRUCTION WORK


MEDIEVAL BUILDINC^S

Interior

Furnishings 19

IN

Castles and Palaces 66

Classical Civilizations: Greece

and Rome

20

Minoan and Mycenaean Cultures 20

The Renaissance

Knossos 20

Mycenae and Tityns 20


Greece 22
The Temple 22
Secular Interiors 24
INSIGHTS:THE GROWTH OF ATHENS

2000 by
Calmann & King Ltd,
Copyright

All rights reserved.

Library of Congress

Cataloging-in-Publication

Data
Pile,

Rome

John

by John

25

p.cm.

(cloth

alk.

paper)

INSIGHTS;

Alberti

THE COST OF LIVING

79

The High Renaissance 79


Bramante 79
Palaces 82

IN

ANCIENT ROME 32

INSIGHTS; VASARI'S

Interior decoration-

Furniture

History. I.Title.

History 72

Michelozzo 78

Secular Buildings 31

ISBN 0-471-35666-2

in

Brunelleschi 75

27

Domes 27
Amphitheaters and Baths 28
Temples 30

Includes index.

Renaissance Interest

Elements of Renaissance Style 74


The Early Renaissance 75

Arches, Vaults, and

Pile,

in Italy 72

The Rise of Humanism 72

History of interior design/

Medieval Houses 68
Innovations in Domestic Comfort 70

and Other

Interior Furnishings

ACCOUNT OF THE

FARNESE PALACE 82

34

The Legacy of Rome: Technology 34

The Late Renaissance and Mannerism 84

NKI710.P55 2000
7472-dc21

Michelangelo 85

Romano 86
Printed in

Hong Kong

Early Christian, Byzantine,

Romanesque

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

<

was
designed and

INSIGHTS: THE

produced by
LTD,

London
www.calmann-king.co.uk

Designed by Thomas

Palladio 87

Vignola 89

36

Interior Furnishings 89

Early Christian Design 36


Byzantine Design 38

This book

CALMANN & KING

and

Manss & Company and


Richard Foenander
Picture research by

RAVENNA MOSA ICS 39

Baroque and Rococo


Northern Europe 92

Secular Buildings 41

Early Medieval: The "Dark Ages" 41


The Romanesque Style 41
Churches 42
Italy

Hong Kong

Frontispiece: Gentile

Mansueti, The Miraculous

Healing of the Daughter of

43 France 44 England 45

Ser Benvegnudo of San Polo,


c.

1502-5.

Bernmi 94 Borrommi 95

and Castles 46
Monasteries and Abbeys 48
Fortresses

INSIGHTS:

Venice 97
Longhena 97

THE ABBEY AT CLUNY 48

Houses 49
Furniture and Other

in Italy

Elements of Baroque Style 92


The Baroque in Italy 92
Rome 94

Scandinavia 46
Printed in

90

Ravenna 39
Hagia Sophia 40

Germany 42

Susan Bolsom

Furniture

Coverings 91

Turin 97
Cuarini

Interior Furnishings

50

Baroque

97 Juvarra 99
in

Northern Europe

00

and

Contents

100

Austria

Colonial and Federal America

103
Germany 103
Furniture and Other Interior Features

54

Switzerland

Colonial Styles in Latin America


Colonial Styles in North America

06

54
56

Houses 156
and Interior
Furnishings 157
Churches and Meeting Houses
58
American Georgian 59
American Georgian Houses
59
American Georgian and Queen Anne
Furniture 163
Late Colonial Public Buildings 163
Federal Styles 165
Jefferson
65
Bulfinch 166
Thornton and Latrobe
66
Furniture of the Federal Period
69
Other Furnishings of the Federal
Period 170
Early Colonial

I
I

Renaissance, Baroque, and


Rococo in France and Spain 108
France 108
108

Early Renaissance

High Renaissance
Baroque
1

Versailles

116

INSIGHTS: LOUIS XIV


Louvre

12

AND

VERSAILLES 116

117 Baroque Churches 120

Furnishings

Early Colonial Furniture

Furniture

and

121

Regency to Rococo
Pans Hotels 123 The

Petit

23
Trianon

124 Regency

and Rococo Furniture 125

This book

Rococo to Neoclassicism 125


The Empire Style 127

Published simultaneously
in

INSIGHTS THE EMPIRE STYLE 128

The Regency, Revivals, and

130

Provincial Style

Spain 131

Desornamentado

32

32
Furniture and Other Interior Features

Churrigueresco

32

No part of this publication


may be reproduced, stored

Regency 172

transmitted

Nash 172
Soane 174
Regency Furniture
Revivals 175
Creek Revival 175

74

othenvise, except as

permitted under Sections

107
States

176

38

141

Jacobean 142
Jones

142 Jacobean

Interior Furnishings

143

From Carolean to William and Mary


Wren 143 Carolean and William and Mary
Furnishings

THE PUBUC'S PERCEPTION OF


CRYSTAL PALACE 186
INSIGHTS:

Robert and James

and

Eiffel

INSIGHTSillOBERT

147

ADAM ANDSYON HOUSE

Georgian Town Houses 149 Other Building Types

Georgian Furniture and

Interior Furnishings

48
1

50

Clearance Center, 222

Rosewood

50

8400, fax(978)7504744. Requests to the


Publisher for permission

should be addressed to the

88

John Wiley & Sons.

Inc..

605

New

Third Avenue,

NY 10158-0012,

(212) 850-6011, fax (212)

90

850-6008,
1

E-Mail:

PERMREQ@WILEY,COM.

90

Britain 193

This publication

Mansions 193
Middle-class Houses and Public
Buildings 193
Shaw and the Queen Anne Revival
United States: Victorian Variations
Mansions 197
Vernacular House Styles
98

designed to provide accu-

Shingle Style

Drive. Danvers,

MA01923, (978)750-

York,

The Roots of Victorian Style

Adam 148

fee to the Copyright

Permissions Department.

France: Labrouste, Baltard,

The Victorian Era

Georgian 147

payment of

the appropnate per-copy

145

Furniture

Act, without either the

tion through

83

43

Interior

Queen Anne 146


Queen Anne

and Inventions 184


Industry and Interiors 184
Iron and Class 185
England: Paxton 186

140

Elizabethan Furniture

108 of the 1976

pnor written permission of

178 England 180

Early Industrialization

England 139
Tudor 140
Elizabethan

or

United States Copynght

The industrial Revolution

36
Buildings 136
1

or

electronic,

the Publisher, or authoriza-

Private Dwellings

any form

recording, scanning or
1

Gothic Revival 178


United states

Civic

in

mechanical, photocopying,

Low Countries

a retrieval system, or

by any means,

Germany 175 England 176 United

Renaissance to Georgian in The


Low Countries and England 36

Canada

industrial Revolution 172

in

131

Plateresco

printed on

IS

acidlree paper

199 Adirondack

Style

200

Shaker Design 200

rate

is

and authoritative

information

in

regard to

the subject matter covered.


1

94
1 95

It IS

sold with the under-

standing that the


publisher
in

is

not engaged

rendenng professional

services.

If

professional

advice or other expert


assistance

is

services of a

required, the

competent

professional person should

INSIGHTS:

THE SHAKER^PHILOSOPH'T^oT

be sought.

9
Contents

Early Skyscrapers

Public Buildings
Furness

202
205

Eclecticism 244
The Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris 244

205

United States 247


Key Architects and Designers 247

Furniture and Other Interior


Furnishings 206

Hunt 247 McKim, Mead, & White 249

l^

Public Buildings

The Aesthetic Movements


Britain: Arts

and Crafts

Early Skyscrapers

21 o

The Rise of the


2

American Decorators 256

210
Morris 210
Webb 213

Eclecticism in Professional Practice

Eclecticism for the

and the aesthetic

Houses and Apartments 259 Furniture and

Europe 261

Voysey 218 Mackmurdo 218 Mackintosh 219

Scandinavia 263

United States: The Craftsman

Britain

Movement

Lutyens

Stickley

and the Roycrofters 219

263
264

INSIGHTS: SIR

EDWIN LUTYENS AND THE VICEROYS

Bradley 220

HOUSE

Richardson 221

Ocean Liners 265


The Spread of Eclecticism 265

Greene & Green and Maybeck 223


Developments in Continental Europe 223
Germany: Muthesius 225
The Netherlands: Berlage 225

IN

NEW

DELHI 264

The Emergence of Modernism 266


Frank Lloyd Wright 266
The Early Commissions 268

Art Nouveau and the Vienna


Secession 226

INSIGHTS: THE PHILOSOPHY OF

FRANK L[0YD

WRIGHT 269

Roots and Characteristics of Art


Nouveau 226
Belgium 229
Horta 229
INSIGHTS: ViaOR HO RTA AND ART NOUVEAU 229
VandeVelde 230
France 230
The School of Nancy 230
Guimard 230
Other French Designers 232
Spain 232
Gaudi 232
Germany: Jugendstil 232
Endell 233
Riemerschmidt and Behrens 234
Scandinavia 234
Austria: The Vienna Secession 234
Olbrich 234
Wagner 235
INSIGHTS: OTTO WAGNER AND "MODERN

260 Movie Theaters 261

Accessories

Modernism 218

259
Masses 259

Stripped Classicism

HOUSE 215
Links to

256

Saarmen and Cranbrook Academy 257

Designers 214

insTghts: rossetti

255

De Wolfe 255 Wood 255 McMillen 255 Other

Crafts

British

Interior Decorator

Ruskin and the Roots of Arts and

Other

252
252

DeStijI 270

Mondrian and van Doesburg 270


271

Rietveld

Pioneers of the International Style 272


Gropius and the Bauhaus 272
Mies van der Rohe 274
Work

of the

920s and

INSIGHTS: MIES

930s 274

VAN DER ROHE: THE TUCENDHAT

HOUSE 221
Emigration to the United States

276

Later

Commissions 277

Le Corbusier

278

Pans: Developing the

Houses,

Villas,

INSIGHTS:

Machine Aesthetic 278

Early

and Apartments 279

THE PHILOSOPHY OF

LE

CORBUSI ER 282

Town Planning 283 Post-War Years 284


Late Commissions 285

Aalto 285
INSIGHTS:

THE VISION OF ALVAR AALTO 286

ARCHITECTURE" 236

Hoffmann 236
Loos 238
United States 238
Tiffany 238
Sullivan 240

Art Deco and Industrial Design 290

ArtDeco 290
France 290
Furniture Designers

290

Textile Design

293

Contents

Ocean

Liners

Urban Office Buildings 341


343

293

United States 295


Designers from Europe

Office Planning

295 Deco

Architecture

295

296

Britain

344

Interior Designers

Industrial Design 297

Furnishings 346

Loewy and Other Designers 298


Design Training 300
Residential Design 301
Kitchens and Bathrooms 301
Lighting 302
Textiles, Carpets, and Furniture 303

Textiles

The Spread of Early Modernism


Europe 304

Prophets of Future Design 348


Kahn 348

in

The Netherlands 306


Germany and Austria 306

Stirling

354
356

INSIGHTS JAMES STIRLING 356

Post-modernism 357
Venturi and Scott Brown 357
Craves 359

America 314

Architects and Designers 314

314

Wright: 1920s and 1930s


Schindler and Neutra

314

319

Johnson 361
Post-modernism in Europe 361
The Revival of Tradition 362
Creenberg 362
Stern 362
Late Modernism 364
Pel

364

Gwathmey and Meier 366

Lescaze 320

Goodwin and Stone 321


Cropius and Breuer 321
Mies van der Rohe 322
Johnson 323
Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill 323
Eero Saarinen 324
Interior Decoration: The Reaction to
Modernism 324
Furniture and other Interior
Furnishings 325
Knoll

ROGERS AND PIANO AND THE CENTRE


POMPIDOU 353

INSIGHTS;

Foster

307
Switzerland 308
France 308
Scandinavia 310
England 31

Cili

351

High-tech 351
Fuller 351

Rogers and Piano 353

Italy

in

346

Late Twentieth-Century Design 348

Pelli

Modernism

Individual Stylists 367


Starck 367

Putman 368
Deconstructivism 369
Eisenman 370
Gehry 371
Other Trends 373
East-West Crossovers 373
Preservation

375

Green Buildings 376

325

Herman

Miller Furniture

Company 326
Glossary 378
Bibliography 384

* The Ascendency of Modernism 328

Picture Credits 388

Index 390
Italy

346

Furniture and Other Interior

Scandinavia 296

Office Furniture

328

INSIGHTS^ CIO PO NTE: PIRELLI

Scandinavia 331
France 334
Germany 334
The Netherlands 335
Britain 336
United States 337

TOWER 330

Preface

modern world, human

In the

experience

life

We may

from

offers

it

much

that so

of

most of us

time,

We

room.

the times of their origins, but they exert their influ-

an

house, a

live inside a

that

and

air

love
sky,

spent inside. Most of the

sleep, eat, cook, bathe,

time "at home"


in

life is

or a

flat,

and spend

Work

inside.

is,

work space such


museum, school, or

hospital, concert hall,

college

involves

farmer

the

work

in the

machinery and
television,

being a

air,

other

go

to

and

as driving a

open

or

truck,

endless. Agriculture

is

still

modern

but even the

spend time inside the cab of a

likely to

is

tractor,

list

sleep.

piece

of

in the past

ence on the

agricultural

home to a house to eat, watch


Modern work activities such

of the crew of a submarine,

aircraft carrier, or spacecraft lead to a

work

life

takes place within a vehicle, a cockpit, or

that

some

other enclosure.

The study of

beings on earth, scien-

they house as

lives that

interior design,
is

development

its

a useful

way both

to

explore the past and to

make

sense of the spaces in

which modern

lived.

Professional interior

life

is

designers are expected to study design history, to

know
and

the practices of the past in terms of "styles,"

to

know

names and the nature of

the

contributions of those individuals

who

the

generated

the most interesting and influential approaches to


design.

Since the interiors that one might wish to


are scattered across the globe
access,

becomes

it

and often

necessary

visit

difficult to

turn

to

to

photographs, descriptions, and, increasingly, film,


television,

human

and

and change through history

bus or truck, piloting an airplane, or

member

activities

long as they continue in use.

free

takes place

office, a factory, a specialized

as a

political realities also influenced life

reflects the realit)'

life

but the very joy of being outside

economic, and

inside enclosure,

open

the out-of-doors for the sense of


for the escape

is

and these forces have had major impact


on built environments. Buildings and their interiors are planned to serve the purposes and styles of

largely played out in interior spaces.

and the internet

to gain

an insight into

detailed record of events

humanly constructed interior space.


The sheer number of books on the subject and the
variety of emphasis can make a coherent history of

call

interior design difficult to extract

There have been

now

tists

estimate, for about 1.7 million years.

The

and developments that we


"history" stretches back for only about 6000 or

7000

years. Before the

beginning of history we have

only myths, legends, and guesswork to

tell

us what

events occurred in what order. There have been

many

speculations about

when and where people

learned to use shelters and what the earliest

first

habitations

were

Early

like.

shelters

existed

to

provide the interior spaces that offered comfort to


their inhabitants.

Those

interior spaces influenced

the lives of their occupants in significant ways.


Interior design,

an aspect of

interiors of the

great

whether professional or not,

is

and understand.

The purpose of this book is to deliver in one


volume of reasonable size a basic survey of 6000
years of personal and public space. Development of
such a book is inevitably beset by a number of
complications. Interiors do not exist in isolation in
the way that a painting or a sculpture does, but
vsdthin some kind of shell
a hut, a building, even a
ship or airplane. They are also crammed with a
range of objects

lighting, textiles,

and

sometimes

artifacts:
art.

furniture,

This means that

impossible to escape. In

interior design

is

a field with unclear boundaries,

domain of one's own home, the


homes of friends and relatives, of

overlapping as

it

does the realms of construction,

life

addition to the

the history of

that

is

architecture, art, the crafts, the technologies of

offices, stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals, trans-

heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, water

port vehicles, and every other sort of place where

drainage

modern life is lived, make up the modern world as


we know it. It is obvious that people in bygone
times had

different

experience

life

in

large

equipment,

"product design,"

in

and what
the

is

now

and

called

forms of appliances,

plumbing fixtures, and other kinds of equipment.


The number of interiors that have been created

measure because they occupied interiors that were


different from those that are now commonplace.

over time, even the

To

thus faced with a vast range of choices about what

consider for a

serf living in a

monk in

moment

the

farm dwelling,

life

of a medieval

a knight in a castle, a

a monastery, the lord

and lady

in

an eigh-

teenth-century mansion, a Victorian family in a

row house brings to mind


on the spaces created in such
city

life

pattern based

past times. Social,

is

staggering.

number

currently in existence,

The author of one compact

history

is

No two writers in
same choices and the decisions made in writing this book are those of the
writer and are based on the following assumptions:
to include

and what

this field will

1.

make

to exclude.

the

Interiors are an integral part of the structures

Acknowledgments

them

that contain

means

in

most

that interior design

is

cases, biiiltiings. This

they have major impact

inextricably linked to

design.

and can only be studied within an

architecture

coverage

architectural context.

Owing to
human design

coverage

activity,

necessarily

is

the history of interior


this

limited to edited highlights.

is

from

Quotations

6.

the vast geographical spread of

2.

on

However, demands on space mean that


primary

sources

are

number of

included in "Insights" boxes within a

some sense of the contempowork of particular periods.

chapters. These offer

limited to a restricted part of the global totality.

rary view of the

The choice made here is to examine Western, that


is European and American, design practice and its

sion of periods, examples, personages, and related

prehistoric

origins.

This

not

is

because

non-

The reader

is

encouraged to seek further discus-

subjects to whatever extent curiosity

Western work is in any way inferior or less interesting than Western achievement, but rather

allow.

because the aim in writing history

innumerable aspects of interior design.

to discover

is

woven into an
book, we follow the

thread that runs through time from ancient Egypt,

Rome,

and

Greece,

and

medieval

through

Renaissance Europe, the eighteenth and nineteenth

and eventually culminates in the twentwenty-first centuries. Coverage of the

centuries,

and

tieth

and

nineteenth

emphasis

centuries

twentieth

and

Making

Best of

acceptance ot certain

The examples chosen

in

this

book

own

are

right

Some examples are so well-known that they require


inclusion (the Pantheon in Rome and the cathedral
of Chartres,

for

example); other examples are

chosen because they are unusually well preserved


or because they illustrate the
interesting

or

important

work of a

designer.

particularly

Along with

discussion of well-known "important" examples,


also attention to the "everyday," vernacular

are closer to

and

most

hand

will limit

readers, seeing examples that

will

out the limits of any book

fill

offer a richer experience of the realities of inte-

rior space.

Many

people have contributed to the development

and production of this book. The following list


names those who have had a particularly important
wish to extend my thanks for
role. To all of them
I

their efforts

Enclosed spaces such as ruins, ancient

sites,

and patience.

For acceptance of the manuscript and decision


to

publish:

Director at

Ripley

Lee

For their diligent and

&

King

Greenfield,

Ltd:

John Wiley

and

Manager;

Picture

Designer;

Sons, Inc.

Calmann
Thompson, Senior
Webb, Senior Editor;

Damian

Bolsom,

&

skillful efforts at

Developmental Editor; Nell


Foenander,

Editorial

Calmann & King Ltd and Amanda

Miller, Executive Editor at

Susan

design of historic periods.


4.

visits for

visiting the spaces that

is

While time and expense

Acknowledgments

or epitomize a certain time and place in history.

is

such

of course,

given

is

either aesthetically outstanding in their

there

all,

are of interest.

a selection of interiors for discussion

illustration requires the

criteria.

interest

to reflect the greater interest felt in the

developments of recent times.


3.

and

will serve as a

guide to books that offer extended coverage of

threads of connectedness that can be


intelligible narrative. In this

The bibliography provided

Kim

Richardson,

Richard

Copy-

Awdry, Production Manager.

and open courtyards are given due consideration


even though the sky may be their only ceiling and

editor;

they are therefore not strictly interiors.

Jan Graffius, and Sharon Goldstein. For advice and

5.

Related

lighting,

fields

such as furniture,

textiles,

and product design are discussed since

Felicity

For additional editorial work: Lydia Darbyshire,

commentary: Linda Keene


Institute of Chicago.

at

the Art School, Art

Prehistory to Early Civilizations

Living in the modern, technologically advanced

world,

we

take

of our time

is

for granted that a

it

major portion

here, does not signify simple, crude, or inferior, but

offices, shops,

or

refers

we study in schools and colleges, we eat in


restaurants, we stay in hotels, and we travel inside
automobiles, buses, trains, ships, and airplanes. To
most often

is

this

to

peoples,

or

cultures,

civilizations

untouched by the modern technological world

as

it

has developed during the few thousands of years


for

which we have detailed

history.

temporary situation

while traveling from one inside space to another.

Human

"primitive," as used

in

factories,

be outside

The term

exist.

We live

spent inside, or "indoors."

houses or apartments, we work in

the beginning of the recorded history of the regions

where they

Archeological Evidence

beings differ from other living creatures in

acceptance of inside space as the most usual

environment

The

for living.

It

First Shelters

reasonable to assume that the

is

were either found

Prehistoric Interiors

made

caves

shelters

first

example

for

or

were

with materials that were easy to work with

bare hands or with very simple tools. Although the

There have been

human

beings on earth for about

The detailed record of events and


developments that we call "history" stretches back
1.7 million years.

for only

about

six

or seven thousand years. Before

we have only myths,

the beginning of history

that ancient people


that

often used to describe early

made

is

certainly evidence

use of caves,

unlikely

it is

caves were the most widely used of early

human

Caves

living places.

number

only in certain

exist

particularly comfortable or attractive places to

live.

While the famous cave paintings

(fig.

first

learned to use shelters,

earliest shelters

Guesswork

were

like,

have been

is

aided in

some measure by

1.1),

and

their

infor-

from the weather.

the "primitive" peoples usually studied by anthropologists. Prehistoric materials are physical objects,

or structures, that date from times before

Chauvet

at

is

no

certainty that

they were dwelling places. Perhaps they were emer-

other hand, with the current or recent practices of

artifacts,

limited, nor are they

Lascaux, and Altamira clearly prove that early

gency

that

deal with,

1.1 "Lion Panel,"

is

peoples used these caves, there

comes from two lines of inquiry. These


on one hand, prehistoric remains of
various kinds known to archeologists and, on the
mation

0,000

is

and while there

when and where people

the subject of much speculation.

beings,

places

and what the

France,

human

and guesswork to tell us what events


occurred and in what order. Thus the questions of
legends,

Chauvet cave, Ardeche,

term "cave men"

shelters,

monies, or they
of art that

places

for special

we admire because

Constructed

shelters

The most

for the

works

they preserved them

from

survived only where they were


materials.

or cere-

rites

may have been used

available

prehistory

have

made from durable


and easy to work

5,000-

BX.E.

1.2 (opposite)

Evidence of human

Paintings of Anubis,

occupancy of caves

Tomb

comes from paintings

Thebes,

that were

only

fire

made

c.

500 bce.

with

light as illumi-

nation. The intention of

was probornament or

the paintings

ably not to

of Pa-schedu,

decorate the natural

Images of Anubis, the


jackal-headed god of
the dead, stand guard
on simulated doors on
either side of the
passage leading to the

spaces of the caves, but


inner

chamber where

rather to provide

images that might


grant mystical power
over hunted animals.
Jo the modern viewer,
the paintings have the
effect of

making the

natural caves into

spaces under some


degree of human

the sarcophagus stood.

The ceiling

inscriptions.

10

covered

While the

intentions are mystical,

the form

and

color

generate spaces with


richly decorative char-

acter typical of ancient

Egyptian
control.

is

with hieroglyphic

art.

>'/

*,

mm:>!H

'VMM, ^^^ri

,>,

35
.

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'

't,

.'V ..^CifV''.

'.':

S ":^

t^i

'.V,

'''!'

.r,;.

'

/ ^':f^^f^

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v.y.

,W

*>i

.;.,ii'./

<','*
W'M^i

"'V

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,',

U^;^:'-V''

>,..?'/:

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."^^

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^fr^<y

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.<-

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y?'v

^i?li;;*^

/> ;>

>^>i

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'it

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51

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,

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Chapter One

materials

twigs and branches, leaves, rush and

similar plant materials,


as skins or hides

and animal materials such

are

all

short-lived, subject to

decay and disappearance within relatively brief


time spans. Inorganic materials such
cold climates)

snow have

as to

mud

or (in

is

so difficult to

have very limited possibilities for shelter

building. These realities

mean

that the materials

surviving from prehistoric times are largely small


objects of stone such as arrowheads

and spear

points, or large arrangements of stones set

up

in

patterns or assembled into structures.

if

only for their evocation of

unimaginably ancient
structures,

it

is

origins.

some of

In

these

possible to see carved or incised

patterns cut into the stones with patterns of beauty,

although their meanings are unknown.


Estimating dates for prehistoric

limited lasting qualities,

while stone, although very durable,

work

as

often impressive,

matter of guesswork until the

ment of

sites

fairly recent

was

develop-

the technique of radio-carbon dating in

which measurements of the radioactivity of organic


materials (such as bones or shells) gives a measure
of their age. Stonehenge (fig. 1.3) is now dated with

some confidence

at

about 2750-1500

such structures date from the era

b.c.e.

now

All

designated

as the stone age in reference to the fact that the

Dolmens and Barrows

most

The arrangements of stones (called Alignments)


and the Dolmens of Brittany and other European
locations

are

thoughtfully

designed

structures

in

rituals

Britain,

Stonehenge on

were used for cere-

connected with observation of

rites.

more

The arrangement of

often

is

called a

artificial

hill.

Where

the earth

has

still

in place,

Barrow

in

it

forms the kind of tomb

England.

It

is

possible to go

chambers of some of these


surviving tombs. They are dark, mysterious, and
into

interior

to create

spaces with a

strong aesthetic impact,

whether they were

origi-

nally open to the sky


(as

now) or roofed with

materials that have


since disappeared. The

purpose seems

to

have

been connected with


rituals relating to the

movements of the sun,


moon, and stars. The
circular form
teristic

human

12

is

charac-

of many ancient
constructions.

b.c.e.).

b.c.e.)

The famous cave paintings


stone structures

and

are pale-

known

to

us date from the neolithic period.


It

is

virtually certain that the lack of

houses

explained in part by the reality that such ancient

earth

stones were care-

1000

5000

makes up the many dolmens seems to have


chamber of a tomb that took the

form of an

placed

c.

c.

surviving from these times can be explained by the

eroded away, the stone dolmen remains. Where the

fully

effective of available materials.

divided into the paleolithic period

olithic; the prehistoric

a large

created the inner

Huge

is

stone placed on top of two or three upright stones


that

B.c.r.

and most

lasting,

The stone age

("old stone age," extending to

linked to burial

2750-1 500

times

the neolithic period ("new stone age," extending to

that the larger sites, such as

astronomical movements; dolmens are

c.

those

assume

monies or

1.3 Stonehenge,

of

technologies

dating from prehistoric times. Most speculations

Salisbury Plain

Salisbury, England,

advanced

involved the working of stone as the best, most

the

interior

use ot

less lasting materials,

human
least

life

but that can

in

turn be

patterns were generally migratory or at

unattached to fixed locations. Early

human

depended on water sources, hunting, and food


gathering for sustenance and therefore required
life

populations to

move

in pursuit

of game and other

food supply. Whatever shelter was used needed to

Prehistory to Early Civilizations

made

be easily portable and so

wood

Peoples in tribal Africa, in the islands of the

of light materials

and rush rather than stone.


Ease of working and mobility worked together to
favor shelter of modest scale, light materials, and

American

easy mobility.

that

sticks, leaves,

and

Pacific, in the Arctic,

continents

in the

before

North and South

had not changed

in

coming

the

Europeans are now or were recently

many generations.

Mongolian

American (American
and Australian aborigine

native

deserts,

Indian), Inuit (Eskimo),

The

oldest

found

at

known traces of built human shelter


Amata in southern France are

Terra

communities are

to be evidence of how

assumed

minimal remains suggest the form of these huts


made from tree branches. Although there are few

have developed.

ancient relics to support assumptions about the

Ages.,

earliest

built

structures,

human

modern

societies press in

many

peoples survive in

now

in

book

"primitive" group of people building a structure

upon them, "primitive"


inaccessible geographical

to

made up of

branches tied together

tree

and branches through the main

the kind that appears in

ways (often reinforced by

more

flexible twigs

Wigwam,

or

is

if

clearly

an early form of shelter of

many "primitive"

receive an e.xterior plastering with

mistrust of the concept of "progress" that domi-

Arctic, a similar structure

modern "developed"

societies.

As

result,

"primitive" ways can be regarded as exemplifying

more ancient ways ways that can be traced back to


the stone age. Most "primitive" societies depend on
hunting, fishing, and food gathering for sustenance.

They are therefore generally to some degree migratory and must build shelter that is readily portable.

of snow

in the

cultures

covered with skins, a tepee.

system of taboos that discourage change), and a

nates

at the top,

with enclosing surfaces being built up by weaving

characterized by a powerful conservatism, a devotraditional

in All

of

is

structure. This

to

Man

Tlie Habitations of

may

the French architectural theorist and historian

regions and many others were e.xtant as recently as


one or two centuries ago. "Primitive" societies are

tion

shelter

retreat as

shelter, the practices

"primitive" societies. Although

In his 1876

human

Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-79) tried


show how shelter making began. In an illustration
titled "The First House" (fig. 1.4) he shows us a

there

evidence to be found by turning to the other source

of clues to early

"primitive" living systems that

all

provide examples of shelter types that can be

believed to be 400,000 years old, but only the most

nature of the

Villages

Sahara and

in tropical Africa, settlements in the

Evidence from Tribal Cultures

of

ways

living in

may

mud

It

might

or, in the

be built up of blocks

dome-like form we

call

an

igloo. In

other locations where trees and branches are scarce, a


similar

form may be

built of

mud

brick with a

1.4

(far left)

ViolleMe-Duc, "The

First

House" from The

topping

like

Many

a hat of straw or thatch.

Habitations of Man

such "primitive" shelters share certain

characteristics.

They

are generally quite small

are almost invariably round.

The small

and

size reflects

all

in

Ages, 1876,

The author has imagined a group of ancient

people building an
enclosure or hut from
the available materials

^4i&

in their forest habitat.

Such a structure might


have been covered with
leaves, skins, or

even a

plaster of mud-

1.5

(/eft)

William

Henry Jackson,
photograph of a

Bannock family camped


near Medice Lodge
Creek, Idaho, 1871.
The native American
tepee was a round,

portable structure with

a frame of wooden
poles

and a covering of
intenor was

skin. Its

simply the inside of its


structure without

added treatment

or

furniture.

13

Chapter One

1.6 An engraving of a

Mongolian

function

(living

The yurt was a portable

of mud, with roofs of thatch resting like hats on the

enclosing wall of lattice

supporting a roof

walls (fig. 1.7).

structure of poles. The

Other "primitive" house types are not round.

was covered
is

with skins or mats.


Inside,

room, or

between related hut-rooms. Walls are constructed

an

structure with

exterior

kitchen, store

example), with covered doorway links

stable, for

strips

space,

yurt.

boxes to hold

possessions, rugs,

probably the use of

strip materials,

wood

It

poles,

or branches that suggests straight-line walls and so

and
leads to

stools created spaces

and

more or less rectangular box forms


The A-frame form of the Dawi

(figs.

with considerable

1.8

aesthetic character

monial chiefs house and the dwellings of the

and the need to


round form can be

Yemen, Pueblo building in the American southwest, some wigwams (known to us from drawings
made by early European settlers), and many house
types built by South American natives have rectan-

rarely

effort,

while

the

that

realities

one another. The forms of nature are


straight-lined
and
square-cornered.

gular plans. In Apulia in southern

would suggest circular forms;


in the materials available the making of square
corners might be difficult and create weak points in

house type

insects,

a fragile structure.

that

figure

will

circle

enclose

is

also the geometric

most area with

least

perimeter, a concept that might not be understood


in theoretical
itively in the

terms but could

Cameroon,

Africa.

The circular form of the

mud or stone
creates

hut

a room, and

several similar structures are

grouped

together to

make a

house complex,
including work spaces
(kitchens)

and food

storage areas, that

would be occupied by
an extended family and
their

animals The walls

are built up to

head-height while a
hat-like roof of straw or

thatch completes the


enclosure The simple
interiors

and sleeping

pads on the

14

dirt floors.

determined
realities

allow

of

penetration

smoke outlet. The whole


down, pack, and transport

the migratory hunting users needed to follow

the herds that were their food supply.

Ger of the Buryar

The Yurt

peoples of Mongolia

uses a vertical wall frame of lattice strips that


collapse for transport but are

modern
Willow
felt

elevator gate)
strips

and

expanded

tied to

form

(like

a circle.

form a roof structure and layers of


form the wall and roof enclosure.

are applied to

The portable

yurt,

still

in

use,

is

example of a design developed to

an interesting
fit

a particular

way of life in a particular geographical location.


The round, portable structures built by migratory peoples generally stand alone; each house
single unit, usually enclosing a single space.

is

More

complex houses of several rooms appear in villages


in locations where climate, water, and food sources
were sufficiently consistent to make constant relocation unnecessary. In the

room

is

actually a

Cameroon

in Africa,

multiroom houses where each


separate round hut with a special

there are villages of

round dome

built

is

by laying rings of

is

in part

in the

by the powerful environmental

of topography, weather,

igloo

or

region.

circulation,

(fig. 1.6)

an ancient

houses have been built for thousands of years

a top flap that could be adjusted to

when

Italy,

built of dry field

Other types of "primitive" house forms are

tied together at the top. Its

act as a

is

stone can cover the topmost opening. Such Trulli

doorway and
and

in regular use

in

stone in gradually diminishing circles until a single

control

held storage

containers

topped by

materials,

air

still

houses

stones to form a roughly square room. This

outer walls were skins arranged to permit a flap

tepee was easy to take

the

be grasped intu-

of the American plains had

(fig. 1.5)

frame of long poles

daylight,

in

still

process of building.

The Tepee

Matakam homestead

Guinea, packed

Observation of trees and rocks, of the shelters built

by birds and

or tribal village

mud

people of

conserve

reinforce

1.7 Plan and sectional

New

cere-

the limited availability of materials

explained as a reflection of several

elevation of a

1.9).

and

well

known but

the

availability

of

The snow-built
underground houses of

particularly climate.

Prehistory to Early Civilizations

Matmata in the Sahara are less familiar. A


Matmata house is made up of a central court, a
deep open-topped pit dug into the desert which
gives access to surrounding rooms that are totally
the

underground.

requires

clear contrast to the hives

geometric pattern and more or

the interior space of such houses that

Such

their reason for existence.

interiors are not

"designed" with the sophistication of concept that

we

associate with

rior

is

modern

interior design; the inte-

simply a hollow space created by the tech-

nique of building the outside. Into the inside of

all

such houses must go the equipment used in daily


life

cooking and eating

clothing, blankets,

utensils,

weapons, stored

and whatever there may be

in

way of furniture. Tables and chairs are rarely


used. Most "primitive" peoples sit on the ground
the

and use the earth surface

as the only table. Sleeping

arrangements use portable materials

ground rather than on

Rudimentar)' furniture appears


tive"

house

t}'pes

laid

on the

constructed bedstead.

in the

in

some "primi-

shelf-like platforms or

benches

constructed as part of the built structure of

mud

underground dug chambers, and snow-built


igloos. Storage devices, bags, baskets, and, where
huts,

representa-

less

tional imagery.

The

Whether round or rectangular, on the surface


of the earth, raised up on posts, or dug into the
is

(as

a structural or other

is

it

functional necessity. Painted decorative elements

night.

is

where

in

appear as fired pottery comes into use, with both

no added material and provides insulation


and extreme cold at

it

spiders)

is

other

tunnel

entrance

against desert heat by day

ground,

made by

nests

where pattern only appears

creatures

webs of

and

underground scheme

sloping

long,

gives access to the court. This

toward the introduction of designed pattern

patterns

and images

blankets, baskets, pots,

of these shelters

riors

with more

modern

that enliven clothing,

and other objects of the inteallow them to be compared

interiors

where

rugs, wall treat-

ments, furniture, and other objects are the elements


that

make an

interior space a designed entity. In

"primitive" practice, pattern and imagery are rarely

ornamental, however they

strictly

modern

may

viewers. There are purposeful

color, pattern,

and design

appear to

meanings

in

that serve to designate

identity within a society, tribal loyalties, religious or

mythic

references,

or

designs of an African

magical

woven

The

significance.

cloth (fig. 1.10) or a

Navajo blanket, for example, follow customs that

make

the visible designs significant in reinforcing

tribal traditions

few

and taboos. Entering

expression of a particular

way of

occupant with reassurances that


a

if

the significance

aesthetic value can

visible

confronts the

life

comfort and

modern
unknown, the

To
is

house where

some

offers

kind of aesthetic experience.

viewer, even

objects each offers

utilitarian

the

remain powerful.

they have been developed, pottery bowls, pots, and


1.10 Kente

jugs are the

most ubiquitous of artifacts.

West

This African

Pattern and Design

has

appeared

in

locations,

making

and rugs (and, of course,

clothing) of a manufactured
native to animal skins.

an ancient invention

is

many

possible baskets, blankets,

membrane

as

an

alter-

The weaving of fibers that


from natural sources or

are of varied colors either

through dying leads to the discovery that patterns


too can be woven. Such simple patterns as stripes

and checks lead

cloth,
c.

1975,

weaving

uses bright colors in

The technique of weaving


that

Africa,

to the invention of

geometric patterns that appear

and woven blankets and

more complex

in basketry, pottery,

rugs.

The human urge

contrasting bands. The

weaving
narrow

is

done

in

strips that are

sewn together

to

make

wider areas for use


robes, blankets, or

hangings.


Chapter One

The

First

Permanent Settlements

East between the Tigris

and Euphrates

rivers called

Mesopotamia.

The key inventions or


lization

on which

discoveries

civi-

invention of language, and the development of

Of these

agriculture.

base agriculture as

three

it is

agriculture

is

it

often called

fixed-

that has

most
As

directly influenced the design of built shelter.

long as food supply was dependent on hunting and


gathering of growing plant products, the

human

(fig.

buildings and

by the

Human

population, like the

of food and so remained, by

availability

modern

standards, very small.

The

discovery that

it

was possible to plant crops and harvest a larger and


more reliable food supply was the basis for a chain
of developments. Once

crops are planted,

necessary to remain close by

When

staying in

one

place,

it

is

ment

lasting

The oldest known

map show

city

the positions

of important buildings

such as temples,

specialized with systems of barter


to

make

and trade

possible for a farmer, a shep-

it

make exchanges with

b.c.e., larger

towns

even

cities

began to appear, and, with the resulting complexities,

systems for recording numbers and language


the invention of writing that

were invented.

It

underlies

the

emergence of

history" as

it is

events, names,

is

called

the

and dates

set

that

history,

"recorded

of records of specific

make

it

possible to

rivers

and canals, and walls


and gates. Although no
records of the interiors

of buildings exist the

say what

happened

in past times

able degree of certainty.

adequately

assured,

with a consider-

With food and

human

energies

shelter

over

and

sophistication of the

above the needs of subsistence make possible the

map

development of increasingly complex inventions

suggests that this

was a highly developed


civilization with

comparable
design

and the

arts.

level

activity.

of

All of these

developments occurred

and
The two areas where

rates in dift'erent places

years.

tion

first

developed to high

the Nile valley of Egypt

16

brick the
cities

and many major buildings were built in mud brick,


the poor lasting quality of this material has left only
ruins as survivals. Excavations by archeologists in

region find layer after layer of remains of

this

quent
It

cities built

has,

on

top.

however, been possible to reconstruct

part plans of houses, temples,

in

and palaces from

Sumerian

of Nippur, Sumeria,
B.C.E.

Mud

primary material of construction. While large

these ruins. Excavations at the site of the ancient

Around 4000

500

the available building materials

were limited, with sun-baked

were destroyed or allowed to crumble with subse-

more

weaver, a potter, or a builder to the benefit of both.

traces of

no longer necessary

it is

food supply also makes the growth of

herd, or a fisherman to

c.

design,

and

Unfortunately for the study of

With more people and with techniques for


building more lasting structures, villages and towns
become more permanent settlements. The making
of necessities (clothing, utensils, weapons) becomes
emerging

map

interior

the

population possible.

more

with an inscribed

1.11), various other artifacts,


cities.

in

successive cities built in sequence, as older cities

house types can be developed. Further improvein

societies

pottery, clay tablets

to harvest the results.

to use only portable housing so that

clay tablet

and other subsequent


Mesopotamian region include
this

food was available and remain within those limited


populations of other animal species, was controlled

The beginnings of a settled Sumerian civilization


based on agriculture and making use of irrigation
can be dated around 3500 b.c.e. when a system of
picture writing came into use. Surviving traces of

population was forced to travel to locations where

geographical regions.

1.11

Mesopotamia: Sumeria

built are the controlled use of fire, the

is

all

at different

took thousands of

early western civiliza-

levels

of complexity are

and the region

in the

Near

city

of Ur have uncovered traces of 4000-

year-old closely packed neighborhoods of houses,

each having several rectangular rooms around an

open

central court. This

house type has continued

many warm-climate regions up to the


present time. Arched or Vaulted roofs of mud or
clay brick may have been used. Mud-brick houses
to be

used

in

Prehistory to Early Civilizations

with

Domed

trulli

described earlier) are

roofs (similar to those of the Italian

Iraq

and

also

be of very ancient origin.

use in regions of

in

still

Syria, suggesting that this

house form may

deity,

builders as a

its

tended to be an enlarged and elab-

The White

orated version of the local house type.

Temple

at

Uruk, so-called because of the traces that

indicate that

its

walls were whitewashed,

before 3000 b.c.e.

It

was

built

a rectangular block with a

is

number of rooms surrounding

a central space that

Deep

ma\' have been covered or an open court.

have thickened

walls

bands to aid

vertical

strengthening the inherently weak


earlier construction at

Uruk

mud brick.

in

Even

includes fragments of

an elaborately patterned stud-

walls surfaced with

the building of

Moreover,

it

tomb along with

The ancient temple, viewed by


house of a

embalmment and the concern for


tombs of maximal lasting qualities.
was believed that objects placed in a

of techniques of

fied

the carefully protected

body could be taken

too large to be placed in a


boat,

for

example

On

model.

could

the walls of

1.2), texts spelled

combined with

mummi-

into the afterlife. Objects

tomb

house or

be represented by a

tombs and temples

(fig.

out in hieroglyphic writing were

and painted

visual images, incised

Taken together, the


stone buildings, the objects found in tombs, and
the surviving written and illustrated texts have
in plaster or directly in stone.

made

possible for archeologists to develop a clear

it

picture of ancient Egyptian ways

knowledge

in

and

to place this

an accurate chronological history.

ding of small cones of clay painted in black, white,

and

red; the mosaic-like designs suggest the zig-zag

and diamond forms of woven

Much

later,

Assyrian

included vast and

that can be studied as

rooms

they survive in excavated remains. Large

1.12

The

textile patterns.

cities

complex palaces with plans

Geometry and Proportion

in

and best-known of ancient Egyptian


structures, the pyramids (fig. 1.12) are among the
oldest surviving works (the oldest dating from c.
largest

2800

B.C.E.)

but their small interior passages and

Cross-section of

the Great Pyramid at


Ciza, Egypt,

2570-2500

B.C.E.

Although the internal


spaces are tiny

the palace of Sargon at Khorsabad


are thought to have

made

as a surface material,

in rich colors

tile

chambers are of less


tions

interest than their

demonstra-

of Egyptian conceptual thinking. Ancient

Egypt developed great knowledge of and

in

skill

some

basis

imagined reconstructions.

huge mass of the


pyramid, their forms
relationships are

geometric planning. The pyramids at Giza are posi-

complex and

tioned with a north-south axial orientation of

cant.

great

precision

(particularly

impressive

as

the

in

comparison with the

and

and enough exam-

ples of these decorations survive to give


for

b.c.e.)

had vaulted roofs and possibly

use of half domes. Glazed

was used

700

(c.

to

signifi-

A passage

leads

a false tomb

chamber, while the

form of the earth with its north and south


poles was unknown). It might seem that the slope
of the pyramid sides (51 degrees 50 minutes 35
spherical

Ancient Egypt

entrances to the

passages leading
fully

The

civilization of ancient

Egypt has

complete evidence for study so


complete interiors survive

left far

although no

that,

intact,

is

it

more

possible to

gain a clear idea of what those spaces must have

been

have

circumstances

Several

like.

worked

seconds) was an arbitrary choice until


that this

is

it

is

noted

the base angle of a triangle having a base

and hypotenuse that are respectively the short and


long sides of a "golden" rectangle, a figure in which
the ratio of the short side to the long side

is

the

concealed

was

available in the Nile valley,

the EgN'ptians learned to use

it

and

for important build-

ings although the everyday architecture of houses

and even palaces continued

Many

to

on

mud

Pyramids,

brick.

but some, like the famous


good condition. The pyramids
tombs and they call attention to the

to a degree,

in quite

built as

religious

beliefs

were

that

central

to

ancient

Egyptian society.
Egyptian religion,
included belief in a

life

like

many

after death,

ordinary emphasis on

the

bodies of dead persons. The

long as the body survived

other religions,

but

it

put extra-

preservation
afterlife

would

facing stone

7 Grand gallery

Relieving blocks

8 Tunnel

3 Shaft

of the
last as

hence the development

5 So-called queen's

chamber

False

9 Entrance

hope

break into the actual

tomb of Khufu
(Cheops), the pharaoh
for whom the pyramid
was built.

tomb chamber

Silhouette with original

4 King's chamber

Eg\'ptian structures of stone have survived,

some ruined
were

to rely

in

of defeating any efforts

together to preserve Egyptian design. Stone of good


lasting quality

to the

actual tomb were care-

Chapter One

same

sum

as the ratio of the long side to the

two; that

is,

caUing the short side

of the

and the long

The plans of Egyptian temples

side B:

"

an

A+B

relationship are the ratios of 0.6180:1,

which

is

equal to the ratio 1:1.6180. This relationship, often

Golden mean,

called the

has been discovered and

certain.

Without mathematical

techniques a golden ratio can be constructed with

triangle

and

compass by laying out a right


with an altitude equal to one half the base
a

DE

equal

to

(fig. 1.13).

one

Das a
center and DE as a
holfCE. With

an arc

radius,

is

the baseline CE. The

now

golden

B as
as

Its

divided in
A:B. With

ratio,

Its

and A

length

Another arc transfers the long

make

side to

it

the

hypotenuse of the triangle that represents a half

width, a golden

rectangle can be drawn.

1.14 Derivation

elevation view of the

pyramid

of

golden rectangle.

Using a golden
rectangle, the long side
is

swung

to

make

contact with the opposite

long

side.

The

resulting tnangle has

as

Its

base and

hypotenuse;

it

as

its

can be

called a golden tnangle

Egyptian art and design


subtle

1.15 (f;g/)f) Temple of


Amon, Karnak, Egypt,
c.

1530b,c,e,
is

vast space almost

filled

by the columns that


supported a stone

roof.

Incised hieroglyphics

covered the columns.

geometric concepts in architecture, in

(still

visible),

light

in bright

partially

which would

have glowed

in the

dim

admitted by roof

level clerestories.

18

art,

and

in

the design of everyday objects. This leads to the

many

Egyptian

works

"harmonic" controls

derives

from

such

so-called because of their

relationship to the parallel mathematical bases of

musical harmony. The musical chords that offer a


pleasant ("harmonious")

Onginally, the surfaces

were painted

make regular use of this


many other simpler

and

relationship

conviction that the striking aesthetic success of so


a

The hypostyle hall

colors

at the

was derived from the

vanished

stone.
its

The design of the


suggestion of a

base and below the Capital,

mud

columns strengthened

with bundled reeds of houses and palaces. The

inward slope (called Batter) of walls that had

mud construction
common character-

been used to improve

stability in

was retained in stone

and

is

of ancient Egyptian building. Flat stones used

sound are made of tones

with vibration frequencies in simple ratios such as


2:3,

3:4,

and

3:5.

Irregular ratios such as

17:19

produce harsh, discordant sounds. The proportions used in Egyptian design are

the

same sense

as the

enough to make it possible for stones to span from


one column to the next. Such spanning stones are
called Lintels; building that is based on columns
and lintels is called Post and lintel or

Trabeated

(fig. 1.14).

pyramid angle from

now

and so compel plans that stick to small rooms and


narrow passages, or, when a larger space was
required, fill the space with columns spaced closely

CD

C as a center, an arc is
swung from point X to
IS

god-^

as a roofing material can only span short distances

marking point X. With

base

binding of cord

istic

swung

hypotenuse

to the

and polished

stone column, with

a right triangle

IS

with

seems

straight-edges

golden rectangle,

CDE

it

the

and reached

temples) was translated into construction using

typical

and used

of

building (probably retained in early,

carefully cut

it

home

and courtyards. The mud-brick material of house

rediscovered at various times in history as a unique

knew of

chamber

layers of walled spaces

only through a succession of outer walls, gateways,

proportion believed to have both aesthetic and


mystic significance. That the Egyptians

construction of a

innermost

surrounded by

In numerical terms, the only values that satisfy this

1.13 Geometric

expanded and

are

elaborated versions of Egyptian house plans, with

A _
B

Egyptian Temples and Houses

"harmonic"

in

harmonious musical chords.

construction.

Prehistory to Early Civilizations

large space filled with

many columns

is

1.16 A ceremonial

called

throne from the tomb

Hypostyle hall. The enormous (170 x 338 feet)


Temple of Amon at Karnak
(begun c. 1530 b.c.e.) contains 134 columns with
surfaces covered with incised and painted hieroglyphic inscriptions (fig. 1.15). The columns are
built up of stone drums topped with capitals carved
in papyrus bud or flower forms. The center portion
a

of Tutankhamen,

hypostyle hall of the

c 1340

B.C.E.,

The basic structure of

ebony wood can only


be glimpsed

in the legs

of the chair, which

is

encrusted with inlays of

gold and ivory with


panels of painted,

of the hall

higher than the sides so that high,

is

unglazed Clerestory windows could admit


Access to the hall

is

symbolic imagery. The

light.

seating function
clearly

through two gateways centered

is

subordinated

between huge masonry elements called Pylons

grandeur,

with a large open courtyard between. Beyond the

conveyed by the

rich-

ness of matenal

and

more

hypostyle hall three

gates

to

the display of wealth,

between pylons

and power

sublime craftsmanship

complex of smaller chambers and


passages, now partly in ruins, which led to the most
sacred interior space, the chamber of the god.
protect the vast

with which they have

been assembled.

Temple plans can be analyzed to demonstrate


complex systems of geometry that set
the relationships and proportions of spaces, walls,
and columns in a way that must have had mystic,

chairs, tables,

symbolic significance as well as aesthetic impact.

decorated for use and display

symmetry is an almost invariable


Only traces of mud-built
palaces remain, but restoration drawings give some
idea of what their interiors might have been like.

wealthy and powerful. The typical preserved chair

There are surviving traces of whole towns of houses

Simple folding stools of an X-form of great elegance

their use of

Simple

bilateral

concept.

controlling

has a simple

the pharaoh

basis for suggested reconstructions of


at

one end of an enclosed garden used

some

for food production as well as amenity. In

tombs, wooden models of houses, shops, and other


facilities

of everyday

tional information

life

have survived, giving addi-

about the pleasant and colorful

character of these aspects of ancient Egyptian

Pigments

and

in clear primaries (red, yellow,

blue) as well as green were used, along with white

and

black, the latter generally only for linear forms

that

edged and defined areas of strong color. In

interiors, ceilings

were often painted

in a strong

blue, representative of the night sky. Floors

sometimes green, possibly symbolic of the

them richly
homes of the

ot

in the

with a low seat webbed

clawed animal foot forms.

of Egyptian design

(fig. 1.16).

Many smaller objects,

and glassware have also survived.


Small wooden boxes, sometimes inlaid with ivory,
were fitted out to contain cosmetics and tools for
pieces of pottery,

personal

adornment.

Such

objects

are

often

designed with attention to systems of geometric

life.

Egyptian use of color was both strong and effective.

many

The elaborate objects from the tomb of


Tutankhamen (c. 1340 b.c.e.) are wellknown examples of the colorful and ornate phases
also survive.

houses built

wood frame

their base with carved,

"suburbs" to house workers employed on

formed

cabinets,

with bands of rush or leather. Legs usually end at

vast royal building projects. Surviving traces have

built as

and

were

Nile.

proportions,

woven

golden

the

including

Surviving bits of

section.

textiles suggest that the

Egyptians were also highly skilled weavers and


colorists

of woven cloths.

Ancient Egyptian civilization survived,

in grad-

Roman

times.
up
development
is a
European
Its influence on later
other
peoples
around
Certainly,
matter for debate.
ually diminishing strength,

until

the Mediterranean visited Egypt, but the extent to

Egyptian Furniture and Other Interior

which the design of ancient Greece may have been


influenced by knowledge of Egypt can only be

Furnishings

Knowledge of Egyptian furniture comes from two


life

in

royal

is

a direct path of

or other aristocratic

Egypt was clearly demonstrative of the power of


strong conceptual thinking in the generation of a

houses, and actual examples

tombs and

Whether or not there

progressive development, the design of ancient

sources: images in wall paintings that

of everyday

guessed.

scenes

that

that have survived.

show

were placed

The

latter

in

include

powerful aesthetic expression.

and

Classical Civilizations: Greece

Rome
on the

Several clusters of habitation developed

northern edge of the Mediterranean, generating the


bases

on which

The term

European

"prehistoric"

since they have


first

later

left

is

civilization grew.

applied to these cultures

no detailed written

history.

The

of these in chronological sequence overlaps the

middle portion of ancient Egyptian history.

these palaces

is

that at Knossos, thought to have

been the palace of King Minos and

1450-1370

B.C.E.

Its

confusing as a result of

his successors in

complex

and

ruins

are

many

rebuildings. Recent

have created portions that

efforts at restoration

some idea of what the building may have been


when it was inhabited. The plan is a loose

give
like

agglomeration around a large central open area.

On

Minoan and Mycenaean Cultures

one

bers

side there

is

lower

level

of narrow cham-

perhaps the basis for the legendary labyrinth

where the fearsome Minotaur was supposed to

Minoan and Mycenaean cominunities developed


on small islands in the Aegean Sea, on the larger
island of Crete, and on the mainland of Greece
beginning around 2200 b.c.e. The term Minoan,
derived from the name of the legendary king
Minos,
have

is

used to refer to the society, presumed to

come from

Minor (now Turkey), that


scattering of settlements on Crete
some
Asia

up a
twenty towns or small
built

cities,

each with

its

own

palace and a population estimated at about 80,000

supported by agriculture and

fishing.

Some

with the contemporary society of Egypt

is

contact

assumed,

room at the palace at

although there

is

no

clear evidence of

its

influence.

1450-1370

B.c.E^

Knossos

H\\^ <vt

The elaborate wall


painting, with

Excavation

has

plants, contrasts with

Minoan

the simplicity of the

built, leaving

stone

and

the high-backed

throne of carved stone.

2.2 {opposite)

Interior

Rome

of the Pantheon,

as painted by C,
Pannini,

c.

all the

P-

1750.

Roman

The

temple

to

gods, built

18-28

C.E., IS

domed

structure containing a

spectacular in tenor The

diameter of 142 feet

and

the matching

height give the interior

a geometric

order, while

daylight pouring in

from the oculus (round

opening) at the top of

dome

illuminates

the space The niches


(originally altars to the

various gods), the

tall

Corinthian columns,

and

the wall surfaces

are colored with

marbles and gilded

bronze

20

cities,

benches,

floor,

1w ^^^

palace.

to

level

of

be the ceremonial

Many of the rooms are narrow

rooms with traces of


in a way that
they supported the wooden beams of

or small, but there are larger


free-standing
suggests that

columns

a roof structure.

On

spaced

the other side of the court

complex of smaUer rooms, including a


three-level grouping that seems to have been the
royal residence. There are stairs and light courts
there

is

leading to
ings.

The

(fig.

2.1)

rooms

that contain traces of wall paint-

restored stair halls


give

some

idea

and "throne room"


of the

surprisingly

Mycenae and Tiryns

its

images of animals and

the

rooms of the

an upper

Stairs lead to

chambers thought

informal and colorful character of these spaces.

Knossos, Crete,

larger

(below) Throne

2.1

c.

have been kept.

tures but

uncovered layer

after

layer

of

each destroyed as the next level was


only traces of the mud-brick struc-

more

extensive remains of

some of

the

where stone was the primary building


material. The best known and most complete of

palaces

The term Mycenaean is used to identify the ruined


palaces at Mycenae and Tiryns on the Greek mainland which date to the Late Bronze Age period
(1400-1250 B.C.E. ). These were placed on high
ground and planned with fortification walls for

Chapter Two

2.3 Reconstruction

defense. Giant rough-cut stones are laid

drawing of the

mortar to form complex

megaron of the palace


at

Mycenae, Greece,

second millennium
B.C.E.

The megaron was a


large rectangular or

square room, with a


central hearth

below a

raised roof with

an

exhibit the

same complex and labyrinthine plan-

ning encountered in the Cretan palaces. At Tiryns a

gateway leads to a courtyard with a columned

surround on three sides and, on the fourth

opening through which


the

smoke could

Megaron

called a

was from a porch with


two columns, which,

and Portico.
hearth,

the intenor

columns, tapered from

a larger capital

to

artist's

impression shows that


it

may have been

deco-

rated with complex,


abstract, painted

patterns.

was

round

and

a raised

throne placed

tiles

and surviving

wood

roof

at the center

destroyed around
earthquake.

1400

Mycenaean

b.c.e.,

probably by an

civilization

lasted

until

sometime between 1200 and 1000 b.c.e., when it


was displaced by the migration of Dorian invaders
from northern Greece.

Greece

traces suggest walls with

The migrating and invading Dorians and lonians


brought into Greece their
building, but also
the earlier

seem

own

systems of

wood

to have absorbed aspects of

Aegean architecture and even to display


The development of the

The
symmetrical plan and placement of the megaron in

traces of Egyptian design.

relation to the forecourt suggest the beginnings of a

around 900 b.c.e. made it possible for the Homeric


stories and others to be preserved, along with an
increasingly complete historical record.

colorful

painted

decorative

patterning.

formal and monumental approach to planning.


Excavation of town

sites

has revealed compact

clusters of houses, usually of four or five

grouped along narrow

streets or alleys

about without formal plan. Painted

tiles,

Greek alphabet and the related system of writing

rooms,

winding

The Temple

pottery,

and wall paintings give some idea of the design


vocabulary of the Aegean cultures, but there are no

22

more complete sense of the interior


The cities on Crete were all

central

of one side wall. The floor was paved with decorated

the style of roof IS

Internally, there

to suggest a

vernacular of houses.

room

with an outer vestibule

four columns supporting a

structure,

smaller base. Although

unknown, the

(fig. 2.3)

intact pieces of everyday furniture or other artifacts

side, the

facade of the major hall of the palace, a large

escape. The entrance

like

up without

and chambers,
topped in places with stones tilted inward which
meet to form a stone roofing. Enough stonework
survives for plans to be reconstructed which
galleries

The Greek temple developed from


megaron, the main room of the palace

the Aegean

it

was thus

3
1

Classical Civilizations: Greece

2.4 Creek orders of

the palace-house of a god, the only palace this

democratic

increasingly

wooden temples have

survived, but their nature

can be deduced from

stone temples. The

later

columns support short stone


with a Gabled roof above. The band of
closely spaced

forms an Entablature carved with


suggest the ends of

architecture.

No

required.

society

wooden

lintels

Entablature

Cornice

Frieze

Architrave

Capital

Base

lintels

Styiobate

details that

Stereobate

Abacus

and

rafters

and Rome

that even

10 Echinus

include the simulated ends of pegs of the sort that

Volute

12 Tnglyph

must have been used

wood

the joinery of

in

construction.

The

(strictly

ceremonial

construction simple, and

were

temple

Greek

of the

functions

minimal

Metope

The Doric order

symbolic),

or

which

narrow range of variations on

formula. The

Athens,

is

simple,

its

austere

and

columns

having no base and a


simple capital. The

enclosed space of the temple, the Cella, was

column

one or two rooms dedicated to a god


or goddess as a symbolic home. The striking visible
form of the building comes from the surrounding

worked out

Peristyle of columns, usually

theories of proportion so significant in Egyptian

usually only

(left),

the style used

at the Parthenon,

its

design limited to a

its

is

as multiples or submultiples of the

governing module.

typical of the

Ionic order (right)

is

characterized by a

Greek architecture

shows knowledge of the

also

capital with two spiral


volutes.

gabled front and

or eight

at

the

with additional rows of

rear

columns along each

making up

side,

of rhythmic

surround

six

simple

This

repetition.

total

formula was made effective by a combination of

some

devices,

discovery for

subtle

so

as

to

have

escaped

many centuries.

organizing elements according to a carefully inte(fig. 2.4).

The

that

rises

Sylobate)

and most admired


column with no base

oldest

order, called Doric, uses a

from a three-stepped platform (the


made up of a round

to a simple capital

Echinus with
The column is

the golden section proportion, for

The Parthenon at Athens (fig. 2.5),


usually considered the most perfect of Greek
temples (c. 440 b.c.e.), is planned with its two inte-

example.

rior spaces

each of the golden 1:1.6180

front elevation

The best-known and most obvious characteristic is the use of an Order, a systematic means of
grated plan

architecture

a square block or

Abacus

above.

golden

fits

proportion,

ratio. Its

same
column spacing

into a rectangle of the

whUe

the

makes it possible to discover a series of related


harmonious relationships. The Parthenon also
displays many of the more subtle departures from
strict regularity, called Refinements, that are characteristic of the most successful Greek temples.

2.5 Plan of the


Parthenon, Athens,
Greece,

447-435

Naos

Pronaos

3 Opisthodomos

Corner columns are spaced closer to

their neigh-

on

the

governing module. In addition, the horizontal

lines

bors

than

the

regular

spacing

based

4 Treasury
5 Base of Athena's statue

6 Peristyle columns

from bottom to top


curvature or Entasis. The entab-

slightly tapered

with a very slight

of the stylobate base platform are found to be bent

upward

columns lean

Solid wall

8 Steps (stereobate and


styiobate)

band above is made up of three parts: a plain


Architrave; a Frieze made up of alternating
panels
the Triglyphs that recall wood rafter
ends, and the blank or sculptured Metopes
between; and above, a projecting Cornice or

curved. These slight shifts from total regularity

columns at each

serve to correct the optical or perspective distor-

penstyle surround.

crowning element.

verticals to lean.

lature

dimensions that

All

relate

of these parts are given

through a

Module

or unit

based on the diameter of the column. In the early


(c.

550

B.c.E.)

Doric temples, such as

Greek colony on the


height
eter.

is

at

Paestum, a

Italian peninsula, the

only about four and a half times

column

its

diam-

This proportion tended to be gradually altered

in later

work

at different sites,

with the height of

in a slight curvature,

slightly

inward, and the lines of the entablature are also

tions that can

make

straight lines

They

seem

to curve or

Eight columns at front

and back

front

column reaching

eight times the

The spacing of columns, the bands of the


and even the smallest elements are

entablature,

form, with the

side,

and back an

At
addi-

row of SIX
columns stands in front
of the doorways which
lead to the naos or
mam chamber at one
tional

also introduce

an aesthetic

end and the smaller


chamber, or treasury, at
the other end. Within
the naos, columns

support an upper

balcony where additional

the Parthenon

diameter.

b.c.e.

columns support

the roof The statue of


the goddess Athena

dominates the naos.

23


Chapter Two

2.7 Creek ornamental

quality that might be called

detail.

shifting of
The patterns called a
Creek key

and

the

more

complex vanant, known


as a Greek

executed

and

fret,

were

mosaic

in

in

its

delicate

mechanical

strictly

precision.

many Greek temples contain only the


room of the megaron house, but some

Internally,

simple single

tiles

larger

are a frequent

"humane"

forms away from

temples

have

supporting a

interiors.

range

Mezzanine

feature of Greek

of columns

rows of columns

internal

or balcony with an upper

supporting

the

roof above.

the most ornate of the three orders, using both

It is

small volutes at the corners of the

and carved forms of acanthus


lower part of the

capital.

Roman

column

The Corinthian order was

Although no complete interior of any Greek temple

widely used in

has survived, the ruins of the temple of Poseidon

of later users of classical architectural

Paestum

(fig. 2.6), for

aesthetic success of this arrangement.

ruins mislead

modern

at

The white

times and has been a favorite

Even the smallest

example, give an idea of the

become elements

capital

leaves ringing the

details

detail.

of Greek design have

our understanding of the

in

viewers; the original build-

concept of classicism. The moldings that are part of

we know from traces


Polychromy (use of

the orders and the ornamental details that were

ings used strong color, as

discovered in the stones. Such

must have made these buildings quite


different from the pristine image so often imagined.
color)

Following the Doric order, two other orders

including moldings given names such as


Bead and reel or Egg and dart, bands of carved
Dentils or Greek key ornament (fig. 2.7)

used

continue to be used in

classical design.

Erectheum and the Temple of Athena Nike on the

The influence that the design of Greek temples


has had on western architecture and design is
remarkable considering their small number,
modest size, and specialized purpose. Ancient
Roman design borrowed heavily from the admired
work of the Greeks. Roman architecture was redis-

acropolis in Athens both used the Ionic order,

covered in the Renaissance, bringing back the

which

romanized version of Greek design

came

into use in

Greek architecture. The Ionic

order uses a column

taller

and thinner

tion than the Doric, adds a base detail,


clearly identified

form

Volutes.

also

by

its

The

capital with

small

its

temple

in

and

proporis

most

twin scrollcalled

the

appears in the interior of the Doric

Temple of Apollo at Bassae. The Ionic order is


usually viewed as more gentle, perhaps more "feminine" than the austerity of the Doric. The third
order, called Corinthian, came into use much later.

classical beauty. In the latter part

when

century,

travel

Greece became

to

knowledge of actual Greek


illustrations

as the ideal of

of the eighteenth

sites

easier,

through printed

and detailed drawings became the


on Greek prece-

basis for a revival of design based


2.6 The Temple of
Italy, c.

460

ings,

b.c.e.

of
This view

had a roof

looks

down

naos (principal

room). The lower

tier

design.

In

more

times, interest in the conceptual aspects of

design

has

overshadowed

recent

of columns would

literal

Greek

imitation.

Le

Corbusier, the influential French modernist, in his

of

columns supported a
balcony, where another
series

nineteenth-century

of the Doric

temple, which originally

into the

Greek orders, of temple buildand of Greek ornament was a frequent theme

dents. Imitation of

Poseidon, Paestum,

manifesto Towards a
aesthetic
details

logic

New Architecture,

praised the

of Greek design and illustrated

of Greek temples in direct comparison to

have supported the

wooden roof

images of automobiles and


as

aircraft that

he viewed

having parallel merit.

Secular Interiors
Aside from temples, the major building types of
ancient Greece do not emphasize enclosed, interior
spaces.

The Greek

nature with

theater

its tiers

was open

to the sky

about the circular orchestra that served as

Towns included
which was both

24

its

stage.

open square, the Agora,


market and a general public

a central
a

and

of seats arranged in a semicircle

Classical Civilizations: Greece

and Rome

2.8 Reconstruction
drawing of a typical
Greek house at Priene,
Asia Minor, fourth

The Growth of Athens

century

A
Thucydides chronicled the long Peloponnesian War

open

between 433 and 404 b.c.e. He comments on


how the situation caused an unplanned and
haphazard expansion of the city of Athens:

writing

for

them

one

megaron

pleased at having to

move with

far

front

bedrooms

from

their entire

interior

rooms
and

trs

floor; a

second courtyard
is

is

room)

rare.

had

A room

IS

blank, apart

from an unobtrusive
entrance door All the
living quarters face into

the interior court.

not unusual. Only

detail

is

limited;

floors of Tamped

No

evidence suggests that

were generally plain with white-painted walls

earth

or, .sometimes, ot

furniture survives, but

other ceramics, give an idea of

tile.

images in Greek

painting, particularly the paintings


its

on vases and

design.

recur-

shows a chair of great elegance probably of a kind only possessed by the wealthy (fig.
2.9). It has a slightly curved back supported by
ring image

'

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War,

(large

excavated foundations survive so that knowledge ot

had to settle down in those parts of the city that


had not been built over, and in the temples and
shrines of the heroes-except in the Acropolis.
.

second

forming the area primarily used by

children. Larger houses occasionally

with a bathtub of terracotta

It

honoured from their patriotic past, that they


prepared to change their whole way of life, leaving
behind what each man regarded as his own city.
When they arrived in Athens, a few had houses
of their own to go to, and a few were able to find
shelter with friends or relations; but most of them

all

women and

was sadly and reluctantly that they


now abandoned their homes and the temples time
households.

rooms

at the end. The street

move was a difficult experience


them had always been used
were

side, various

on the opposite side,


and by a columned

since most of

to living in the country .... So they

to the sky, is

flanked by a portico on

The Athenians took the advice he [Pericles] gave


them and brought in from the country their wives
and children and all their household goods, taking
down even the woodwork on the houses
themselves. But the

b.c.e.

central courtyard,

Rex Warner (Penguin,

1972), pp. 133-5

2.9 The
Hegisto

meeting place. The Stoa at the edges of the agora


provided shelter for commerce within long colonnades with small rooms at the back serving as
shops, for storage, or as work spaces. The stoa of
150

Attalos

(fig.

2.10) in the Athenian agora

B.c.E.)

has

been extensively restored, giving

(c.

convincing impression of what such places must

have been.

An

outer row of Doric and an inner row

of Ionic columns support the roof of wood and

Greek houses were

tile.

typically simple groupings of

rooms around an open court

(fig. 2.8). In cities

the

stele of
c,

410 bce.

The bas-relief shows an


elegantly dressed lady

seated

in

a chair of the

unique Greek type


called a klismos. The

outward curving

legs of

wood support a square


frame, which has a

surface of leather
straps.

The rear legs

continue up to a backrest panel. There is

small footrest

in front

of the chair.

houses were packed together along streets with

blank exteriors except for the entrance

largely

doorway. Material was sun-baked brick

or,

some-

times, rough stone with surfaces plastered or stuc-

coed and whitewashed. Plans vary

in

response to

the preferences of individual families, but there


rarely

The Andron,

ties.

kind of vestibuled parlor

suggesting the form of the earlier megaron,


usually close to the entrance

men

court
living

is

any concern for symmetry or other formali-

and

is

is

for the use of

owner and his friends. Beyond, the open


surrounded by the Oecus, an all-purpose
and work space, a kitchen and, beyond that, by
the

is

25

Chapter Two

2.10 The

interior of

thestoa of Attalos

in

the agora of Athens,


Greece,

c.

The agora

50

b.c.e.

(civic center

or marl<et place) in

now restored,

Athens,

was partly surrounded


by a covered colonnade, called a stoa.
line

of Done columns

on the left and a row of


Ionic columns at the
center supported a

wooden

roof.

The doors

at the right led to

rooms that were used


for dining

and storage

by the merchants,
whose wares were
displayed in the open
portico.

2.11 The theater


at Epidaurus, Greece,
c.

350

B.CE.

The Creek theater was

open

to the sky, with

semicircular

tiers

seating facing

of

down

toward the circular


floor or orchestra,

where

a chorus might dance


or sing. Actors played

on a temporary raised
platform or stage

behind the orchestra.


The theater was usually
sited in a spectacular

landscape that formed

a natural backdrop.

26

Classical Civilizations: Greece

corner uprights that continue the rear


seat

is

The

legs.

an open square of round wooden members

webbed with some material, probably leather. Both


front and back legs take a strong outward curve,
the characteristic of the Klismos chair type. The
form suggests curved animal parts that may have
been used

in early versions

of the klismos.

form and
about how such chairs were made
a structurally logical

The

strength.

legs

straight strips

It is

not

questions

raises

to have adequate

could have been bent from

the technique of steam-bending

if

from about 150

to control all of Italy until,

400

C.E., its

and Rome

b.c.e. to

empire controlled most of the known

western civilized world. In design, the

Romans

were content to borrow the aesthetic concepts of


the

expanding,

Greeks,

menting
quality.
nical.

Roman

It is

bridges,

elaborating,

and orna-

as they chose, usually to the detriment of


skills

were organizational and tech-

in the great

engineering works

and Aqueducts

vast

interior spaces that

most

striking.

and

roads,

in the creation

Roman

achievement

of
is

had been discovered, or they may have been made

from

branches selected for providing the

tree

desired curve.

Modern

efforts to

Greek chairs and other furniture types have met


with uncertain success.

From about 300


Hellenistic

monuments became

onward, during the

b.c.e.

Greek

age,

temples,

theaters,

larger,

In

and

more

and

richer,

complex, with elaborate ornamental details


2.11).

(fig.

the second century b.c.e. the loosely

connected Greek

came under

city states

Domes

Arches, Vaults, and

reproduce ancient

the

domi-

nation of Rome.

The use of arches in spanning over wide openings


with permanent materials was known to the
Egyptians and to the Greeks, but arched construction

was used

by these

in limited, generally utilitarian

civilizations.

It

remained

apply

its

Rome

ings that

on the

Roman
Italian

to

major buildings. An arch

is

an

arrangement of wedge-shaped stones put together

its

neighbors on

stones can thus be made to

The

and

potentialities in the creation of interior

spaces within

between

precedents.

ways

Romans

to explore the full possibilities of the arch

so that each stone, or Voussoir,

Ancient

for the

design drew
links

extensively

were the Etruscan

on Greek

civilization

peninsula that had in turn been

influenced by the Greek colonies in


direct contact that occurred as the

Greece, finally making

it

Italy,

and the

no one stone

most often made

in

Many

could span. Arches are


familiar

curved form

(although they can be slightly curved or


semicircular form

is

small

reach across wide open-

lintel

the

held trapped

is

either side.

often called a

flat); its

Roman arch

(fig. 2.12).

Romans invaded

part of the

Roman

empire. Etruscan houses and temples from before

2.12 Atypical Roman


arch and an arch under
construction with

300

only

B.C.E. are

known from

surviving traces

and from the verbal desciptions provided by the


Roman writings of Vitruvius. Houses followed the
Greek megaron type with mud brick and wood as
primary materials. In temple building, a columned
front portico with gabled

pediment above suggests

Greek temple architecture.

An

Springing

2 Voussoir
3

Keystone

4 Centering

Ancient
tects

Roman

and

archi-

made

builders

extehsive use of various

order based on

Greek practice was used, having a simplified Doric

column with

centering.

a base similar to that of the Ionic

forms ofarcfi

in the

construction of doors,

windows, and interior


spaces. The typical arch

As taken over and executed in stone later by


Romans, this became known as the Tuscan

order.

the

ORDER, the

of the

first

five

orders identified as

limited

idea

semicircular,

and

construction

required the use of a

temporary wooden

Roman. Pottery and wall paintings from Etruscan


tombs often show details of everyday life, and give
a

was
its

support structure

known as

centering.

of furniture and other artifacts

Roman times.
Rome was founded,

predating

753

B.C.E.

By 300

b.c.e.

according to tradition, in

Rome expanded

its

power
27

Chapter Two

Arches pose two technical problems. The


all

of an arch must be in place before

will stand.

means

that

it

first

of the stones

involves technique of construction:

This

Centering must be

built to

support the stones as they are put in place until the


arch

Romans understood how

complete. The

is

to

support centering from projecting stones near the


base of an arch, which avoided the need to build

wooden

the

from the ground up, and

structure

it

outward thrust

exerts

in

two

In addition to their skilled exploitation of these

Romans

constructional techniques, the

oped the dome,

also devel-

kind of round vault having the

form of a half or smaller segment of a sphere. A


can only cover a circular space and requires
support around its perimeter. In addition to arch,

dome
vault,

and dome building

in neatly cut stone called

Ashlar, the Romans added the use of a strong and

an Arcade, removing the centering from under a

lasting

it

could support the next one

under construction.

The second problem of arch construction


results

from the

fact that the

wedging action of the

voussoirs transmits pressure sideways through the


arch, generating an

Card, Nimes, France,

corners as

directions at those points.

they reused centering for the successive arches of

complete arch so that

2.13 The Pontdu

at its four

temporary scaffolding structure,

usually of wood, called

Such a Groin vault requires support only

vaults.

outward force or Thrust that

fired

modern
Romans

or mortar (the

Romans used

unlike their

The
mix of cement

flat

squares.

a volcanic ash called

pozzolana) with stones or gravel and water to


a

make

substance that would flow into place in any

desired form
artificial stone.

boring arches on either

easily

bridge or aque-

bricks,

also developed concrete, a

must be resisted in some way. In a series of arches


making up an arcade, the thrust of each arch is
absorbed by the balancing thrust of the neighside. In a

Roman

brick.

equivalent, were thin,

and subsequently harden into an


Stone was the material most used
and

for visible exterior

interior surfaces, but the

structure behind the surface often

made

use of the

handled (and ine.xpensive) brick or concrete

late first century b.c.e.

duct
This

(fig. 2.13),

the

last

arches of the series press

Roman aqueduct

bridge uses three

tiers

against a hillside or a massive

of arches to support a

enough

large water channel (at

tion, thick

to

the top), carrying water

from sources high


the mountains

of the

in

down

to

the coastal city of

Nimes

In bridge

aqueduct

and

structures,

each arch transfers


thrust to

Its

its

neighbors

while the end arches


thrust against the

adjacent

hills.

hill

abutment heavy

in

whatever combination was most practical and

efficient.

absorb the thrust. In building construc-

and heavy

walls take over the function

Amphitheaters and Baths

or abutment. Arches can span wide

openings, but masonry roofing of an interior space

Roman

engineering was put to use in the building

requires the extension of an arch to

of huge stadium amphitheaters such as the famous

The simple extended arch vault,


VAULT (or sometimes a tunnel vault) must rest on
massive walls on either side to absorb its thrust. A
more complex vault results from the form generated by the right-angle intersection of two barrel

Colosseum

form a vault.
called a Barrel

Rome

in

(72-80

c.e.)

and theaters with

similar tiers of seating in a semicircle facing an

elaborate stage structure. Since they were

open to

the sky, the only enclosed spaces of theaters

amphitheaters

were

complex

the

systems

and
of

passages and stairs that gave access to the seating.

Arches and barrel vaults were ideal structural


devices for these elements.

The

great amphitheaters

were provided with temporary roofing through

awnings or
certain

a tent-like covering, although

whether

Cantilevers

was

this

from

perimeter

the

cables spanning the space in the

it

is

not

through

arranged

through

or

manner of modern

tension structures.

The

great public baths

another public
Romans

building type developed by the

service

called for

vast clusters of enclosed spaces in varied sizes

and

and dome
construction. Furnace heat was passed through
under-floor spaces (Hypocausts) and through
shapes,

making

flues in walls

full

use

of vault

which, along with the generous flow

of water, produced steam and heated


varied

28

temperatures

that

the

air at the

Roman

bathing

Classical Civilizations: Greece

and Rome

2.14 Reconstruction
drawing of the Baths
of Caracalla,

Rome,

211-17C.E,

Enormous Corinthian
columns supported the
overhead vaulting,
while openings
clerestory
in

and

windows high

the walls flooded the

interior with light.


floors, walls,

The

and

vaulting were covered

with richly colored

marble as an expression of the greatness of

the
Its

Roman empire and

emperor

29

Chapter Two

2.16 Plan and

section

of the Pantheon, Rome,


c.
1

118-128c,E,

2 Niche

the sky. Areas were provided for gymnastic exer-

3 Portico

4 Oculus

cises

circle

dome

is

half sphere, while the


walls below form

cylinder with a height

just half its diameter

The

circle

drawn on the

section thus

fits

intenor of the

and touches
Its

sports, for social relaxation,

and even

for

Arched openings permitted daylight

to

enter the halls of the bath; the tepidaria of the great

also controls the

The

and

a library.

that forms

the basis of the plan

section.

(warm), Caldarium (hot), and Laconicum (very


hot) led to the Frigidarium, a large pool open to

Rotunda

The

system required. The sequence of Tepidarium

the

Roman

baths are the

fully lighted

by

first

daylight.

large interior spaces to be

Although the enclosing

roof structures are in ruins, the surviving portions


of the Baths of Caracalla (211-17

and of Diocletian (298-306

c.e.)

c.e.; fig.

make

it

2.14)

possible

to study their elaborate, totaOy symmetrical plans

dome

the floor at

and have encouraged


spaces for

center

of

New

modern

efforts to recreate the interior

functions.

The main concourse

York's old Pennsylvania Railroad Station

(demolished 1963), for example, was designed to


recreate the vast, Corinthian

columned and vaulted

so-called

Maison Carre

Roman

France, but a

Nimes

at

colony

in

now in
when

(fig. 2.15;

20

c.

b.c.e.

the temple was built), have survived in excellent

condition thanks to their sturdy construction with

tepiciarium of the Baths of Caracalla.

a barrel-vaulted roof enclosing the cella.

such smaller

rior of

Temples

Roman

The

inte-

temples was a simple,

smooth-walled room with a Coffered vault above

The

practical

and secular Romans were

less inter-

ested in temples than in amphitheaters, baths,

and

and

Larger

aqueducts, but they did build temples to their gods.

Nimes, France,
century

Carre,
first

b.c.e.

and half columns


surround the enclosed
cello

of this

temple.

It is

now

in

show

ruins,

walls or attached ("engaged") Pilasters were the

Pantheon

norm. Some smaller

Roman

temples, such as the

of Venus and

Rome

Rome

in

(135

c.e.),

for

example, had two interior chambers facing toward

two ends of the building, each with side walls


covered by a columned order with niches between
the

columns and at the back-to-back ends of the


rooms. Apses with half-dome tops obviously the

locations of the obligatory statues.

The
well

best

known

preserved,
in

Rome

the gods (figs. 2.2

round room 142

dome.

of

Roman

the

is
(c.

and

18-28

and

C.E.), a

impressive

temple to

2.16). Its interior

feet in

On

temples, fortunately

huge

is

diameter topped by a half-

the plaza there

is

an entrance

portico with eight Corinthian columns. Across

width

is

a triangular

all

a single

Pediment.

Two

its

additional

rows of four columns each make the portico

a simple

space leading to the great bronze entrance doors

barrel-

vaulted roof of stone


construction has

kept the building

in

nearly anginal condition. It

temples,

Roman

chamber with a
Its fine

Roman

evidence of more elaborate interiors. The Temple

spherical

Corinthian columns

the temple was

only contents.

The Roman temple used the Greek concept of a


single room (cella) housing a statue of the god with
a columned portico in front using a Roman version
of one of the Greek orders. The Roman preference
was for their own versions of the more elaborate
Ionic and Corinthian orders and the hybrid
Ionic
and
Composite order
(combining
Corinthian elements) rather than the more austere
Doric. Along the sides and rear of temples, freestanding columns were not used either plain

2.15 Maison

its

whom

god to

a statue of the

dedicated as

has been the

inspiration for

many

works-such as the
American eighteenthlater

century Virginia State

deep

(still in place and working on their original hinges).


The main body of the buOding has walls 14 feet
thick hoUowed out with spaced columned recesses
each dedicated to a particular god. The total height
of the space matches its diameter, making the lower

half a cylinder matching the height of the

above.

The

walls

below the dome are

dome
in

the

House by Thomas

Corinthian order with a simulated Attic, or upper

Jefferson.

story, above.

30

The dome

is

coffered with five tiers of


Classical Civilizations: Greece

smooth

coffers of decreasing size; a

below the open Oculus ("eye")


of internal lighting. The
thick at the top

dome

is

the only source

is

of concrete, 4

and becoming thicker

levels to carry the increasing load

aid in resisting

ring at the top

outward

thrust.

feet

lower

at its

and add weight

The

to

wails are of

concrete and brick with stone facing inside and


out.

The

vast size of the

Rotunda

interior,

its

rich

ments surprisingly similar to their modern counterparts. Knowledge of the settings and character of
everyday residential
vastly

aided

life in

Roman

times has been

through the extraordinary way

in

which whole towns were preserved when the eruption of

Mount Vesuvius

in

79

2.17 Reconstruction
drawing of the
of Maxentius,

307-312

buried the

cities

basilica

Rome,

C.E.

Only three bays survive


of this massive public

assembly
c.e.

and Rome

hall,

but they

reveal the scale

and

of Pompeii and Herculaneum in lava and ash.

nchness of this exercise

These were resort towns where the well-to-do had

in

surface ornamentation, the dramatic effect of the

houses of considerable luxury, but they can be

beams of sunlight which stream in through the


oculus to be reflected from the polished marble
floor, and the special acoustical quality generated
in a round room make the Pantheon interior one
of the most remarkable spaces surviving from

taken to be quite typical examples of the

approach

to

Roman

domestic architecture. Excavations

at

concrete vaulted

construction High

windows

clerestory

admitted light

to illumi-

nate the nch decoration.

ancient times.

With the spread of the Roman empire over


major part of the European and Near Eastern
lized world, variations

developed with

more

and

Roman themes

the basic

tendency toward more complex

elaborate

Roman

design.

on

civi-

over-elaborate

often

temple structures such as those

at

Pergamum, Turkey, had


ornamented interiors. The

Baalbek, Lebanon, and at

complex and richly


Temple of Venus at Baalbek,
a

for example, included

kind of small temple within the large temple

cella.

Secular Buildings
The Roman Basilica

(fig.

huge impact on

later building.

hall built for use as a

The

major

to have a

basilica, a large

courtroom, had a central

Nave through

space (called a

was

2.17)

was destined

secular building type that

its

supposed simi-

an inverted ship hull) to accommodate a

larity to

public involved in the litigation or

trials;

the judge

2.18 The
of Trajan,

marl<ets

Rome,

100-1 12 CE.

large, enclosed,

vaulted hall

sat

on

a raised level in

building.
aisles

On

an apse

at the

either side, separated

end of the

by an arcade,

provided space for circulation adjacent to the

had open-

ings on both sides

giving access to the


various shops,

and an

upper gallery giving

nave proper. The nave was


aisles so that

nave

in the

made

higher than the

windows could be introduced high up


walls,

forming a

clerestory. Walls of

access to additional
shops. This hall

vi/as

part of a complex of

commercial buildings

masonry supported a wooden roof This arrangement of nave and aisles with a focal apse turned out
to be highly suitable to conversion into a Christian

built

urban renewal
It

church

after

Roman

religion

Christianity

around (306-37

became an accepted

under the emperor Constantine

project.

included a basilica,

forums,

and

other

public buildings.

c.e.).

Other secular

Roman

building types included

markets with vaulted covered


suggestive of the

houses to service
Ostia,

under the Emperor

Trajan as part of an

halls

(fig.

2.18)

modern shopping maU, warecommerce at port cities such as

and multi-storied apartment houses or tene31

'

Two

Chapter

2.19 Plan of the


Houseof the Vettii,
Pompeii,

63-79
1

'

the sites of the disaster have uncovered streets,

houses, shops, even people caught in the eruption.

Italy,

An

C.E.

Entrance

astonishing variety of small objects, paintings,

and Mosaics make

2 Atrium

Roman

ancient

3 Kitchen

possible

it

to

understand

design in great detail. Although

and
and to the needs and means of its
owner, the Pompeiian house follows patterns that
had become norms in Roman Mediterranean

4 Dining room

quite varied in plan in response to the size

5 Parlor

shape of

6 Main room
The House of the

was

Vettii

typical of the

its lot

comfortable houses

regions.

inhabited by the

The house was usually a one- or two-story


building fronting on a street with a blank wall or,
often, with shops on the street and an unobtrusive

resi-

dents of Pompeii. The

rooms were arranged

around the atrium,


while the exterior front

entrance through a passage leading to a courtyard

of the house was simply

a blank wall with an


unobtrusive entrance
door. Other
built

near

houses were

layouts of which
lock with the

the

open Atrium
would be a pool (Impluvium) with
surrounding columns supporting a wood and tile
open

by, the

to the sky. In the center of this

there
inter-

House of

The Cost of Living

in

Ancient

Rome

roof that covered the colonnaded passage that gave

Vettii.

Many
life

Rome

describe

live.

made

Rome

whereas
... yet

who

lived in

Rome

for thirty

expensive to satisfy one's hunger,

Spain one can

live well

on a small income
Rome can obtain

the landowner living outside

everything he needs without paying for

made

Juvenal's Satires
Living in

Rome

same

the

forces

one to expensive

parlor

Tablinum with an

or

Roman

adjacent

preference for eating in a semi-

Windows were

reclining posture.

point:

axis

Triclinium or dining room furnished with three


couches on three sides of an open square. Here a
table could be placed, the whole arrangement
suiting the

it.

On

with the entrance, there was usually a sort of

light

displays, such as

most of the rooms of the house.

access to

formal

the following observation:

it is

In

Roman

as a ruinously expensive place to

Martial, a Spaniard

years
In

of the contemporary commentators on

rare since the

admitted by the door openings facing the

social

atrium were considered ample. Smaller special

wearing one's toga every single

purpose rooms such

day.

were

And moreover,

fitted

in

as a kitchen, baker)',

where they served

their

and baths
purposes

most conveniently.
The cost of housing is so expensive that the annual
rent of a dark and dingy abode in Rome would buy
the freehold of a fine house and garden in a nearby
town
[0]ne has to spend heavily in order to
manage to live in vile lodgings with enough food for
'
the slaves and only a modest dinner for oneself
In

were expected to pay

for municipal

baths at Bononia, built by the emperor Augustus and

emperor Caligula, bear the

Ut ex

perpetuum

from

Larger houses often

wealthy families.
courtyards,

in size

an atrium

in

few

mansions occupied by
had two

front surrounded

by

rooms making up

a formal outer zone linked by a

room

to a larger court or peristyle


set of rooms forming a
The House of the Vettii (figs.

surrounded by another

amenities as part of their duties as citizens. The public


restored by the

off an atrium to large

transitional

addition to these heavy costs of living, public-

spirited citizens

Pompeiian houses varied

rooms

inscription,

private living realm.

2.19-2.22) at Pompeii has a very large peristyle

number of rooms, although there


service zone with its own small
The very large House of Pansa is

court but a small


reditu in

viri

et impuberes

utriusque sexsus gratis laventur

is

''

a kitchen

open
which, translated, records thatT. Avasius Servandus

had paid 400,000

cestercii to restore

the free use of both sexes

in

court.

arranged around two courtyards arid has a large

the baths for

perpetuity as part of his

civic duty.

garden

at the rear.

houses

is

that the
1,

Martial.

Quoted

in

Epigram 12,3^;

2.

Juvenal, Sot/re i, 171, 3.

/fori,

Duncan Jones, The Economy of the Roman Empire

(Cambridge, 1974),

p.

230

223;

4.

The planning of such Roman

developed from the interior outward, so

outermost perimeter

is

often surrounded

by smaller houses and shops fronting on the public


streets.

no

32

and

Thus the house can be described

visible exterior unless there

is

as having

garden with a

Classical Civilizations: Greece

2.20 The

and Rome

atrium,

House of the

Vettii.

The luxurious house

was partially preserved


by being buried by the
eruption of

Mount

Vesuvius. The atrium

has a central pool,

open

to the sky,

and

is

2.21 Wall paintings

surrounded by a
symmetrical arrange-

ment of rooms. Beyond,


there

is

a garden

surrounded by a
style

the House of the

The walls of the rooms


of the houses

peri-

of columns

In

Vettii,

in

Pompeii often included


paintings of simulated

supporting a roof

architectural detail. The

Pieces of the original

painting was of consid-

mosaic wall decoration

erable artistic merit,

survived

and

are

now

preserved under glass.

and other paintings


with architectural
themes, such as those
in the corner

room,

of this

may give

clues to

the design of local

buildings no longer

extant


Chapter Two

2.22 Wall paintings in


Houseof the Vettii.

the

wall painting in

another room of the

house of the
includes a

amusing

from the House of the

Loggia facing toward it. Plans are quite varied


according to the size and shape of the lot: often
there was an upper story with rooms having
secondary functions, perhaps rooms for children,

work

servants, or storage.

what the varied and

scene of cupids
to be a

at

work

Vettii illustrates a fanciful


(fig.

pharmacy, which

tables, stools,

is

2.22) in

what appears

shown furnished with

and cabinets

that give

an idea of

Vettii

band of

cupids, which

may illustrate a story


no longer known. The
cupids appear to be at
work in a pharmacy,

rich furniture of

Rome must

have been.
Furniture

and Other

Interior Furnishings

The hot volcanic lava and ash that buried Pompeii


and Herculaneum destroyed the wooden structural
parts of houses and objects of wood, but elements

The Legacy of Rome: Technology

of cabinets and caul-

that were not of inflammable materials survived

in

drons provide informa-

stone couches and tables, iron and bronze artifacts,

water supply systems, using aqueducts and tanks to

mixing up potions
great

tion

vats.

in

The details

about the design

of the furniture and

eguipment that might


have been found in

Roman

houses of the

oil

lamps and charcoal braziers, and decorative

fresco paintings and mosaics. Taken together, the


ruins,

the surviving objects, and the images in

Technological

skills

feed

efficient

painted

Roman, design

burners, as the

red generally

Pompeiian

orange-

known as

in

considerable detail. Walls of

rooms, uncluttered by windows, were generally

sanitary

sewage

central heating

that

provided

by

portable

charcoal

Romans pushed northward

faced colder weather.

As

far

they

north as the great wall

red.

painted

simulated

with

moldings and

pilasters

architectural

detail

of

forming a plain Wainscot

below; the Panels above might be painted in solid

built

of

by Hadrian across the British

Roman

built

Isles at

the limit

colonization, houses (or Villas) were

where surviving ruins make

it

possible to

painting of exterior

inspect a radiant heating system. This involved a

scenes or imagery from mythology or scenes of

stone floor supported a short distance above the

Perspective was partially understood and

ground on brick or stone posts. The hollow space


below the floor was connected with a furnace on
one side of the building and a chimney on the
opposite side. When a fire was built in the furnace,
combustion gases were drawn through the under-

color

daily

or with

life.

naturalistic

used to heighten

realistic,

Trompe

L'oeil effects

framed paintings seemingly hung on

walls, false

decorative details, and, in mosaic, objects that

appear to

and

lie

on

floors. Favorite colors

a vermilion red that has

"Pompeiian."

Roman

come

furniture

were black

to be called

was developed

floor

chamber, the same technique used to heat the

great baths in

Rome. The warmed

floor surface

from Greek prototypes with a tendency toward


greater elaboration of ornamental detail and the

reached a mild but comfortable temperature. This

woods and inlays of ivory or metal.


Folding stools and certain types of chairs developed

modern times when

use of fine

a role as

symbols of rank or status rather than

devices solely for seating comfort.

34

their

and even a

Mediterranean climate hardly required any heating

above and below are


in the

traced

system of considerable sophistication. While the

beyond

The wall surfaces

plumbing,

disposal arrangements,

paintings and mosaics have made it possible to


reconstruct Pompeiian, and therefore ancient

time.

Romans can be

of the

the surviving evidence of their well-planned

as

wall painting

approach

to heating

was not rediscovered


it

until

appeared with the name

"radiant heating."

Knowledge of Roman design

is

considerably

aided by the oldest extant text on architecture,

De


and Rome

Classical Civilizations: Greece

.^

^^
V^

2.23 Roman

Entablature

B Column

architecture.

C Cornice
D Frieze

From

left to

orders of

right Ionic

Architrave

(similar to the earlier

Capital

Greek Ionic); Corinthian

C Shaft
H Base
I

(the

most elaborate of

Roman

Plinth

orders, hardly

diffenng from the Greek


Corinthian): Tuscan (a

Abacus

Volute

simplified Done);

ornate capital);

Tuscan

Corinthian

B.c.E.

by the Roman

Vitruvius PoUio,
Vitruvius.

sometime between 90 and 20


and engineer Marcus

architect

now

Ten books

generally

known simply as
many technical

dealt with

matters, fortification building, the

making of bricks
and water supply

and concrete, machinery, clocks,


systems, and the education of the architect. It also
included chapters on the design of temples, public

useful basis
that

all

for

Roman

firmitas,

and

vemistas.

by Sir Henry Wotton in 1624 as


"commodity, firmness, and delight," and often
rendered today as function, structure, and

Translated

aesthetics, Vitruvius's analysis

is

still

viewed

as a

and

forms-the

last of the

Ionic

developments).

text. It

is

valued as the oldest surviving written work to

present a thorough study of architectural practice.

From

modern point of

view,

Roman

design

tatious, overly decorative,

utilitas,

combine

to

Corinthian

remains was supported by

study of significant portions of Vitruvius's

issues,

phases

attempt

understanding the complexities

buildings,

and houses, discussion of aesthetic


and a full account of the Roman Doric,
Ionic, and Corinthian orders (fig. 2.23). It sets
forth the analysis of design goals as made up of the

(a

design involves. In the Renaissance, study

of surviving

still

and

Roman

Composite

Roman

Composite

Doric

seems technically advanced, orderly, systematic,


and aesthetically impressive, although often osten-

three

it

has a base and more

4 Fascia

Architectural written

Done

(unlike Greek Done,

3 Dentils

Influence of

Roman

and lacking

in subtlety.

design can be traced through

subsequent periods, recessive in the Middle Ages,


but reemergent in the Renaissance as the dominant

theme of European architecture and design. The


Roman civilization and its eventual collapse form the background for the complex

gradual decline of

developments that followed.

35

and

Early Christian, Byzantine,

Romanesque
By

400

Roman

C.E.,

declined significantly.

world

had

domination

The empire

split into

sepa-

and western empires, each with its own


and emperor. The western empire was

Christianity such as baptism and, in particular, the

celebration of the mass called for

rate eastern

types. Earlier temples

capital

accommodate

church was primarily an auditorium where a


congregation could assemble to watch and partici-

invaders

Vandals.

From

several

competing

dominant

eastward

to

Romans

the

role,

with

called

religions,
its

center

(now

Constantinople

pate in religious

was the

trends begins with the growth of the European

Romans

in

the

eastern

empire

Byzantine, and the emergence of the


style that

came

to

called

Romanesque

dominate the design of medieval

Europe. These aspects of design history overlap,


interrelate,

and

as a

Maria

either side

and an apse

end has

at the

convened

Christianity

to serve as

religion
C.E.,

been
a

Christian church. The

ancient

When

on

aisles

Roman

it

by the

secret meetings

and the gath-

ering of a congregation. At one end, in an apse,

and other arrangements


conducting a mass or other service.
the altar

was

for the clergy

On

either side

aisles,

was made an

officially

possible for Christians to

provided space for the public and for

various shrines and secondary functions.

than

the

was

aisles,

lighted

The nave,
by high

windows. Walls were constructed of

masonry, the roofs spanned by large wooden


members. The upper walls of the nave were
accepted

Roman emperor Constantine

became

used by the

Early Christian basilican church had a high

The

central nave suited to processions

clerestory

basilica-a long

hall

twin

100 can seem disordered and confusing.

Early Christian Design

nave with

meeting

courtroom.

of Rome, usually dated at 410, until

"fall"

1000 or

The basic scheme of the

Roman

the

building

of the naves. Aisles, in larger churches sometimes

Cosmedln, Rome,

772-95.

Roman

closest to serving their needs; this

basilica, a public

higher
S.

serve this need,

to a degree conflict so that the years

from the
1

came

type that

Istanbul). In design history, a time of conflicting

work centering

To

rites.

Christians turned to the earlier

direction usually called Early Christian design, the

(below)

to

a public gathering, but a Christian

whom

European

moving

In

building

destined to collapse under the pressure of northern

Christianity took a

3.1

new

had not been intended

in

313

abandon

and catacomb burial places

in favor

of a public and visible presence. The rituals of

supported by rows of closely spaced columns

The change

carrying lintels or arches.


the

made

of columns

line

between nave and

was the

in height

and

separation

clear

This simple configuration

aisles.

on which most subsequent church

basis

columns have been

building developed. In the Early Christian era,

reused to support a

elaboration developed in several ways.

wall with a high

were generally based on one of the Roman orders,


sometimes Ionic, most often Corinthiarft Their
material was stone, frequently marble of rich color.

clerestory.

wood.

The roof is of

choir has been

built that extends into

the nave. The largely

red

and green

walls

above the columns were often painted,

floor

mosaic adds color

3.2 [opposite]

S.

Marco, Venice,

Italy,

c 1063-73 and
Five

The

the half

dome

mosaic

illustrating religious themes.

over the apse painted or lined with

often paved with colored stones

after.

domes on penden-

tives-three for the


nave, one for each

and strong
patterns
complete columns with
taken from earlier
ings,

Roman

this

famous

The

church The mosaics


that cover the surface

of every wall and

dome

introduce spectacular
color into

dim

an otherwise

interior

The

large

most

Roman

geometric

temples and other build-

Roman

direct

design into basil-

manner.

basilican churches of

Outside the Walls (386

c.e.)

and

S.

S.

of

S.

by

later elaboration.

Maria

in

Cosmedin

Paul

Maria Maggiore

(432) are examples of the type although


altered

even

were often

their capitals,

thereby transferring

ican churches in a

Floors were
in

Materials,

colors.

transept-create the

space of

Columns

much

The smaller churches


(fig.

3.1)

in

Rome

building represents a
link

between the

work

and

in

other Asian loca-

tions

and

esque

the

Romanwas

style that

developing

36

earlier

Constantinople

in Europe.

(772-95) or of

S.

Apollinare in Classe

(c.

500) in

Ravenna are less modified by later reconstruction.


S. Maria in Cosmedin, there is a partially

At

enclosed area at the front of the nave, almost a


building

within

the

building,

that

provided a

y*"

,>(

c:

y^?

Chapter Three

3.3
c.

S.

Costanza, Rome,

350,

Built as a
for the

mausoleum

forward extension of the apse to make a

later

converted to a Christian

while also serving as a teaching tool through the

An

alternative type of religious building used a

round or octagonal plan

domed space

(fig. 3.3;

or ambulatory with a

vault overhead.

windows

light the central space,

for

and

the

both

many

model with

c.e.)

and

Stefano

S.

east

end to

of events of religious historical

signifi-

illiterate public.

Costanza

Rotondo (468-83

Christian churches, but the basilican


its

Bilateral symmetry and

its

strong

establish

an eastward-facing direction

symbolic significance (facing toward the

for

varied color

Holy Land), tended

its

illustration

cance to a generally

Byzantine Design

in

mosaic introduce

38

S.

a centrally

orientation toward an altar, usually placed at the

while marble wall


surfaces

on

Rome, are of this type. Such central


planning with its Radial symmetry has been used
C.E.),

mosaic-covered barrel

Clerestory

350

is

aisle

to focus

placed baptismal font, altar or tomb.

church. The central

surrounded by an

both designs, painted and mosaic decora-

important part of church buildings.

Emperor Constantine,

was

type. In

tion in rich color contributed to internal richness

daughter of the

the building

Chancel

or Choir, an element that gradually became an

to

become

the favored plan

With the relocation of the Roman capital to


Byzantium (330 c.e.), renamed Constantinople by
the emperor Constantine, and with the eventual
break into separate eastern and western Roman
empires, a new center of development was created.
The influence of Byzantine architecture and design
developed

in

the east,

flowed back to

Italy

to

The Ravenna Mosaics


saw light in river form with tide
effulgent fire between two margins teeming
Which wondrously with flowers of spring were dyed
Out of that current, living sparks were teeming

And

And

flashing from the flowers with hues intense

Like very rubies from gold patinas gleaming.'

The great
lines

Italian

poet Dante Alighieri wrote these

from the Divine

inspired by the glowing mosaics which

created

in

mingle with the Early Christian work evolving


there at the same time. At Ravenna, the western

Comedy m Ravenna. He was


had been

a senes of churches and chapels there

the sixth century to reflect the glory of

Cod and

styles

the

can be seen developing side by

Byzantine work,

lines of another,

unknown, poet were

transcribed into the mosaics

in

the

classical

the Archiepiscopal

of such basics as the column and


engineering

(Either

skills

of ancient

retained and developed with

of

detail

architecture faded in favor of limited

Chapel:

Aut lux nata est, aut capta hie libera regnat


light was born or imprisoned here, it reigns

Vitale,

S.

Italy,

outpost of Constantine's eastern empire, the two

in

Byzantine court.

The

3.4 (above

and

its

side.

In

Roman
freer use

The

capital.

Rome

were, however,

skillful

use of vaulting

c 532-48.

church built to an

octagonal central plan


with a short apse

extending to the east

The

domed

space

an

IS

central

surrounded by

aisle with

an upper

gallery. Light enters

from clerestory windows

and domed construction.

'

left)

Ravenna,

high above, while the

supreme)

column capitals are of

The Emperor Justinian and


their

own

portraits set into

Vitale, next to

Theodora had

his wife

mosaic

in

the church of

S.

the simplified carved

Ravenna

block type, typical of

Byzantine design.

Archbishop Maximian, the founder of

(mentioned

Colorful marbles

of basilican type and uses extraordinary

mosaics and the

At Ravenna,

the church. The forceful portrait of the latter

S.

ApoUinare

prompted the following comment by Andreas


Agnellus, a sixth-century chronicler of the work at the

above)

mosaic

art that serves

church:

didactic

illustration

tall in stature,

headed but

slender

for a

character ....

In

execution there
All

the figures

in

few

in

body, lean

hairs,

bald

grey eyed and saintly

architecture

is

in face,

and

in

nothing similar to

church of
in

technical
it

in Italy.

the mosaics wear Byzantine

is

'

official

court robes, presenting images so powerful and

impressive that even at the height of the Renaissance,

S.

in Classe

both as decoration and as

of religious

Vitale (figs. 3.4

and

The

subjects.
3.5;

c.

532-48)

reduced the weight of the structure. There is a


chancel extending from one face of the octagon

making the building ambiguously both


symmetry.

radial

and

can be regarded both as

the early fifteenth-century humanist Antonio

Traversan remarked:

an example of Early Christian work relating to

vi/all

we gazed upon a

decoration.

finer or

more elegant

"

Dante Alighien, The Dwine Comedy, trs, Melville Anderson; 2.


in Cuiseppe Bovini, Ravenna Mosa/cs (London, 1957), p.

3. Ibid. p.

474;

4. Ibid p.

6,

its

churches in Rome, and


stylistic

Quoted

complexity of the plan

generate an extraordi-

nary internal space


within a simple, almost

barren exterior.

made use of an octagonal central plan with a


domed roof built from hoUow pottery units that

bilateral in

never have

and

It

as Byzantine.

The

3.5 (above right)


Section and plan of
S,

Vitale,

The circular central


area

outer
tory,

latter

attribution can be supported by the richly

is

niches

surrounded by

and then by an

aisle,

or

ambula-

which converts the

extenor of the building


to

an octagon. The

decorated interior, with wall surfaces covered in


colored marbles in complex patterns together with

entrance narthex

mosaic images representing figures from religious


texts. The central space is surrounded by an

faces of the octagon.

(vestibule)

relate to

is

angled

to

two adjacent

39

Chapter Three

Ambulatory

passage with

above,

gallery

its

columned niches forming links between the central


space and its surround. The columns suggest

Roman

precedent, but the capitals are

now

carved

forms closer to Near Eastern origins.

in abstract

entering

Daylight,

windows, aided

from

in creating

the

high,

clerestory

an atmosphere sugges-

of mystical religious belief

tive

Hagia Sophia
By

most important of Byzantine works

far the

is

the

great church of Hagia Sophia (S. Sophia; 532-7) in

Constantinople

(figs.

3.6

and

on

its

domed

is

vast,

dependent

The problem

daringly engineered structure.

of placing a

The

3.7).

striking interior space of this building

roof on a space of any shape

other than round had been studied by the

Romans

but never fully solved. The Pendentive, a curving


triangular

wedge shaped

two adjacent arches

to

fill

the space between

built at right angles to

another and curved so as to become a quarter


at

its

top,

builders

and used

central, 107 foot

on

device developed by Byzantine

is

one

circle

at

Hagia Sophia

to

support the

diameter brick dome. The arches

either side of the central space are filled in; the

and gallery levels by


columned arcades. Those at front and back are
open to half domes that open in turn to smaller
domed Exedrae (niches). The geometry of the
great central dome on pendentives can be understood as being a half-spherical dome from which
four segments have been cut away to convert it to a

walls are penetrated at floor

3.6 Hagia Sophia,


Istanbul, Turkey,

532-7.
The largest and most

square needing support only

spectacular of

The corners are Buttressed at Hagia Sophia by


the half domes at front and rear and by external
solid masonry masses at either side. lust above the
pendentives, there is a ring of forty small windows
that light the interior and lend the dome a sense of

Byzantine churches,

Hagia Sophia has a


vast central space that
is

surmounted by a

dome on pendentives
with a circle of

windows at its base.


The windows appear

weightlessness.
to

make the dome float


Some of the anginal

lOOm

mosaics covenng the


wall

open

to aisles

galleries

3.7 Plan of Hagia

The central

Sophia,

space

domed

typically

support arches that

and

above the

IS

extended by

2 Narthex

half domes at the front


and back to give the

3 Nave

exterior

4 Apse

ways

Atrium

a strong length-

axis,

later

(tenth

to

eleventh

century)

The much
church

of

Marco in Venice (fig. 3.2), built with five domes


on pendentives that cover the four arms of a Greek
S.

CROSS plan and

its

central crossing, has retained

its

which

aisles.

40

accordance with the Islamic prohibi-

in

ft

tion of realistic representation in art.

been preservedByzantine capitals

The mosaic images that lined Hagia Sophia


were obliterated when the building became a
mosque,

300

and dome have

Columns with

four corners.

at its

5 Baptistry

extends from the

elaborately carved choir screen, chancel fittings,

6 Minaret

entrance narthex

and

toward the apse facing


the southeast

most complete and best example of Byzantine


church interior treatment.
the

rich interior lining of mosaics.

It

is

probably


Early Christian, Byzantine,

Secular Buildings

decisive

advantage

building of a sturdy wall

contemporary with the Early

building

Secular

Christian and

Byzantine churches survives in such

limited fragments

and ruins that study of the

inte-

a castle, or

around

any attacker. The


around a house, making it

over

town or city made the occuThe feudal lord occupying a

pants relatively secure.


castle

could offer protection to a walled town,

and Romanesque

3.8 Odo von Metz,


Palatine chapel,

Aachen
(Aix-la-Chapelle),

Germany, 798.

space built as a

chapel for the palace of

riors

difficult.

is

by the eastern

Roman

establishing a

Roman empire

following earlier

between the often brutal leader and the exploited

only remaining part of

remains

population that lived under his protection. The

the proposed building.

early monasteries

nothing

almost

but

practice,

intact. Residential building

and the buildings of

have also largely disappeared or

development of
Ages (before

Some houses

design, art,

Venice date from the era of Byzantine influence.

the stylistic

have been extensively reconstructed.


in

They

are typically several stories in height; each

floor

is

opening from both


be traced

also

Greece,

this pattern in the early

1000)

Italy,

established the context

and architecture usually


designation Romanesque.

for

identified

by

in

and

sides.

in the

domed

of medieval

churches of Russia.

Early Medieval:

the

interior,

Vitale,

Ravenna, has an
eight-sided vault roof;
galleries

surround

the space, with a

Mosaic decoration was

The Romanesque

used

Style

level,

Charlemagne (771-814) established a new center of authority and power that the
"darkness" of the Dark Ages began to give way to
It

was not

until

new

strain of

enlightenment

in the

surrounding

passages at ground

in

and

colorful

marbles cover the


surfaces of the central
space. Semicircular

arches use voussoirs of


light

and dark stone

The "Dark Ages"

In Europe, after the collapse of

Rome by

is

The octagonal

based on S

two

Byzantine influence can

architecture

the

Charlemagne

clerestory above.

the appearance of a

the sack of

Middle

out with a broad central hall space

laid

from front and back with smaller rooms

lighted

relationship of mutual advantage

Great baths and palaces were built

Roman

authority

the Visigoths in 410 c.e.

convenient date to mark

its

ending

is

a period ot

confusion followed, often referred to as the "Dark


Ages." Historians dislike this term, feeling that
suggests

it

time totaUy lacking civilized culture.

from about 400 to about 1200


from the absence of any centralized govern-

Certainly the period


suffered

ment or authority and from the disappearance of the


systems of Roman law, roads, and

organized

economy. In

this

anarchic period, what order there

was came from the authority exercised by


strong

local

men who were themselves a threat to order as

they fought one another for territory and exploited


the general population in any

way

they chose.

in which
power was established by force and apportioned,
along with control of land, by a hierarchical,

feudal system gradually

emerged

authoritarian system. Control passed

from

downward

a royal or imperial top level to layers of titled

aristocrats to, at the

who farmed

bottom, the

serfs or

peasants

land and paid taxes to support the

feudal structure. In this situation, with chaos only

restrained to a degree by the exercise of


force, military authority

With

offensive

armed

became dominant.

warfare

constantly

waged

between feudal strong men, conduct of normal

lite

became dependent on defensive techniques. The


weapons of the strong were only swords, spears,
and bows and arrows. A man dressed in armor had
41

3
6
5

Chapter Three

3.9 Plan of the


monastery of
Switzerland,

S.

the arts to parallel developments in other aspects of


Call,

life.

820.

c.

the

Church

Cloister

Infirmary

Chapel

Novitiate

Orchard/Cemetery

Carrien

Charles)

is

used to describe the work of

which can be viewed as an early phase of


Romanesque architecture and art. The term
Romanesque derives from the continued use of

aspects of

Barn

Workshops

Roman

Stables

12 Animal pens
Hostel

14 Guesthouse
School

Abbot's house

17 Scriptorium and

great

palace,

Aachen

at

22 Hospice for the poor


23 Baths and latrines

The early medieval

floor level

is

the epitome of

Only the chapel survives (fig.


planned octagon topped by an

style.

3.8), a centrally

eight-sided

(Aix-la-

with regard for

built

concepts of order and symmetry,

Romanesque

Middle Ages.

surrounding passages

vault v^th

and

at the

two

at

levels of galleries above.

was

vaulting systems

with semicircular form.


Barrel vaults

were often used

in placing a stone

roof over a long church nave, a problem that was


of ways

in

in the early

vault

developed and groin vaulting appeared, but always

era. In general,

and forgotten

Romanesque

more complex

form. Eventually

Romanesque

At Charlemagne's capital

21 Cellars

early

approached

Chapelle)

20 Kitchens

The

a simple barrel vault, invariably semicircular in

interiors. It

library

18 Dormitory
19 Refeaory

justified their use.

particular,

largely lost

design, the semicircular arch in

and versions of the detail of Roman


is somewhat misleading in its implication of a strong connection with Rome. The
Roman empire, its culture, and its art had been

10 Brewery and bakery

name

from

derives

this era,

11

The term Carolingian (which

provision of

during

the

continuity of space was

vndows

and so

difficult

led to a dark

Other solutions tended to break the nave

interior.

its

variety

by a continuous barrel vault which made

best served

up into

topped with

a series of separate units, each

own

vault, or regressed to the acceptance of a

wooden roof with


Tournus

limited

in France, the

lasting

At

qualities.

abbey church of S. Philibert

(960-1120) has a nave higher than the adjacent


groin-vaulted

aisles.

The roof is

a series of transverse

by

barrel vaults, each thus buttressed

neighbor

its

Benedictine monastery,

now

replaced by a

building,

is

later

known only

from a plan that shows


Its

techniques of ancient Rome. The building

embedded

in later construction,

is

now

but the interior

wall

clerestory

the

leaving

windows. The interior

for

large

many

vaults

available

of the

effect

breaks up the unity of the nave in a

way that

left this

extensive elements.

self-sustaining
nity,

commu-

able to provide for

of its residents'

needs. The church's

and
of Germany

other churches

and adjacent

primary device of

remembered

or,

Roman

archi-

perhaps, rediscovered for

Wood was

for everyday structures

was the most

regions in

the ninth century.

clearly a

use in stone building.

be the ideal scheme for


cathedrals

tecture

has an apse at each


to

approach an experiment not repeated. There

as built.

The visual element most readUy identified with


Romanesque design is the semicircular arch. It was
the most advanced structural technique remaining
in use

double-ended design-it

end-was intended

much

survives

Such a monastery was


conceived as a closed,

all

Semicircular arches and barrel vaults recall the

the usual material

at S. Philibert a

Narthex

or vestibule on two

approaching the concept of the German

The

below).

(see

surrounded by

a curving aisle or

radiating small chapels


istic

end

chancel

was

also

levels,

West work
an

with

apse

ambulatory with

become

to

is

a character-

element of later French church building.

no longer survivingand

common

material for floor and roof

Churches

construction of stone buildings. Vaults eventually

came

into use

where the desire

for

permanence

Germany
At Corvey-on-the-Weser

Germany, the abbey

in

church of S. Michael (873-85)


with an aisled nave.

To

its

is

a basilican church

eastward-facing main

body, a massive unit, almost a complete building in


itself,

was added

at

the west (front)

end. This

became a frequent
part of German Carohngian and early Romanesque
churches. The development of major spaces at the
west end of churches can be observed in the
element, called a "westwork,"

surviving plan drawing of the monastery of


(fig. 3.9;

c.

layout for

820).

all

It

shows an orderly but

S.

Gall

intricate

the parts of this vast institution, with

the large church laid out with an apse at each end

making the building almost symmetrical lengthwise as well as transversely. This double-ended

UDDD
42

church plan survived in varying forms in Germany,


in the building of westworks and in the plans
of

later

German

churches.

At

S.

Michael

at

Early Christian, Byzantine,

BH^^^^^V

3.10 (above

left]S.

Michael's, Hildesheim,

Germany, 1010-33
(reconstructed after

n n

fi

n/*"*^,

World War

iQOQOOOQDQQ

II).

The Romanesque
rior is

mnii

inte-

of basilican type

and

with a center nave


aisles

on

either side

connected

nave

to the

by arcades. There are


small windows high up
on the nave walls
forming a

clerestory.

The roof is of wood and

a square tower

at

rises

each end of the nave


supported by arches.

3.11

Plan of

(/eft)

S.

Michael's,

At each end of the


church, transepts on

topped

either side were

by towers. The

aisles

either side of the

Hildesheim (figs. 3.10 and 3.11; 1010-33) Transepts


and tower are placed symmetrically at each end of

The

cathedrals of Speyer

Mainz

(after

II 70) indicate the

eastward from

(fig. 3.12;

and

1009),

begun

Worms

c.

(begun

vaulted chancel

extending to the west

spread of Romanesque concepts

Germany into

that part of Europe.

3.13
al

(ngftf) S.

1018-62.

The nave

1018-62)

is

S.

wood

Miniato

in Florence (fig. 3.13;

roofed but

its

interior

is

elabo-

and white marble in


geometric pattern. The chancel is raised to open up
a view into a lower Crypt level below the chancel.
rately decorated with black

Ambrogio, Milan (1080-1128), has a plan based


on the Early Christian basilica with an open atrium
in front. The nave is in four Bays (units), three
S.

Miniato

Monte, Florence,

Italy,

Italy

The church of

its

small apse on

the east was later


outmatched by a large,

the basilican nave with aisles.

1024),

are almost double


width.

on

nave

is

divided into

three sections,

which

IS

each of

roofed in wood.

At each end

is

a crypt

that opens to the

Above, a choir

above

eye-level.

trasting black

nave

rises

Con-

and

marble covers the

white

walls.

The windows are of thin,


translucent marble

and Romanesque

Chapter Three

3.14 Church

of S.Foy,

Conques, France,

roofed with a square groin vault, having the diagonal lines of the groins emphasized as stone

1050-1120.

The fourth bay

is

the chancel,

ribs.

now topped by an

The pilgrimage church


IS

octagonal stubby tower or Lantern. The two-level

a cruciform

built to

plan, with

narrow

toll,

An

proportions-

aisles are

topped by square groin

vaults.

octag-

onal tower tops the

France

crossing The

light to the

Conques in France (fig.


on one of the great
pilgrimage routes of the Middle Ages. The relic of
the martyred saint, housed in a gilded and jeweled
statue, attracted hordes of worshipers on the traditional route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Its nave, high and narrow in relation to width, is
topped by a barrel vault with aisles two levels in
height on either side. The upper aisles are covered

choir.

with half barrel vaults rising to the top of the nave

barrel-vaulted nave has

arches defining each

and

bay,

aisles

and galleries above


permit only limited

nave

light to reach the

from small windows

At

the outer walls.

in

the

east end, in contrast,


larger

windows admit
ambulatory
The church was

originally richly deco-

S.

1050-1120)

3.14;

the arched

openings into

The church of

walls

side

Foy

is

at

a station

so that there

is

no clerestory

level.

rated with carvings,


paintings,

but

tries,

and

all

Windows

tapes-

have been

removed. The reliquary

an idea of

the nature of the anginal

ornamental

aisles

so that they are brighter than the nave; the octagonal,

statue of the saint (see

50) gives

here are large enough to light the

domed tower above

the

crossing

where

for

and nave meet is also windowed. Except


carved column capitals, the interior is simple

and

austere, although the "treasure" that attracted

transepts

richness.

the pilgrims' attention


in the

3.15 Abbey Church

of

La Madeleine, Vezelay,

France.
This

is

1104-32.

a high, light

church, with

an

uninter-

rupted view from the

narthex to the apse

stone roof of groin


vaulting

is

defined at

each of the three bays

by arches that use voussoirs

of contrasting

light

and dark

stone, as

do the arches of the


nave arcades that open
into the aisles. The wall

above the nave arcades


has clerestory windows.
The column capitals
retain their elaborate

and

fanciful carving.

The distant choir


later,

44

is

Gothic addition.

would have been displayed

chancel in mountings of gold and jewels.

Early Christian, Byzantine,

Madeleine

In the

French

another
vaulting

at

Vezelay

(fig.

3.15;

church,

pilgrimage

the

has become more complex. The arches

separate

from the

nave

the

roof

Mont. There are chapels from the tenth


century with unornamented stone arches and

that

vaults,

104-32),

defme bays

aisles

marked by an arch that spans the nave and supports


a groin vault. The voussoirs of the arches are ot
alternating light and dark stone. The chancel end at
Vezelay is of later date and Gothic in design.

A number of structural systems

for the building

that top the

and

groin-vaulted

with

crypt

stubby

and Romanesque

3.16
Mont

(/eft)

Abbey

of

Michel, France,

S,

from 1017,
The vast Salle des

columns centered in the space to support the vaults.


The only decoration is simple, abstract carving of
the column capitals. The nave of the church is also

Chevaliers (Knights'

Romanesque, with semicircular arches at


the aisle and triforium levels and for the clerestory
windows above. The roof is constructed of wood.

named

typically

and houses of the town

of large churches developed in parallel during the

The

Romanesque era. S. Front at Perigueux (twelfth


century) is made up of five domed units arranged
in a Greek cross similar to the design of S. Marco in

edges of the

walls

Mont

built

on the lower

contribute to the remarkable

Hall)

one of the

IS

rooms

in the

complex.

that

it

It

abbey

may

be

from the fact

housed the
who defended

knights

the abbey or from the


military order of St

Michael, established by
Louis XI The stone

historic cross-section of
ture, built

and

rebuilt

French medieval architec-

from Carolingian times

to the

fifteenth century, all available for study in this single

vaulting marks the

beginning of the

transi-

tion from the use of

semicircular arches,

complex.

which form the diagonal of each bay, into

England

pointed arches, which

The Romanesque way of building was brought


England by the
term

work
in

Norman
that

conquest of 1066. The

used in England to denote the

would be

Many

Europe.

Norman

Norman
is

form the four sides of

into

buildings

called

Romanesque elsewhere

English

some,

cathedrals

began

reconstructed

as

each bay The openness


of the space results

from the way

in

which

the vault arches are

supported on

relatively

slim piers-

or

JO

altered in the Gothic era, retain only fragments of

Norman

parts;

construction.

Venice, but the interior effect

is

strikingly different

because the simplicity of bare stone has replaced


the richness of Venetian mosaic. In
step toward the cathedral type

building of the

1060-81

),

buih

Normandy,

was taken with the

Abbaye-aux-Hommes

The plan

Caen by William the Conqueror

at

is

Etienne,

(S.

to celebrate his successful conquest of

1066.

Cruciform (having

Latin cross), with

England

and

in

the shape of

a long, groin-vaulted nave,

and a deep chancel. There are aisles, an


above the aisles called a Triforium,
clerestory level above at the level of the main
level

vaulting.

The

vaults are square, but each

is

divided

at its center to

Gothic cathedrals that were to follow.

With an

island location off the

the monastic grouping of Mont

eleventh century)

includes a

S.

The naves of Durham

of

(fig.

Norman
3.17)

and
3.17 Durham
Cathedral, County

Durham, England,
1110-33.
The semicircular arches
of the nave arcades
indicate the

Norman

this fine cathedral.

The

groin vaulting above,

with

its

slightly

pointed

transverse arches points


to the Gothic develop-

ments that

follow.

The

grey stone was probably originally painted


bright colors, while

the carved patterning

of the round

piers,

which alternate with


the

compound piers,

introduces a striking

element of visual
activity.

The cathedra!,

unusually,

still

has

its

anginal clerestory

Normandy coast,
Michel

largely

in

match the spacing of


the supporting columns, two bays to each main
vault. With its two diagonal groin ribs, such a vault
is divided into six triangular panels and is therefore
called Sexpartite. This scheme comes very close
to the design that would become typical for the

by a cross arch

are

(Romanesque) date of

transepts,

upper

others

(fig.

number of

windows.

3.16;

spaces

Romanesque era, long before the


church and other Gothic structures

dating from the


building of the

45

Chapter Three

3.18

Andrew's

St.

of Gloucester with their massive arcade columns

great vertical timbers that suggest the masts of

date from the end of the eleventh century. At

ships.

Durham,

aisle

Church, Borgund,

Sogne
c.

Fjord,

Norway,

50.

In the construction

of

the Norwegian build-

known as

ings

stave

churches, the stone

columns are of simple

alternate

drical form, but carry carved abstract,

patterning.

1118)

'is

Almost

Norman,

is all

but the chancel of

Ely.

ceilings hide the trusses of the

vocabulary of

Richly painted

Romanesque building

wooden roof structure.

is

geometric

of Peterborough (begun

all

as

wood

cylin-

structural but exist to

a simulation of

offer

the stone-built monas-

tenes of France. This

church
high,

IS

nearly

and

tiny

50

feet

windows

high up provide the


only

light.

Many stave

church type.

seems probable that both the

It

many

general concept and

details

were brought to

monks who came north

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, in


a number of wooden churches and
other buildings have survived from around the
years 1000 to 1200. The most striking of these are
wood churches, called Stave
the
Finnish
In

descriptions of the monastic churches of the south.

The semicircular arches of stone arcades are reproduced in wood, and details carved in wood suggest
memory of comparable work in stone. Hundreds

poles

manuscripts.

wooden
Romanesque

resulting building can be read as a small

version of the typical nave and aisle

particular,

and

illu-

mination of medieval

a lower

make Christian converts of the Norse Vikings


and who taught church building with verbal

CHURCHES with

reminiscent of the

is

to

Scandinavia

churches house wall


ceiling painting,

the central space there

Scandinavia by missionary

translated into wood.

The arch forms are not

Around

with an outside wall of wide boards. The

their

virtually

main

tall

whole

tree

trunks

The typical
about 30 x 50 feet

structure.

small, usually

but

reference to the great

often as

much

body of these churches

a tall

that

form

stave church
in

ground

is

plan,

The central
space formed by the

as 100 feet high.


is

wooden

of such churches were standing in the nineteenth

century but there are

now

only about twenty-four.

Borgund church (fig. 3.18;


example. The church at Torpo
able for

1150)

c.

(c.

is

190)

is

fine

remark-

colorful interior paintings that line an

its

arched partial

ceiling,

which suggests an intention

to simulate a stone barrel vault.

The painted

figures

acting out events of religious legends suggest the

of medieval manuscript illumination.

style

Fortresses

and Castles
on a raised
some other place easy

Early castles were simply houses built

mound,

a natural hill, or in

to defend

and

to

surround with

a wall

at first

merely a fence or palisade of wood. Before long,

wood was

resistant material.

castle

might stand

up

against

castle

more lasting and


The house or Keep of the

replaced by stone as a

more

it

free wdthin the wall, or

keep was usually of several

compact mass easy


and roof

Some

be built

sharing part of its stone structure.

to defend

early castles, called

stories,

from

its

The

forming

upper

levels

Tower houses,

were

simply towers with rooms stacked up vertically


inside,

often

with

corner

projections

to

make

defense of the walls easier. GraduaUy, as military


castles

were

improved with defensive towers along the

walls,

techniques

for

attack

improved,

The
accommodaThe rooms of a

elaborate gates, and multiple systems of walls.


castle garrison

tions
castle

had

to

grew

become more

were generally

an ordinary house.
hall,

larger

and

elaborate.

as bare

An

and simple

all-purpose

served as living and dining

his family,

and

for

as those of

main room, the

room

for the ovraer,

whatever servants and garrison

the castle might house. Private


service spaces,

living

rooms

for the family,

and other conveniences were added

Early Christian, Byzantine,

very slowly as medieval


settled

and orderly

v^rith

life

became

increasingly

and chimney were

Since castles were usually stone built (although

number of

guests

would

up on

trestles

wood)

us an idea of what interiors were

would often hold

like.

innovations. At one end, a

made

feudal lord

several castles, each intended to

a separate

space for the table where the family and honored

examples survive or have been restored which give

with most floors and roofs of

late

raised portion of floor, the dais,

the passage of time.

In the

body of the

all it

hall,

boards

set

served as tables and serving stands.

on benches or

Seating was
chair at

sit.

stools

was an honorary

if

there was a

seat for the lord at

enforce his authority over a particular area. Exercise

the head table. Eventually hangings appeared as a

of that authority meant appearing periodically

way
and

each castle in sequence to conduct audiences,

at

settle

legal disputes, and simply be visible in a context


where there was no organized system of communication. The casde family and garrison were, accord-

ingly, transient, setting

ture

up housekeeping

for a time

casde before moving on. Most

in a particular

that they could

move with

The rooms of
stone

a castle usually

had walls of bare

(sometimes whitewashed), floors of bare

stone or bare
ceiling,

and

wood

tiny, slit

boards, a structural

windows

wooden

for protection

and

because there was no glass available to keep out the


weather.
its

The

hall

might have

a hearth for a fire at

center with a smoke-hole in the roof.

fireplace

and make them

less

cold

forbidding. Tapestries developed as an art


that provided portable wall covering along

with

decoration.

The main

and

fire

burning

torches placed on stands or in wall brackets were


the light sources at night.
In England there are a
intact halls dating
hall

the family.

to cover bare walls

form

flirni-

and other possessions of value were portable so

and Romanesque

Hedingham

of

Essex

is

two

overlooking

number of

from around
Castle

(fig. 3.19;

stories high with doors,

balconies

topped

(Romanesque semicircular)

arches.

stone arch across the center of the


the ends of the

head.

An

is

c.

an

with

The

1140) in

windows, and

with

Norman

There

is

room

wooden beams of

arched fireplace

castles

100 or 1200.

a great

to support

the roof over-

indication

of

unusual luxury.
3.19 Hedingham
Castle, Essex, England,

c 1140.
The hall of this English
castle

has a great

central stone arch to

support the wooden


timbers that carry the

smaller

beams of the

roof construction. The


semicircular arches
identify the construction as

Norman

(Romanesque), while

ornament

is

limited to

simple moldings at the


spring of the arches

An

arched fireplace
connects to a flue
within the wall leading
to

a chimney. The

ture

and small

furni-

objects

here are not original,

but most are of a sort


that might have been

present during the

Middle Ages.

47

'

Chapter Three

Monasteries and Abbeys


While the

provided protection to make a

castle

whose lives were


Middle Ages devel-

settled life possible for knights

oriented toward warfare, the

oped another

institution

to provide a different

means of protection to those inclined toward religion, learning, and the arts. This was the institution
of monasticism,

development of

the

renowned

for his ascetic

and

austerity of his rule, as his

The protection came

soon became evident that his strict notions of


monastic discipline did not suit them, for all that
rock-hewn cells; and in order to get rid
went so far as to mingle poison in his
wine. When, as was his wont, he made the sign of
they lived

in

of him they

of poverty that meant the

the cross over the jug,

it

stone had fallen upon

it.

from the respect granted

to those

ways and the


community of monks

hermit-like

first

It

absence of treasure that might tempt attack, and

location,

rule of

atVicovaro witnessed:

not from defensive structure, but from remote


the vows

The great Abbey at Cluny was modeled on the


St. Benedict. The saint, who died in 547, was

religious

communities whose members gave up the life of


the secular world in exchange for the protected
isolation of the monastery.

The Abbey at Cluny

who devoted

broke

pieces as

in

if

"Cod forgive you,

brothers," the abbot said without anger, "Why have


you plotted this wicked thing against me? Did not
tell you that my customs would not accord with
yours? Go and find an abbot to your taste."
I

themselves to good works and religious pursuits.

The

monastic

Cluniac,

and

built

Benedictine,
gathered member

orders

and others

monks

monasteries that included a church,

housing, and

all

the services needed to

closed, self-sustaining
in France, the
(fig.

Cistercian,

community.

monastery of

3.22; 1007-26)

is still

S.

make

In the Pyrenees

Martin du Canigou

today a small cluster of

Benedictine communities

became renowned

for their

Abbey
was the most famous example in terms of
architecture and music. The security and beauty of life
simple

life,

devotion to prayer, and music. The

at Cluny

there attracted

reforming

St.

many

rich

benefactors, prompting the

Bernard to thunder

and grandeur found

richness

in

1115 against the

in

the abbey, which,

buildings built in a virtually inaccessible location

high in the mountains. The church


structure with nave

and

is

a basilican

the soul's devotion. However,

side aisles roofed in stone

with simple barrel vaults. The outward thrust of


the nave vault
aisles

whose

is

while they attract the eye of the worshipper, hinder

restrained

by the

vaults of the

vaults are in turn buttressed

by thick

suppose

it is

done, as

Cod. But as a monk,

we

let

that pass;

we

are told, for the glory of

say, Tell me,

ye professor of

what does gold do in a holy place ... by


the sight of wonderful and costly vanities, men are
prompted to give rather than to pray
poverty,

3.20 Monastery

of

S.

Martin du Canigou,
France,

1007-26.

Discourses of St Gregory, quoted


1

quoted

Abbeys and

The monastery's church


p,

in

Olive Cook, English

Lives

in Butler,

Herbert Thurston SJ (London,

956),

p.

552;

2. St.

of the Saints, ed.


Bernard, Apologia,

Priories (London,

960),

67

has a barrel-vaulted
interior,

resting

with the vault

on walls that

are, in turn,

supported

by a simple arcade of
arches resting on

Only

walls.

leading

to

tiny
a

windows penetrate

the thick walls

dark interior. The columns that

simple columns, the

support arches opening between nave and

capitals of which are

simple drums with capitals that carry a slight

only a faint
their

shadow of

suggestion of the

l^oman prototypes.

Roman

aisles are

Corinthian type. The

Tiny

adjacent Cloister with arcaded passages around

distant apse

an open central court, an important element of the

windows at the
end and in
side walls admit limited
light,
is

and

that of the natural

stone.

monastery plan, led to the dormitory, refectory

the only color

(dining hall), and other

rooms serving the various

functions of the community.

The

Cistercian

3.21), Senanque,

France around
with

aisles

abbeys of Le Thoronet

and Silvacane,

built in

(fig.

southern

130, have austere vaulted churches

and projecting transepts generating a

cross-shaped plan with obvious symbolic significance.

48

A barrel vault covers the nave and half barrel

Early Christian, Byzantine,

no

glass for

windows,

interiors

were generally dark

some masonry material used for


and cooking. The house was often a barn

with a fireplace of

both heat

as well as a residence, with people

sharing a

common

Where

tion.

walls

field

and animals

space or with minimal separa-

stone was readily available, house

were often of stone with roofing of wood

poles carrying thatch (bundled straw). Such houses


survive,
in

some

in use, in

still

remote rural locations

Europe.

As

towns

developed,

farm

families

often

up a house on the land in


exchange for one in town where a town wall and
gates offered protection and where a church and
preferred

give

to

market square provided centers for communal

vaults the side aisles.

nave vault

is

resisted

which

aisles

thrust

is

act

as

The outward

thrust of the

by the half barrel vaults of the


continuous buttresses; their

absorbed by massive masonry side

walls.

Only tiny windows were possible, except in the end


wall where larger vWndows could be placed. There
was

originally

no furniture

in the

church except for

rial,

upper

floors of houses often projected out over

two on

required by the

monastic plan. The church had

typical Cistercian

only a small door at one side of the front, indicating


access

its

closure to the outside world: primary

was from the adjacent cloister and by a stair


from the dormitory to be used by

that led directly

the

monks coming

Surviving examples are those built with stone walls;

wooden

floor

and roof structure has generally

A number

30,

in

room in
which each window

barrel-vaulted

corresponded

to the

area allotted to one

monk, whose bed

would have been


surrounded by a screen
of wood and

cloth.

floor tiles are

banded

define each

metal

cell.

The
to

The

tie-rods are

modern attempt

to

brace the ancient stone


structure.

3.22 Farmhouse,
preserved

twelfth century are

good examples

(fig. 3.23).

houses are built with shared side walls

houses) and

fill

in the

their lots completely.

The

(Row
small

courtyard near the rear gives some light and ventilation to the back

room. The ground-floor front

in

the

Norsk Folkmuseum.
7776 kitchen was the
most important room of
the farmhouse The

natural

of houses in the French city of Cluny built

room can be opened

in to nightly services.

Stone vaulting was used to roof the other prin-

c.

The dormitory was

now

Simple house types emerged within the towns.

been replaced with periodic rebuilding.

five

of Le Thoronet,

France,

Fmland, Middle Ages;

center apse and in the secondary apses

making up the

Dormitory,

Abbey

life.

the street to gain extra interior space.

the

side,

3.21

The house in town might consist of several levels of


rooms wdth wooden floors and stairs of stone or
wood. Such houses were crowded together along
narrow streets since space within the town wall was
at a premium. When wood was the building mate-

stone benches at the sides and stone altars in the

each

and Romanesque

the

wood used for


and

floor, walls,

roof establishes a color


tonality interrupted

only by the white


plaster of the fireplace

and

the black iron of

wood stove. A
bench and the hanging
the

was usually a

cradle are the only

shop, a workshop, or a storage space rather than a

pieces of furniture.

to the street;

it

rooms and the passages surrounding the


The carefully cut and fitted stonework is
of great beauty although there is almost no decoracipal

cloisters.

tion.

In the

communal dormitory,

would have had

each

monk

a curtained area for his bed, but

the design of such elements can only be studied in

painted illustrations that appear in

some

illumi-

nated manuscripts of the time.

Houses
Serfs

working the land

box-like houses of one


roof.

Few examples

countries where

lived in a simple,

room topped with

wooden
a gable

survive. In the Scandinavian

wood was

often tarred according

to the practice of shipbuilders, there are

examples

of simple farm buildings of the sort that must have

been

common

in the

Middle Ages

(fig. 3.22).

With
49

Chapter Three

3.23

Viollet-le-Duc,

rrf^frrrtferrfrri^^.

wooden tub

engraving from The

with

Habitations of Man in
all

modern

Ages, 1875,

a house

sense was

it

filled

unknown.

In castles there were

in the thickness of walls

with the waste simply discharging through

latrines,

would have

openings or chutes into the moat or adjacent

was
the home and shop of a
bourgeois merchant or
looked c 1200.

might be

or projecting out from the walls that served as

in

the French city of Cluny

shown as

a half barrel

water for washing. Plumbing in the

sometimes small chambers

reconstruction of the

exterior of

simply

warm

It

stream or gutter.

craftsman who lived


with his family above

Furniture

and Other

Interior

the place of business.

Furnishings
Our evidence

for early medieval interiors

comes

mainly from illuminated manuscripts and books.

With few possessions to store, storage furniture


was slow to develop. The chest, generally a simple
lift-top box, was a place to hold folded articles of
clothing. In churches, chests held precious relics
living space.

upper

level

narrow

stair at

one

side leads to

with one large, all-purpose living room.

Behind the courtyard, smaller spaces served

kitchen and bedroom.

third level above

used by children, servants, or

attic

or

and

for storage.

loft

an

as

was an

workmen
was the

well in the courtyard

source of water.
Inside, the

house

town was no

in

different

from

when wood was used


heavy wood frame with

the farm cottage except that,


for multistoried building, a

diagonal bracing was visible inside as well

The

outside.

look

familiar

and stored ritual accouterments that were often of


gold and jeweled. Carved surface ornamentation
was added to these objects and, at their most elaborate, surface treatment with gold and jewels might

make

the chest as valuable as the materials

dard feature of every church as a

as

Half-timber

of

wood
wood members

construction results from a frame of heavy

members with

infilling

between the

of plaster and rubble. The luxury of a wood-lined


or

plastered

interior

unknown

was

in

early

medieval times. Water came from dug wells or

Waste water and


making town sanitation
dangerously inadequate. Life expectancy was short
fountains

used communally.

sewage ran

in

(averaging as

open

gutters,

as

little

twenty-nine years), with

epidemics and plagues commonplace.


Bathing, where
a

communal bath

as

it

house, a luxury that disappeared

Roman customs were

3.24 The
statue,

occurred, might take place in

forgotten, but that was

Foy,

reliquary

Church of

S.

Conques, France,

983-1013.
Jhe carved wooden
statue of the saint

reintroduced

into

Europe

at

time

the

of the

Crusades when word of Islamic bath methods was

brought back by returning crusaders. Bath houses

were often places for

social gathering

and tended

to

be viewed dimly by church authorities because of

and possible (often


sexual freedom. Private bathing was occa-

their association with nudity

actual)

sionally introduced into aristocratic

50

homes where

it

The richly ornamental Reliquary at


S. Foy in Conques (fig. 3.24) is a well-preserved
example of this type. A simple box chest was a stancontained.

seated

in

a chair

is

encrusted with gold

and jewels.

It is a
symbol of the venera-

tion felt

by those who

visited this church,

which was sited on the


pilgrimage route to

Santiago de Compostela.

(See also p. 44.)

money

collection

Early Christian, Byzantine,

u:iv.vfft'n

For the powerful feudal family that

container.

moved from one


as

and Romanesque

castle to another, the chest served

baggage as well as storage equipment. The devel-

opment of

and corner reinforce-

hinges,

locks,

ments of iron gradually advanced

making

chests secure in a time

as

when

means of
no

there were

banks with vaults to hold coin and other valuables.


Chests might be placed beside or

bed or up against

at the foot

of a

wall and, possibly with

cushion on top, they became useful for seating as


an alternative to the stool or bench. Chests were

room

sometimes lined up along the walls of

form an all-purpose storage and seating

facility.

Early chair designs were often

modification of chest construction.

made

a size that

to

the result of

A box

chest of

one person could be

a seat for

modified by the addition of a upward extension to

form

a back,

and possible other extensions

form

to

arms, to create a rather massive chair of the sort


that could serve as a throne.

chair was primarily a

symbolic object, a throne used by royalty, bishops,

and perhaps by the lord of


existed as status

Even

a castle.

emblems denoting

3.25 (above)

stools

Wnothesley

the importance

manuscript,

of the user.

manuscript

illustration

showing the

meeting of the English Parliament under Edward

shows the king seated on the only


rate

throne

(fig.

His

3.25).

King Edward

is

seated

on a throne between

of

rulers

1250,

Windsor Castle)

chair, his elabo-

vassals,

c.

(Royal Collection,

the kings of Scotland

Scotland and Wales, are seated on a bench which

covered with an embroidered

textile.

is

and

Judges are

It

woolsacks

can be assumed that the walls of

bright

colors

many

pictures of interiors, they appear in


covers, in wall hangings,

Windows were

most important scene


of power.

3.26

and

of undyed

bench or table

and stone

while,

textiles,

walls,

the colors of unpainted

and the

wood

earth, stones, or tiles of

to Isabel of

Bavaria,

c,

1300,

and

of neutrals, relieved by the occasional bright dyed


colors of clothing. Artificial lighting was generally

provide some limited space division, and probably

confined to the candles used in churches and in the

were simply panels of

dwellings of the rich. Candles were usually of

with

some

drapery,

cloth with cloth loops or metal rings to permit

tallow;

hanging from rods in the manner of the modern

luxury.

shower curtain. Even these limited luxuries were

in a

those

Lamps were simply wicks of cord

bowl of

common

make do with bare waUs, peg-legged

whatever

benches, boards on trestles as tables, slabs of bread

and earthenware mugs or crocks for


drinking and storing liquids. The greys and browns

made from beeswax were

a great

hair arrangements

of the ladies seem


appropriate
with

Its

fish

or vegetable

oil.

floating

In the houses of

people, light was generally daylight or

light might come from an open fire.


Water came from a jug, pitcher, or bucket filled at a
well and poured into a basin for washing or into a
cook pot as needed.

to the

room

embroidered

wall hangings, the rich

red of the bed


coverings,

Common

probably only available to aristocrats.

for plates,

poems

The elaborate costume

but

people had to

of Pisan presenting her

bare floors established the most usual color range

treated

to control drafts. Curtains

Manuscript

in curtains (fig. 3.26).

privacy to beds, to

not

curtains were used to give

(left)

illustration of Christine

in

apparel

for

is

typical of even this

dyes developed. Clear,

were used

in the center.

The minimal furniture

chamber were of bare stone; the floor, however,


is shown as paved with diamond-shaped slabs or
tiles of alternate white and bright green.
Color came most often from textiles as the
produce

others form

judges are seated on

the

ability to

and

a parliament, while

on sacks of wool, four to a large sack, while


bishops and barons sit on long bare benches
seated

without backs.

Wales. Churchmen,

barons,

colorfully

and

and seat
the

painted

ceiling structure over-

head.

chair can be

seen between the bed

and

the open shutters

of the window.

A woven

rug with abstract


pattern covers the

floor.

51

Chapter Three

3.27 Great Mosque,


Cordoba, Spam,

Europe,

Islamic Influence

survived

it

Spain,

in

with

coexisting

Christian and Jewish culture until the time of the

785-987.

and finally leading


from Spain of both Muslims and

Inquisition, established in 1233,


In the extensive hall

While the Crusades (1095-1144) brought some


awareness of Near Eastern culture into central

to the expulsion

Europe, another connection developed as a result

Spanish work exhibits a parallel coexistence of two

column capitals are

of the earlier spread of Islamic religion and related

traditions: the

decorated with carvings

customs across northern Africa and eventually,

from

through military invasion, along the north edge of

"Moorish" work coming from the

regularly spaced

columns support arches


with contrasting white

and

red voussoirs. The

of abstract forms, and


these

and

the pattern

of the repeating striped

the Mediterranean into

arches, with their

Cordoba

suggestion of infinite
distance, are the only

decorative elements.

in

Italy,

France, and Spain.

Romanesque

southern

direction emanating

and

France

Islamic

the

or

east via northern

Africa.

Spain grew to become the largest

medieval city with a population of some 600,000.

Although

Jews in 1492. In architecture and design, medieval

this Islamic influence

and eventually

largely

The Mosque

was driven back

obliterated

in

most of

The

by the Islamic

special building type developed

religion

is,

A mosque

of course, the Mosque.

synagogues that serve other religions.


for

communal

is

from the temples, churches, and

quite different

a place

It is

prayer, not the "house of God," not

an auditorium where

are

rituals

watched by a

churches

Byzantine

congregation.

were

often

converted to mosques as the Islamic faith came to

dominate previously Christian


Middle

territory

the

in

East.

Hagia Sophia,

open space without a

as a vast

strong orientation to an

served quite well as a

altar,

mosque, although monumental open space was


not a usual characteristic of a mosque. Instead, a
large space

was most often developed by arranging

rows of columns placed close together to support a

Columned

roof structure.

around or adjacent

to

were arranged

halls

open courts where

tain or pool

provided for

the kind of

mosque

a foun-

This

ritual cleansing.

that

was

is

built in Spain at

Cordoba (beginning in 785 with additions from


848 to 987). Here a large prayer hall makes use of
long rows of columns (a total of 860) supporting
arches of a characteristic horseshoe shape (a semi-

downward

circular arch with a


sides); these

support an upper

turn support the

flat

roof of

tier

extension at

its

of arches that in

wood

(fig. 3.27).

The

arches are striped with alternate voussoirs of red


brick

and grey-white

stone,

making

their

forms

appear very striking in seemingly endless receding


repetition.

Domes

from

built

a lattice of inter-

Maksura (a special
leader) and Mihrab (a

secting arches cover the square

area for the prayers of a

niche facing toward Mecca).


In Islamic design, arches are often built in a

form

that continues the curve of the arch

and beyond the


as

semicircle, continuing to as

60 or 65 percent of a

buildings that are

52

now

full circle.

Many

churches such as

S.

below

much

Spanish

Maria

la

Early Christian, Byzantine,

Moorish Elements

3.28 Court

Spanish

in

and Romanesque

Lions,

Romanesque

of the

Alhambra,

Granada, Spain,

1354-91,
The palace courtyard

Romanesque work
building in

in Spain closely parallels similar

France.

The monasteries of Santas

Creus ( 1157) and Poblet

(fig. 3.29;

twelfth century)

follow the typical Cistercian practices of southern

France in planning and in

At Poblet the

detail.

barrel vaults of the refectory

and the arches

that

span the dormitory to support a wooden roof

in

which the arches are

almost

lost in the elabo-

rate filigree of abstract


can/lng. The Court of

the Lions

is

named

after the basin at the


center,

and

of

the

thirteenth

century)

are

slightly

pointed, raising a question as to whether this might


reflect

simply
tice
S.

an awareness of Moorish practice or


a hint

of the

move toward

of the later Middle Ages. In the church of

Isidoro at Leon, although concept

generally typical of French


is

is

the Gothic prac-

and

Romanesque

detail are

design,

and
and
sound and

this,

other fountains

pools create

(both

is

surrounded by arcades

movement Plaster ornament and colorful tiles


(visible

right

at the lower

and

left

of the

illustration) carry

onward

the sense of

complex fantasy.

it

possible to note aisle arcade arches that create

horseshoe forms and, where the barrel-vaulted


transepts join the barrel-vaulted nave, arches that

have cusped, scalloped edging

Moorish
strong

practice. In such details

abstractly

patterned

strong hint of

and

in its use of

ornament,

Spanish

design reflects this special influence extending even


into the

Blanca in Toledo (built

have

synagogue)

ARCHES.

An

in the twelfth

arcades

of

such

century as a

Moorish

aspect of Islamic belief that has had a

strong impact on design

of the second

is

the strict interpretation

commandment

of Moses which

is

taken to forbid any representation of natural plant,


animal, or

human

form. With these sources of

imagery forbidden. Islamic designers were led to


develop abstract, geometric pattern and to make
use of the calligraphy of Arabic writing as a basis

much

later

work of the Gothic

era.

3.29 Poblet
monastery, near

Tarragona, Catalonia,
Spain, twelfth century.

The dormitory of this


Cistercian monastery

(founded
slightly

in

157) has

pointed arches

supporting a wooden
roof Screens of

wood

would have separated


the areas occupied by
the beds of each monk.

for decorative design. Patterns developed in carved

stone, in plaster,
tile

and through the use of decorative


and rich, with

are often extremely elaborate

and white extensively used

blue, green, gold,

way

that offsets

late

date

in a

any sense of austerity. Although

makes

it

contemporary with the

its

later

medieval Gothic architecture of Europe, the palace


of the Alhambra
a rich display of

development
courtyards,

surfaces
slightly

many

with fountains and pools that

decorated and colorful wall


and arches of horseshoe, Moorish, and

the

reflect

in

Granada (fig. 3.28; 1354-91) is


Moorish design at the end of its
Spain. Arcades surround open

at

richly

pointed shapes.

53

The Later Middle Ages

From

c.

1250 onward, as feudalism became more

and

established

all

aspects of

woodwork, metalwork, and

of building,

crafts

weaving produced

improved, the

life

greater variety of objects.

Knowledge of design, of interior spaces in particular, was greatly enhanced by the increasing use of
pictorial

produced by
(fig.

in

illustration
artist

manuscript

monks and

court illustrators

These books provide an

4.1).

books

important

source of visual data for the historian.

came

who were supposed

Within the

stone

and

gates,

wood

stalls,

castles,

drals

knights in armor on horseback, great cathe-

with

gargoyles

their

all

stained

these

glass,

make up our

buttresses,

and

picture of Europe

on

grilles

was

sculpture applied to
closely

the

stone

by the wood

paralleled

and the

stalls

in

The carved ornamental and

provided for the

seats

Candelabra, liturgical paraphernalia, and

altars

made

Gothic

metal

and pulpits were developed

thrones,

representational

and elaborately defended

fittings,

carved stone screens, altars and tombs,

the later Middle Ages.

clergy.

of the

structure

church, increasingly complex

vestments of embroidered
cities, large

like

to be

generations.

carving of choir

Great walled

lacking in the taste and elegance of succeeding

structure

Elements of Gothic Style

and barbaric

to be regarded as crude

that of the Visigoths

and

lecterns

which were used

church richly elaborate and

Gothic

the

textiles

were movable elements that

colorful. Paintings that illustrated religious subject

matter were often placed

at the

back of

altars

in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, the era char-

both the High altar

4.1 [below] Limbourg

acterized as "Gothic" in recognition of the impor-

altars in side

brothers, a plate from

tance of the kind of architecture that has been

arranged in the form of a Triptych with a center

name. The term "Gothic" was

panel painting and two painted hinged wing panels

Les Tres Riches Heures

du Due de Berry,
1413-16. Musee

came into use in postmedieval times when the work of the Middle Ages
of

In this illustration

month of January,

the duke

is seated at a
banquet with his back
to a great fireplace. The

table

IS

stylistic

originally pejorative:

Conde, Chantilly.

the

given that

of boards, set

on moveable supports.

it

and other
chapels. Altar paintings were often
in the chancel

shaped to fit over the center panel when


The outside of these door-like panels might

closed.
also be

painted or carved, usually in quiet colors so that

when opened

the triptych would,

service, present a brilliant display

was often

at the

also present in painted pattern

and on the under surfaces of

time of a

of color. Color

on walls

vaulting. Surviving

The colorful decoration

examples of such interior treatment have often

on the chimney breast

been restored and reworked

and

ceiling

suggest a

space of great

in

more

recent times,

or covered over or removed to leave the stone in

its

luxury.

natural color.
4.2 {opposite) Abbey
of

France,

35-44

This photograph, taken


in the

ambulatory at

the left of the choir,

looks across to the far


side

toward the pointed

Gothic arches of the

lower arcade, the

The most important elements of color came


stained glass. The term is somewhat
misleading since glass was not made clear and then
from

Denis, Pans,

S.

stained, but

made with

integral color

through the

addition of various colorants melted into the glass


as

it

was made. Glass was blown or cast in small


no techniques for making large sheets

pieces since

were

available.

trifo-

To make

larger

windows, small

were joined with lead

of H-

rium above, and the

pieces of glass

clerestory with

shaped cross section. This way of making up large

its

great

windows of stained
glass Nine chapels
radiate from the

ambu-

latory to form the

windows

end) of

nantly,

along

cathedral plan. The

what

light

greens

were

colors

with

and images.

and blues predomiamber yellows and some


reds

assembled

images of saints and

the French Gothic

emphasis on

clear

chevet end (apsidal


liturgical east

invited the use of patterns

Strong,

strips

to

make up

pictorial

biblical figures illustrating reli-

gious legends and stories. These served the church

is

chiefly distin-

as

an important teaching device, a kind of "visual

when

making up churchly

guishes Gothic from

aid" at a time

Romanesque

congregations lacked the ability to read and had no

54

building.

the public

i.'

WrR

Chapter Four

4.3

(right)

fragment

from a destroyed choir


screen, Chartres

Cathedral, France,
c.

220.

Realistic

images of

animals, birds,

even a giant

and

snail,

together with scenes of

everyday events are


displayed within the
decorative rondels that

act as framing

stated

elements. These carv-

the

ings faced inward to


the cathedral choir

where they would be


seen only by the monks

and

clergy.

4.4 {top nght)


Development of

rial.

To lay out an arch with

Wand

drawn as
shown. A and B are
connected and a
height

are

perpendicular from the


mid-point

drawn
base

ofAB

is

to reach the

line

at

as a center,

Coming

of brilliantly colored stained glass


experience.

The Gothic

moving
it must

era developed

its

can be
to

Gothic pointed arch.

{right}\Ne\\s

Cathedral, Somerset,

England,

1175-1240.
"strainer

arches" pointing down-

own vocabulary of

England that point downward toward


Whatever the expressive impact of Gothic

(fig. 4.5) in

form may be to modern viewers, its development


seems actually to have been the result of efforts to

dentils,

Greek key, egg and

dart,

and similar forms

with newer motifs that often drew on nature as a


basis (fig. 4.3). Leaf

ward were added at the

forms such

cluster)

cluster

of

and
four

as the

the

Trefoil

Quatrefoil

(a

with

joined

leaves)

(a

Crockets (projecting leaf-shaped ornaments) to


form a new style. Sculptural elements illustrating
religious themes with images of saints and martyrs
together with Grotesques and Gargoyles that
might amuse or frighten served both a decorative
and

a didactic role. Stained glass

was subdivided

with flowing bands of stone to form Tracery.

crossing to aid bracing

Such elements were introduced with increasing

and

freedom unrelated to any systematic

the distribution of

rules such as

load below the crossing

those attached to classical ornament.

New

Construction Techniques

The arch and


era,

the

related vault remained, in the Gothic

most

advanced

technical

building lasting structures. Ancient

devices

for

Roman and

medieval Romanesque work depended on arches

and

vaults

for

lasting

Romanesque work,

construction

and,

in

the semicircular arch was occa-

sionally modified to have a slightly pointed shape,

but the pointed arch only came into

ment and wide use


56

even the astonishing example of the great Gothic

"strainer" arches at the crossing of Wells Cathedral

of the classical orders and the ornamental detail of

forms the profile of a

tower

is

the floor.

similar

1330s

is still

the medieval church-goer

its symbolism
its
upward pointing that may lead the eyes and so the
thoughts upward to the heavenly concerns of religion. However, pointed arches (fig. 4.4) came into
use in many ways that have no religious implications. They appear in such mundane structures as
castles, town gates, and fortifications, in town halls
and other secular buildings, and in the details of
furniture and decorative objects of every sort. There

decorative detail, replacing the abstract vocabulary

three-leafed

c.

To

have been deeply impressive and persuasive.

draw a curve passing


through A and B. This

In the

mate-

that the significance of

With C

C.

AC

used as radius R

4.5

pictorial

into a dark church interior with walls

and

the desired width


height, width

books or other

access to illustrated

pointed arch.

and widely thought

pointed arch related to

its

fuU develop-

after the year 1150.

It is

often

solve a technical

problem

in the structural design of

churches, particularly the great cathedrals.


In

Romanesque
made

barrel vaults

practice,
it

the use of simple

difficult

or impossible to

The

introduce windows large enough to light the inte-

Groin vaults made possible

rior space satisfactorily.

square was desired to match the bays of

problem became worse,

vaulted bays open on four sides, so that the front

and back, those of the

and back openings

nals of the

to adjacent bays created the

The solution

lengthwise space of a church nave while the openings to the side could be used for the high

of a clerestory. This
aisles at either side

either be

one problem: the vaulted

left

below the clerestory

must

level

topped with square vaults matching those

of the nave, making the


difficult

windows

and

aisles

too wide (and as

costly to construct as the nave

itself),

bay were

all

aisles,

the

and those of the diago-

sides,

of different heights.

to the

problem was

to build the

diagonals as semicircular arches and to invent

would be of
same height. A strictly geometric
problem would have used half

arches for front, back, and sides that


span, but the

less

solution to this

arches for the four surrounding spans, but

elliptical

ellipses are geometrically

complex forms, not parts


drawn with a

of a

match aisle vaults half the width of those of the


nave. The latter approach was taken in a number of

compass. The medieval architect and medieval

Ambrogio in Milan or the


cathedrals of Mainz and Worms in Germany.
Another problem arises from the fact that a square

the forms of elliptical arches.

groin

vault,

front, back,

S.

if built with semicircular arches

and

diagonals

that

surrounding arches. The

seem

flattened

stone

was

so that they cannot be

mason were not prepared to lay out and cut


The Gothic solution

to turn to an arch that could be of

any height

any width which could also be

in relation to

laid

out with a compass.

or will have

elliptical,

than

higher

rise

circle,

have diagonals

sides, will either

that are not semicircular but

at

Ages

as the arches of the front

or each bay must be split in two at the sides to

buildings such as

Later Middle

four

the

makes the groins


while the second makes each vault a
first

case

kind of dome-like unit that breaks the nave of a

church into separate compartments that work


against

its

unified spatial sense.

The problem became more acute when

the tech-

nique of building vaults with ribs developed. Earlier


vaults

had been

built

on wood centering that filled


As vaults grew
above higher spaces, it became

the space that they were to cover.

and were built


desirable to minimize the need
larger

wood support

for these

structures. This

bounded

building the arches that

temporary

was done by
the vault

first

and the

diagonals at the groin lines with centering, and then

using these "rib" arches


limited
infilling

wood

scaffold

between the

needed

support for the

to

support

the

The diagonal ribs became


out and construct as half

ribs.

either difficult to lay


ellipses,

(fig. 4.6) as

or they rose higher than the surrounding

arches. If a vault that

was rectangular rather than

The

resulting arch will be pointed

mise that approaches the


to lay out

Ribs

to construct.

Once

desired shape of bay

ribs ore

semicircular The arches

and back are


semicircular and do

at front
also

comprois

easier

square,

sides,

this

approach

all

four

height,

permitting a high ridge to run the length of a


in a straight,

uninterrupted line that

unifies the resulting space in a visually effective

way. The diagonal groin lines can also be

pointed arches. The pointed arch

Derivation of a Gothic

is

rectangular, or even

and both diagonals can be of the same

church nave

4.7, 4.8 and 4.9

vault

trapezoidal (figs. 4.7-4.9). All of the arches,

itself

made

has

its

usefiil

base and semicircular


arches. The diagonal

arches

rise

higher than

the arches on the four


sides. In order to

use

the height determined

by the diagonal arches


for the arches on the

into

four sides, pointed

arches are laid out with

rapidly replaced semicircular arches, not only for

might be

The first diagram shows


a vault with a square

own

and symbolic appeal: pointed arches

vaulting, but wherever arches


The diagonal

but that

adopted, a vault can be designed to cover any

aesthetic
4.6 Construction of
nbbed vault.

and

ellipse,

for

door and window openings, for example, and even


in decorative details where no structural issues

required height

and

depth. This forms

Gothic vault, as shown


in the

second diagram.

To construct a vault
with a rectangular
base, as

shown

in the

third diagram, pointed

arches for the four sides

the center of the vault

were involved.
The remaining issue involved the provision of

The arches at each side

buttressing to counter the outward thrust gener-

any required width and

ated by vault construction. !n the lengthwise direc-

with heights equal to

not

rise to

the height of

are pointed

and

so

permit a narrower span


to

fit

the rectangular

plan of the bay.

tion of a church building, the thrust of each vault

was countered by

its

can be laid out with

the height of the diag-

onal arches

neighboring vault, but the

57

Chapter Four

4.10 Cathedral

of

S^

Etienne, Bourges,

France,

1195-1275.

sideways, outward thrust required a structure that

would

rise

above side

aisles

and not block the

light

reaching the clerestory windows. Solid masonry

The Gothic groin


vaulting has external,

buttresses were possible, but their mass, resting

or flying, buttresses,

down on

which make
to

it

possible

have the large


windows

clerestory

in

the upper walls. The

nave arcade
high,

is

Flying buttress, such a striking element of the

very

bnnging openness

into a system of double


aisles.

the arches of aisle vaults, was not desir-

The use of open half-arch buttresses in one or


more tiers solved the problem and generated the

able.

of the medieval cathedral. Inside,

exterior

clerestory

any weight or thrust,

windows

We

the

no longer carrying
could be opened up for

and the lower

walls,

to be filled with stained glass.

have

little

information about the architects

of the Middle Ages because they lived and worked


in a era

person

when
had

the role of the individual creative

not

come

be

to

recognized

and

recorded. Major medieval buildings were carefully

planned and their construction and decoration was


directed by experts who would now be called
skilled

when

professionals. This was

still,

however, a time

and specifications were not


used, and when written communication was quite
minimal. There were no manuals or handbooks
documenting design and engineering techniques.
The medieval architect worked on the basis of trial
and error, aided by accumulated experience, ruleof-thumb practice, and intuition.
detailed drawings

Medieval guilds provided training to the master

masons who might become expert


art of stereotomy, the

in the esoteric

technique of developing the

geometry that governs stone cutting so that many


individual stones could

fit

together to form the

complex shapes of ribs and vaults. Some interesting


studies have recently been undertaken, using
modern techniques of structural analysis, in which
cross-sectional

cathedrals

models of several of the best-known

have been subjected to

stresses

that

simulate those of gravity and wind forces of the sort

It

can be shovm that one Gothic building after

makes

another

of

use

theoretical

geometric

concepts in a way that parallels ancient Egyptian


practice. Superimposed circles, squares,
and octagons underlie the layout of many floor

and Greek

plans. Similarly, geometric figures can be devel-

oped to

fit

cross-sections

that aesthetic controls

and elevations, suggesting


were established through

sophisticated knowledge of theoretical systems of

proportion. The west front of Notre

can be

fitted to a grid

high, with

proportion
laid

the

on the

falling

(fig.

of squares,

Dame

six

in Paris

wide by nine

main subdivisions of its design


grid lines. The golden section
4.11) shows up time after time,

out with the aid of a simple geometric exercise

that could easily be developed with cord

and pegs

as the only instruments required.

The simple 3-4-5

right triangle

was used to

to

and as a basis for


geometric modular planning. The south tower of
Chartres has been shown to fit a 1:6 ratio of width

the ground through vaults, columns, and buttresses

to height, a ratio that corresponds to the vibration

that

would be applied

to the buildings in violent

storms. Findings suggest that the engineering was in


general surprisingly good, carrying loads

that

were

logically

and techniques

Some

down

sound and, within the materials

available, quite economical.

example, was not as masterful in


design as Bourges

(fig. 4.10;

establish

rates

true right angle

of the notes of the harmonious musical

interval

cathedrals were, however, better engi-

neered than others. Chartres (begun

of a

sixth.

4.11 Construction of a
golden section.

c.

its

1145), for
structural

1195-1275) where,

with only vestigial transepts, double

aisles

are

wrapped around the whole building with a double


system of light buttresses that do their work with
minimal material and great visual clarity.

58

Analysis of built structures demonstrates that

design was not a casual or improvisational matter.

A golden

ratio

is

derived

by laying out a square,


drawing a line from the
center of the base to

an

upper angle, and


swinging an arc with
that line as radius. AB:

AC IS

a golden

ratio.

The Later Middle Ages

Gothic Cathedrals and Churches

stone ribs with the space between


glass, so that the interior

the brilliant light

Although

it is

actually great variety. Albi in

is

France (1202-1390), for example,


aisles,

contained

and color of the windows.

possible to describe a "typical" Gothic

cathedral, there

has no

with stained

filled

seems entirely bounded by

the

high

outer

walls

of the

building. Gothic churches of less than cathedral


scale also vary widely.

France

built of brick,

wide nave, and buttressing

a very

inside

is

The church of the Jacobins

at

The Gothic

cathedrals of France are both most fully

and most dramatically


The Gothic way of building
gradual process of change. The

representative of the type


successful in design.

went through

Toulouse (1260-1304) has a simple single space

terms used to describe the development of French

topped by two

lines of vaults supported by a row of


columns on the center line of the building,
which generates a most surprising and dramatic

Gothic work

tall

interior.

The famous small church,

actually built as

a royal chapel, of S. Chapelle (fig. 4.12; 1242-8) has


a low, ground-level

The supporting

nave with a

tall

church above.

structure has been reduced to thin

Early and

are:

High Gothic: These terms

refer to the

development of the building technique using


pointed arches and vaults that took place from
about

1150 to

1250. Cathedrals built over a

period of several centuries, such as Chartres,


often

include both

elements and High

early

4.12
Pans,

S.
1

Chapelle,

242-8.

The small royal chapel

was

built to

revered

house a
There

relic.

is

lower chapel as well as


the upper chapel,

shown

here.

The walls

were reduced

to the

thinnest possible piers

so that the spaces

between could be

filled

with stained glass. The


result is an interior that
seems made of light

and

color.

The surfaces

of the vaulting above


are painted in blue

and

gold.

59

Chapter Four

4.13

(ng^f) Cathedral

of Notre

Dame,

Amiens, France,

c 1220-88.
The

completed

tallest

French cathedral, this


in

many ways

the

is

most

perfect example of its


type.

The grey stone of

the structure

relieved

is

by patterns of marble
flooring and by the
color of the stained

The great height

glass.

of the nave

(140
to

and

choir

feet) contributes

a sense of over-

whelming

4.14

intensity.

(far right)

Church of

S.

Maclou,

Rouen, France,
c.

1436-1520.

The church

is

late

Gothic example of the


style

known as

Flamboyant The
flame-like forms of the
tracery,
style's

from which the

name

are visible

in

is

is

Many

French cathedrals

the

windows at the
of the

Gothic elements.

derived,

far

choir. This

Chartres, Bourges,

end

church

istically

not as large as the

great cathedrals, but

it

most elaborate of Flamboyant


displays the

detail, especially in the

west porch.

of the most admired of

Amiens

4.13),

(fig.

and Beauvais

Laon,

are character-

High Gothic examples.

French
S.

are

cathedrals

Chapelle in Paris

is

Rayonnant.

typically

the best-known

Literally

meaning

of tracery and elaborate, sometimes

excessive,

decorative

Ouen and

Rouen, are

detail

are

characteristic.

Maclou (fig. 4.14), both


Flamboyant examples.
S.

in

The abbey of S. Denis (fig. 4.2), just north of


had been founded in the fifth century. Its
church was rebuilt several times in Carolingian and
Romanesque times, but it was the rebuilding
undertaken by Abbot Suger c. 1130 and continued
in the thirteenth century by Abbot Eudes Clement
Paris,

that

transformed the building into the

earliest

example of the prototypical Gothic cathedral. Like

most

cathedrals,

it

is

of cruciform plan, with the

entrance front facing west, the chancel

at the east

end, and the transepts to the north and south.

nave

60

is

made up of

The

seven rectangular bays, with

is

topped with pointed


height

consistent

choir, generating a

The

unified space.

nave,

for

open, and

tall,

slim structural supports

entirely of stained glass

make

it

windows.

Cathedrals that followed


in Paris, with

Chartres

phase of French Gothic design. Complex

ambula-

possible for the walls to appear to be built almost

detail of the

term describes the decorative

Around

a double-aisle passage or

to

and

transepts,

length

late

is

and a choir (chancel) of three

in a semicircular apse.

entire building

built

"flame-like,"

this

S.

The

vaults

Dame

Flamboyant:

patterns

the choir there

Rayonnant

building.

either side

more bays ending


tory.

Rayonnant: This term refers to the elaboration


of decoration in work from about 1230 to 1325
when radiating lines of tracery became an important element. The great rose windows of many

on

aisles

are

variations

(figs.

on

centuries apart),

this

stained glass.

up of

two unmatched towers (built


Romanesque early portions, its

arched

its

extraordinary

The entrance from the west

a triple

whole
norm.

Gothic

its

its

Gothic completion, and

later

Sens, Laon, Notre

aisles for its

4.15-4.19), however, departs from

the formula, with

is

made

grouping of doorways, each in an

portal

opening

panels (called Tympani).

makes reference

On

double

with

The

richly
triple

sculptured

arrangement

to the Trinity of Christian belief.

entering, the vast interior seems to be a tunnel

or cave, as one's eyes adjust slowly to the

The nave

stretches

dim

light.

ahead with an arcade on each

opening into the aisles. Above the arcade the


narrow band of the triforium is windowless. Above
the triforium, the walls rise upward to form the

side

clerestory,

which

is

filled

with stained

glass.

Each

bay holds tracery, dividing the window into two


tall,

pointed panels with a round element above.

4.15

West

(/eft)

front,

Cathedral of Notre

Dame, Chartres,
c, 1130-1290.

France,

The lower portion of the

west front of Chartres

Cathedral

is

Romanesque

in

char

but above, the

octet,

Gothic pointed arches

and
unmatched

assert themselves,

the two

towers represent the

advancing

styles.

one on the

right,

The
the

south tower, begun in


145,

IS

Gothic
the

left,

tower,
1

in the early

style; the

one on

the north

was begun

in

32 but displays

the

increasingly ornate

vocabulary of later
Gothic

styles.

4.16 and 4.17

4.18 (above) Nave,

(left

and below) Plan and


diagrammatic

Cathedral of Notre

perspective of the

The nave and choir are

Cathedral of Notre

quite dim, largely

Dame,

because of the

Dame,

Chartres.

wonderful stained

The plan of the cathedral represents

an ideal

Gothic scheme, with

its

glass,

which

offers bril-

liant color while admit-

cruciform layout nave

ting only limited

and

amounts of light The

transepts with

aisles,

and a

choir with

external flying

make

double ambulatory

buttresses

aisles Five projecting

possible the large

chapel apses form a


chevet extending to the

windows, which begin


below the springing of
the vault arches.

east Massive piers on

40 m

Chartres.

either side carry the

150

ft

loads of the structure,

which are transferred

4.19
to

the ground by flying


buttresses.

North transept,

Cathedral of Notre

Dame,

Chartres.

Spaces

between the buttresses


allow for the windows
of the clerestory.

The giant round rose

window
transept

in the
is

north

more than

42 feet in diameter
Mary appears in the
center of the rose and

is

surrounded by saints

and prophets.
five

Below,

lancet (pointed)

windows show images


of David, St Anne,

Aaron, and other


saints.

61

Chapter Four

4.20

{right) Salisbufy

Cathedral, Wiltshire,

England, 1220-66.

The cathedral

Is

supreme example of
consistent Early English

Gothic architecture
built from

design

in

a single
a compara-

tively short period.

The

almost black Purbeck


marble, seen in the

nave and

choir,

contrasts strongly with

the lighter grey stone.

4.21

{far right) Exeter

Cathedral, Devon,

England, 1328-48,

The cathedral was built


in the style

known

in

England as Decorated
Gothic. The nave is
dominated by the fan

many

vaulting, with

its

radiating

The

ribs.

massive screen separating the nave


choir,

most

and

once present

in

cathedrals, has

survived here

a support

and forms

for the large,

Ahead, the transepts open out to right and


while the choir extends toward the

east.

The

left

choir

height, but suffered a disaster in

1573

when

its

central spire collapsed, giving notice that the limits

later organ.
is

surrounded on three

sides

by

double ambula-

tory with, at the far end, five radiating chapels.

The

columns separating the inner and outer ambulatories and the windows that penetrate the walls and
light the

chapels form a complex and mystical

space in the

The

dim

light,

glass of the

been reached.

Its

skills in tall

building had

nave was never completed, so that

only the choir and transepts survive.

England

suggestive of infinite values.

windows includes

illustrative

The medieval

cathedrals of England are closely

panels of apostles, saints, prophets, and martyrs.

related

One window

communication between the architects and


builders on both sides of the English Channel. It is
possible that itinerant architects worked on
projects in both France and England. English work
is never quite so adventurous and dramatic as its

of the ambulatory

aisle illustrates

the

legend of Charlemagne in twenty-two panels with


abstract, decorative areas

rating the iUustrations.

too high to
effects

make

of their

surrounding and sepa-

The

clerestory

windows

are

the details easy to see, but the

color

and richness are over-

whelming. Turning back to the western entrance


front, the
filled

end wall above the entrance doors

is

Romanesque arch-topped
huge, round Rose window above.

with three large,

windows with a
The end walls of

the

transepts

each have an

entrance door with exterior porch and five narrow

windows above, with

a rose

Reims (begun 1211)

more formally

is

window high up.


more consistent and

more dramatic, with


of

its

time,

the amazingly

high nave. Beauvais, begun

at

tall

is

proportions

about the same

was to be even more spectacular

in size

those

to

and

of

parallels in France,

France,

but

makes each building


expression. Salisbury

it

is

suggesting

varied in a

strongly

(fig. 4.20;

way

close

that

individualistic

1220-66), built in a

short time with a consistent design,

might be

regarded as the prototypical English cathedral.

Wells (1175-1338)

and

original,

may appear more

with

inverted

disturbing
so

"perfect" as an example of the

Gothic cathedral type; Amiens (begun 1220)

62

of medieval technological

its

interesting

and vaguely
arches under the

strange

bracing

crossing tower. In English Gothic vaulting with


e.xtra ribs

was sometimes used, dividing surfaces

with radiating bands called Fan vaulting, in


recognition

of the supposed suggestion of the

appearance of a palm

fan.

nave of Exeter Cathedral

The fourteenth-century

(fig.

4.21)

is

a spectacular

The Later Middle Ages

4.22

(far /eft)

William

Vertue, Henry VII

Chapel, Westminster

Abbey, London,

1503-19.
The most elaborate

example of English
Perpendicular Gothic

was

originally built for

the private use of the


king.

The stone vaulting

of the chantry chapel


carnes the concept of
the multi-ribbed vault
further with the devel-

opment of pendants of
stone,

which are

covered with such rich


tracery that

it

seems

to

deny the stone


structure.

4.23

{left)

King's

College Chapel,

Cambridge, England,

1446-1515.

simple rectangular

space with walls of


Perpendicular tracery

holding richly colored

display of the striking patterns of fan vaulting.

Most
or

cathedrals were originally parts of abbeys

monasteries.

The

fan-vaulted

cloisters

Gloucester and the octagonal chapter houses


Salisbury, Lincoln, York,

groupings

original

Westminster Abbey

and Wells are

This

is

The Gothic

survive along with

cloister

parts

often

Norman

abbey, while the Henry VII Chapel dates from the


late

Gothic period when the richly decorated

called

Perpendicular was

at its height.

is

known of the building of English cathedrals to


make it possible to identify some architects by
name: William Joy at Wells, Hugh Herland and
William Wynford at Winchester, and Henry Yevele
at

Westminster. Identification of such architects

makes clear that, although craftsmen certainly had


freedom to contribute to the totality of Gothic
building, they worked under the direction of highly
skilled professionals whose control of both concept
and detailed realization was in some ways similar
to

modern
Since

practice.

many

style

Enough

the previous chapter.

Middle Ages discussed

Norman works

in

and chapter house

of the early

early

between 1066 and about 1200.

thought of as the most French of English cathedrals.

work of the

at

buildings.

4.22; 1045-1519)

is

English term for Romanesque.

the

at

parts of the

monastic

of
(fig.

Norman:

falls

tacular fan vaulting

dates from the last

phase of building,
1508-15. Most of the
interior

is

devoted

to

Early English: This term refers to the Gothic


work of the thirteenth century. Major parts of
Lincoln and Wells cathedrals are Early English;
Salisbury is a clear and complete example.
Pointed arches and vaults are used with relatively

students of the college

simple decorative

the public.

detail.

Decorated: Fourteenth-century work

is

usually

intended to hold

The screen divides

As at

organ mounted on the


post-medieval.

is

Exeter

(see p. 62), the large

Lincoln are examples. Carved decoration based

of foliage

this

small space reserved for

screen (1530s)

lines

all the

large choir from the

of this period. Exeter Cathedral and the nave of

on curving

was

the choir, which

is

primary character-

istic.

Perpendicular: This

is

the term referring to the

Gothic of the fifteenth century, the

last

phase of

English Gothic work. Parallel vertical division of

windows and
of

this

at

King's

College

Chapel

at

and the upper parts of the


Lincoln and at York are examples.

Cambridge
towers

the use of fan vaulting are aspects

period.

Elsewhere

(fig.

in

4.23)

Europe

cathedrals were built over a long

period, different parts of one building often belong

The Gothic way of building spread from France

in

directions so that Gothic design can be found in

to successive periods; different stylistic terms there-

all

fore often apply to different parts of a particular

almost every part of Europe. In Germany, Cologne

structure.

stained glass. The spec-

The usual

classification

is:

Cathedral (begun 1270) parallels French Gothic

63

Chapter Four

4.24 Siena
Italy,

Cathedral,

architecture so closely that

it

can almost be classed

1245-1380.
as a

Italian

French example.

medieval cathe-

type called a

drals tended to be

Stephen

Hall church,

and semi-

circular arches were

usually preferred to the

that there

Gothic

is

no triforium or

churches

in

Belgium and Holland), such

compensate

Tournai or

for this

simplicity, spectacular

surface decoration

was

incorporated into the


buildings. In Siena

it

took the form of black

and white stnped


walls,

both

and out, a
of caned busts
inside

frieze

(portraits of the popes),

and

that

Vienna
is

is

of a

an interior

colorful vaulting.

clerestory.

Low

the

pointed forms. To

marble

in

space with nave and aisles of the same height so

conservative in
construction,

S.

There are

Countries

(now

as the cathedral at

decorative metal

from

grills

The

choir.

or Rejas that separate nave

of

cathedral

vast

Seville

(1402-1519), wdth dimensions estabUshed by the

mosque

had previously stood on the

that

wide double

site,

has

almost as high as the flat-roofed

aisles,

nave and almost

wide, creating an interior

as

similar to that of a hall church

there

are flying

Bavo at Haarlem, the subject of a


fine painting that shows its white-painted nave.
In Spain, Leon (begun 1252) suggests aware-

buttresses above the aisle roofs that have only a

ness of the design of Amiens, while Toledo (begun

from the influences of ancient Rome.

1227) and Barcelona with

seldom

S.

its

1298) seem closer to Notre

great cloister (begun

Dame

in

Paris.

In

Spanish cathedrals, a vast and elaborately carved

Reredos behind

the

main

altar is often a

domi-

nating element in the interior along with the richly

slight slope.

Gothic design in

Italy

exploited

fully

never completely escaped

the

Gothic pointed arch, stepping,

Romanesque almost

Italian

from

seems,

it

directly into the post-Gothic

Renaissance. Milan Cathedral (begun 1390)


largest
It

work

of the

possibilities

and most consistently Gothic work

is

the

in Italy.

has a cruciform plan, high central nave, and

double side

aisles,

groin vaulted, and a rich

all

overlay of decorative detail both inside and out.

The very

richness of the decoration has the effect of

overwhelming

the

of

qualities

time, disappointing. Siena


stays close to

(fig. 4.24;

Romanesque

space,

interior

making Milan both impressive and,

same

at the

1245-1380)

structural techniques,

although the use of alternating

light

and dark stone

in stripes gives the interior a special quality.

The

west front shows a plethora of Gothic decoration

with some of the same florid excess that characterMilan.

izes

Florence

cathedral

(S.

Maria

del

Fiore,

1296-1462) has a Gothic nave leading to an octagonal crossing with three radiating half octagons
that

form the transepts and chancel and suggest an

intended central plan building that the long nave


converts to cruciform.

The

inability of the

Gothic

builders to solve the problem of completing the


left

the building incomplete until

a Renaissance design

completed the building with

crossing octagon

the

great

dome

that

will

be discussed

in

the

following chapter.

Secular Gothic Buildings


Medieval building in the Gothic era involved a
wide variety of buildings other than cathedrals.
Smaller churches were built in great numbers,

sometimes using stone vaulting, but often with


wooden roofs of the same sort that were used for a
variety of secular buildings.

Town

the guilds of various crafts

and

houses and other

64

official structures

halls, halls for

trades,

were

customs

all

built in

'

The

the Gothic style. In

London, Westminster Hall

(fig.

Ages

Later Middle

4.25

Hugh

{left)

Herland, Westminster

1397-9), a surviving part of the Palace of

4.25;

roofed in

wood

with a series of

Trusses of the form

called

Hammer

Westminster,
great

Here

the

is

Gothic

supported

appears

arch

beam.

on

making it possible to span a greater width


than would be possible with a simple, triangular
brackets,

In the latter part of the

Middle Ages, with

conditions,

settled

developing

the

complexity of society led to needs for a variety of


special

purpose buildings. The hospital developed


monastic institution devoted to the

as a part of a

London, 1397-9.

secular building, this

great hall

care of the sick

and infirm. At Beaune

in

France the

is

the only

surviving part of the old

palace of Westminster
Its

barn-like design

made

is

spectacular by

the great

truss structure.

increasingly

Hall,

wooden roof

of the type called

hammer beam,

for

its

projecting, bracket-like

elements.

It

was prob-

ably designed

and

built

by Hugh Herland, the


king's carpenter.

The

windows between the

made up of

and at the
end wall are rich with

group of two-story buildings on three sides of

Perpendicular tracery.

hospital (Hotel de Dieu,

1443)

c.

is

roof trusses

courtyard that housed various hospital functions


and, on the fourth side, a large Gothic hall that was

France, from 1443.

enclosures for the individual beds of patients

monastery at Beaune

4.26).

These do not back up against the

instead there
staff

is

(fig.

walls;

could

patients

walk about

in

the

The Close

Rolls of

instructions

246

in a

Medieval Building

behind the scenes

to various officials of the court

III

of England

demanding building

chaotic circulation

roof of the ward

is

staff

in

could

move about

own work space an


many ways than the often

in their

arrangement better

records a series of

and pleas from King Henry

and

served as a hospital

curtained enclosures on

each side contained


beds. The

wooden

barrel-vaulted roof uses

central space (where religious services also took


place), while doctors

The great hall of the

ward. Booth-like

a passage for the use of the hospital

behind the patients' enclosures. Visitors and

ambulatory

Work

Hotel de Dieu,

Beaune, Burgundy,

main ward of the institution. The ward is a


large open central space surrounded with curtained

the

Construction

4.26

mix in modern hospitals. The


of wood; the ceiling is curved in

tie

beams and

vertical

king posts to contain

outward and downward thrusting forces


the

The painting of the

wood and
the

the glass of

windows add

color.

work at the old Palace of Westminster to be finished


satisfactorily, whatever the expense:
Since the Privy

Chamber

in

our ward-robe [dressing

room] at London ... is situated in an undue and


improper place, wherefore it smells badly, We
command you on the faith and love by which you

bounden unto Us, that you in no wise omit to


cause another privy chamber to be made in the
same wardrobe in such more fitting and proper
are

place as you may select, this same to be done with


despatch and care, even though it should cost a

hundred pounds.

note of threatening despair

later that year, as

he

is

struck by the King

demands the completion

of

overdue and over-budget work at Clarendon House:


the Sheriff of Wiltshire

is

ordered as he loveth his

and chattels to take diligent care that the


Queen's new chamber at Clarendon be finished
before Whitsuntide whencesoever monies for the
life

completion of
1

p,

Quoted
32;

2.

in

it

may be

procured.

N. Lloyd, History of the English

House (London,

931),

Ibid

65

Chapter Four

sheltered market place, sur\'ives in

European towns and

space of the market hall at

good example

many

old

The handsome interior


Cremeaux in France is a

cities.

4.27).

(fig.

Castles and Palaces


The building of

castles

continued throughout the

Middle Ages. Some of the

largest castles date

from

when the invention of


gunpowder had begun to make the castle an obsolescent building type. The castles of the Gothic
period had more elaborate and more comfortable
living quarters than earlier examples, and many of
these interiors are well preser\'ed. Some large and
impressive castles such as Caernarvon and Conway
the very end of the period

(both begun 1283) in Wales are in ruins internally,


4.27 Market
Cremieux,

hall,

Isere, France,

the form of a barrel vault with

and

member

a vertical

wooden

beams

tie

forms part of the roof

that

many

but

others have intact spaces such as the

great hall at Stokesay in Shropshire (1285-1305)

300.

structure

truss
Although the wooden
roofing has been recon-

continued

since

It

was

built

it

retains a form

originally

typical of the covered

market halls of many

European

cities.

Three

and

Colleges

strvcted several times

visible

overhead.

in its original use

up

The building

until 1948.

its

arches,

grew during

universities

with

this

and the libraries of colleges became large


enough to require their own rooms or buildings.
The large librar\' of Durham Cathedral and the
smaller library of St. John's College at Oxford
period,

in

stone walls, windows topped by Gothic

and

its

trussed

wooden roof Bodiam

Castle

Sussex (13869) has an orderly square plan,

symmetrical about both


each corner and

with towers placed at

a.xes,

at the centers

that suggests the

more

of each side in a way

regular planning of later

times.

parallel aisles, the

central one higher than

(1555) are examples of the timber-roofed halls

the ones at each side,

equipped with shelves and tables to serve their

provide space for

special functions.

and tradesmen

farmers

up shop on
market days and shelter
from the sun and rain.
to set

Italy,

d'Oro, Venice,

from c 1420

the

had no

when they

structural signif

icance. In the central

window

tracery

becomes the pnmary


visual feature of the

space.

66

trussed roof

Buildings vsith uses relating to trade activities

were slow to appear. The shop of the craftsman or

room on

dealer in goods tended to remain a

the

lower floor of a house where the proprietor and his


Larger

the highly ornamental

hammer-beam wood

family (and often

over the Grand Canal,

large

function was the

more modern one of a town

At the Ca d'Oro in Venice

(fig. 4.28;

cacy of Italian Gothic design.

nobile (pnncipal floor)

house, which looks out

ornamental forms of

at

room of the piano


of this aristocratic town

made up

actually often

Cambridge 1446-1515), and the


dining hall where all students assembled for an
evening meal. The dining hall was an enlarged
version of the great hall that was the main living
space of a castle. The dining hall of St. John's
College at Oxford (1555) has Gothic arched
windows and doors, oak paneled wainscot, and a

used pointed arch


details even

chapel,

(1298-1314) have the qualities of an

early medieval fortress or casde, although their

church such as the elaborately fan vaulted King's

In Italy Gothic design

forms as decorative

and most important

largest

spaces in the complex of buildings that


college were

College Chapel

4.28 Ca

The

In Italy, buildings such as the Palazzo Vecchio


in Florence

spaces

some of

eventually

his

employees)

appeared

purposes. At Valencia in Spain, the

(Lonja de

la

for

silk

lived.

special

exchange

Seda, 1483-98) occupies a large Gothic

vaults. The ribs are


columns as carved moldings
twisting around the columns in a spiral. A wooden
roofed hall, with open arches on all sides providing
hall

topped by ribbed groin

carried

down

the

With

the

more

tracer)'

c.

hall.

1420), the

demonstrate the

deli-

of the

later

settled conditions

Middle Ages, the wealthy and powerful began to


give up castle living in favor of large houses, sometimes with

moat and drawbridge but

vs'ithout the

elaborate defenses of walls and towers. In England

many

such

manor houses

(so called because they


The Later Middle Ages

housed the lord of a feudal land grant or manor)

good condition. The

survive with interiors in

remains the main all-purpose room, as


castle.

At one end there

vestibule area, called the

partitioned

by

off

is

Screens because

supported a balcony above

screen.

the

hall

the

kind of

usually a

wood

in

it

This

was
also

minstrels' gallery

where musicians or entertainers might perform


and connected with the kitchens and pantries. At
the other

end of the

platform or dais

hall, a raised

and important

isolated the table for family

guests,

while others were seated in the main space of the


hall at

temporarily placed tables and benches.

fireplace against

one wall was the source of

were grouped about

Smaller rooms for special purposes

bedrooms, chapels

sitting

heat.

rooms,

a court,

often in a seemingly unplanned cluster that might

be highly picturesque. Haddon Hall

in

Derbyshire

and handsome example of the


English manor house type dating from the four(fig.

4.29)

teenth

a large

is

century (although with

portions

rebuilt

end of the Middle Ages). Penshurst Place


Kent (1341-8) has a particularly fine and well-

after the
in

preserved great
Little

manor houses such

Smaller

hall.

Moreton Hall

in

as

Cheshire (sixteenth century)

wood frame

visible externally

in typical half-timber fashion. Its

quaint jumble of

is

built with a

heavy

rooms and chimneys,

its

moat and drawbridge

medieval in concept in spite of its

Castles in France such as at Langeais

or La Brede
tion,

(c.

1490)

1290) have interiors in good condi-

(c.

although

later

changes have modified their

one of the
was so totally
the nineteenth century under the

might provide. Most furniture was movable and

4.29 Haddon

medieval char-

temporary although more elaborate beds, often

Derbyshire, England,

The Swiss
century) and Chillon

with canopies and curtains to favor both warmth

medieval aspect. Pierrefonds

most impressive of French


"restored" in

are

late date.

(c.

1390),

castles,

direction of Viollet-le-Duc that

its

Hall,

fifteenth century.

acter has
castles

been almost completely

of Aigle (thirteenth

lost.

(ninth to thirteenth centuries), however, are largely


as they

were

furniture

Middle Ages, although original

in the

and smaller

Many rooms

at

details

have disappeared.

the lower levels of castle buildings

and within towers are stone vaulted

in

Gothic

fashion. Larger rooms are usually wooden roofed.


Major rooms usually have a large fireplace, generally a hood projecting outward from the wall over a

hearth rather than a recess

Windows

made

are generally small

panes and internal

wood

privacy, appear in the

tant occupants of castles.

mation about

chambers of the impor-

The most

detailed infor-

aristocratic interiors of the

Ages comes from the paintings that

Middle

illustrated

This

banqueting

with

Its

wooden gable roof with


tie-beams, and pointedarch windows, was the
gathering space for the

manuscripts and books. Such books were often

lord of the

given by the wealthy and powerful as tokens of

his dependants-

honor or
medieval

Although knowledge of correct

love.

perspective

drawing was

artist,

not

available

spaces are often

shown

to

the

in quite

with leaded glass

shutters. Stone bench

and whatever heat the sun

realistic

ways, including details in color of furni-

and small objects.


The paintings that have most to tell about the
medieval interior fall into two classes those that
ture, textiles,

illustrate

which

biblical

or other religious subjects, in

figures are placed in settings familiar to the

hall,

stone walls,

manor and
The

wooden paneling on
the lower walls extends

across one

room

to

"screens,

into the wall.

window seats, arranged below and at the sides of


windows within the thickness of walls, provided
seating close to the light

and

end of the

form the
"

a service area

leading to the kitchens.


It

supports a gallery,

traditionally the place

of entertainers The

window niche seating,


table, and chest are
typical pieces of

medieval

furniture.

67

Chapter Four

4.30

{above) Loyset

The

Liedet,

Birth

of the

artist in his

own

or her

festivals,

similar events of the time.

Bibliotheque Royale de

(d.

Belgique.

sons of

The

has set

artist

scene

this

a late medieval

in

interior with furniture

typical of

an affluent

household of the

1478), for
St.

The

Mary

bedroom where

as taking place in

there

is

huge open

medieval

fireplace, a

colorful textiles that


Master of Flemalle

character.

banquet taking place


floor;

The

(fig. 4.30).

is

sit

at a

An

and tankards. The few

a footrest

is

along the side


fire.

and

away

to the banqueters,
as guests

The floor

of exposed wood

corbels.

marriage

with an elegantly

tiled

at the

head

while

table,

The

now

artist

plates are passed

who appear

by servants

to take food in

hand

resting

on stone

various

Robert

religious

Campin (1375-1444)

subjects

set

rooms. In the center panel of


Auiiunciatioiu there

is

in

late

painted

medieval

filled

with parchment
Shutters could be

screen in front

(fig. 4.31).

wooden bench with


from front

to

light

and temperature

a triptych

of the

Nearby there

back

rail

ToNGUE-AND-GROOVE

with

is

narrow

back so that the user, seated on

or facing away toward a table.

The

fire

table itself has a

with a single white candle and a

blue and white pitcher holding flowers. Light pours


in

68

joiuts,

or with panels

make up
from narrow boards while coun-

inserted into surrounding frames so as to


larger surfaces

warp and shrinkage

tering the

wood

characteristic of

planks. Panels were often carved in Gothic

arched motifs or with bands that suggest a folded


textile

the

so-called

the

Linenfold paneling. Color

natural

grey

of stone walls,

is

the

browns and tans of natural wood, and the clear,


bright reds, greens, and blues of the dyed textiles
that cover cushions and beds.

Medieval Houses

arranged to swing

cushions, has a choice effacing into the

silver candlestick

Middle Ages, an actual cut-

in the late

The scenes

that appear in artists' paintings are

adjusted to control

plump

wood

a large fireplace with a fire

The windows

contain frames

of

barrel later being adapted to support a seat

generally

take appetizers at a reception.

the ceiling

construction, with

beams

developed

made up

together with hoops. Such chairs

and provide arms and back. The artist's work place


is made up of boards of solid wood put together

painted

artist

long side table, each covered with fine

that has a swinging

from the

has a round back

it

in

are

elaborate Gothic sideboard holds plates

Mary sits on a bench

seated

seem amazingly modern

sits

linens.

is tiled,

bound

shown as

guests

is

down

in a hall

of the late Middle Ages.

office.

a chair that displays the technique of barrel

1427.

taking place in a room

back. There

She

in

of

and blankets

musicians are playing trumpets on a balcony.

The wedding party


The event

oddly suggestive of the modern

artist is at

all

The same

(probably Robert

c,

work on a
work station

Gothic arm chair alongside, and

(above right)

Annunciation,

small painting in a kind of L-shaped

of the fifteenth century, an

making

rocking crib for the newborn infants

Campm), The

cords that run on overhead pulleys. In a miniature

staves

an elegant Gothic

and swung open by pulling

are hinged at the top

canopied Gothic bed occupied by the mother, a

bedclothes, pillows, sheets,

is

painter Loyset Liedet

example, shows the birth of the two

period.

4.31

illustrations of

banquets, marriages, coronations, and

Two Sons of St. Mary,


mid-fifteenth century.

and

time;

through windows equipped with shutters that

often based

powerful.

people

most

on the environment of the wealthy and


The living places of the common

the peasants or

serfs

continued

to reflect

the simplicity, austerity, even poverty of the earlier

Middle Ages. The

typical

house had only one, or

at


The

Ages

Later Middle

4.32 House

of

Jacques Coeur,
Bourges, France
(c,

1443),

In this

house of a

wealthy merchant,

almost a small palace,


the hall or principal

room of the mam living


floor IS ornamented
with an elaborately

caned

fireplace

over-mantel. Each of

the doors of

ii

D~

OS

paneling

is

wood
an

set in

elaborately carved

frame while a highly


decorative cornice

molding tops the


The ceiling

is

wall.

a simple

structure of exposed

wood beams. Royal


S^i.t^'^UJt^t^.^tiK'^

Pi^

coats of arms appear in


the small

windows

between.

1
most two rooms,

a dirt or

plank

floor,

bare walls of

stone or wood, and minimal furniture of benches,


table,

and

perhaps

cupboard. Beds were

chest

or

wall-attached

sitting up.

The floor plan of the


irreg-

ular grouping typical of

medieval planning

slept partly

Stairs are

hearth or fireplace serves both for

cooking and heating. Candles became

of Jacques

house shows the

colder regions, box-like constructions of wood,

must have

Plan of the

House
Coeur,

sometimes, particularly in

often so short that occupants

4.33

winding and

utilitarian rather

common-

than

ornamental.

place in the later Middle Ages, so that a variety of

candlestick types ranging

from the most simple

to

quite elaborate, portable, table-standing, or wall-

attached developed.

The later Middle Ages also saw the development of a variety of trades and crafts so that
workshops and retail shops
shops both

appeared

in

towns. Artists have provided

many

images of workshops for carpentry, weaving, and


various crafts, as well as bakeries, butcher shops,

and other

stores.

toward the

A shop was typically open-fronted

street,

with a table or counter for wares

and work and storage space


strictly utilitarian character,

In

the

late

to the rear.

It

was of

having no decoration.

Middle Ages,

few merchants

became wealthy enough

to

own and occupy houses

that could be fairly large, comfortable,

and even

Such houses were generally in a town or


city; living in open country was neither safe enough
nor convenient in a time when transport was virtu-

elaborate.

ally

non-existent.

horses,

more

Only the

and the poor

practical in

any

state

case. Late

affluent burghers survive in

own
made walking

nobility could

of roads

medieval houses of

many European towns


69

Chapter Four

and

cities.

Medium-sized examples were similar to

More

the houses at Cluny (see p. 50).

elaborate

houses approached the scale of a miniature palace.

The

house

fourteenth-century

of

the

banker

Jacques Coeur in the cathedral town of Bourges in


France, for example,
(figs.

4.32 and 4.33).

sections built

arcaded

around

galleries,

a virtual chateau in the city

is

It

a cluster of multistory

is

a courtyard with stair towers,

and Dormers

gable roofs,

picturesque confusion. Interiors are

doorways and

rately carved

of elabo-

full

fireplace mantels,

wooden

painted

colorfully

would have added warmth,


the main rooms.

and

Tapestries

ceilings.

color,

in

and richness

to

Elaboration of panel surfaces and moldings with

carved detail became a favorite device for showing

and

off the wealth

geometric, or

it

in

might draw on the vocabulary of

Gothic stone architecture with

its

theme of pointed

arch forms and carving of details based on leaves

and

Wood

flowers.

carving became a highly devel-

and art in some regions in Germany,


Switzerland, and in England. Interiors in the

oped

craft

Perpendicular style might include wainscoting or


whole wall surfaces covered with panels carved in
the linenfold design with

its

parallel, vertical lines.

Important locations might use Bas-relief (lowrelief) carving,

Innovations

of the owners of Gothic

taste

houses. Ornamental detail might be simple and

flowers,

Domestic Comfort

often taking themes fi-om animals,

and heraldic

shields.

Utilitarian parts of medieval buildings, such as

Toward

the

aristocratic

end of the Middle Ages, both feudal


families who occupied castles and

manor houses and


Lining rooms with

improve

wood

where extensive

readily available material.

interior

comfort.

paneling to cover cold

surfaces of stone or plaster

regions

merchant families

affluent

looked for ways to

became common

in

made wood

forests

Wood

was the usual

material of floors and ceilings almost everywhere

and

were

stables,

generally designed in strictly functional ways but

often have lost their original character through

modernizations.

successive

Kitchen

Hampton Court

at

the reign of Henry VIII

room, 100

enormous
high.

feet

The

New

King's

Palace was built during


1520).

(fig. 4.34;

long and 40

It is

fireplaces each 18 feet

huge

with three

feet high,

wide and 7

There are bake ovens and various

feet

fittings to

since

hold pots for roasting and boiling. The floor

stone and the walls are bare, but the windows, high

it was the only alternative to stone vaulting as


means of spanning open spaces. Paneling walls

created

interiors

wood, usually

that

left in its

were entirely lined with

brown

natural

color except

for occasional decorative detail (coats of arms, for

example) painted in bright colors. In the Tyrol,


southern Germany, there are

many

in

small castles,

houses of prosperous burghers, and inns with

wood-paneled rooms, often with


cabinets,

and washstands, so

built-in benches,

rooms

that the

almost completely furnished without

are

need for

movable furniture other than a bed, a table, and


perhaps a few stools. The development of stoves in

Germany as

a source of heat led to the introduction

of elaborately ornamented

tile

stoves, almost small

buildings in themselves, standing near a corner of

almost every major room.


Since the width of

wood boards

is

the size of tree trunks, paneling of

limited by
whole wall

must inevitably make use of many boards


placed side by side like the planks of a wooden
surfaces

floor.

floor

must be smooth

for practical reasons,

but wall paneling can use strips of molding to cover


the joints of boards, or can be
separate
that

70

the cellars, kitchens, pantries,

wood

made up

of

many

pieces fitted together with moldings

form frames around the individual panels.

is

up in the walls, are topped with pointed arches. In


more modest houses, cooking was done in a fireplace which was also the main source of heat for
the house, making the kitchen the most important
often the only
room.
The arches, vaulting, and ornamentation that
differentiate Romanesque, Gothic, and subsequent
architectural work were not present in simple town
houses and farm cottages, so that there is little

change over many centuries. In

fact,

houses

like

those of the Middle Ages continued to be built


until

modern

times.

gradual increase in the size

and number of windows can be noted as glass


became more available and less costly, although
windows were not always welcomed in cold
climates where they might be a source of drafts, or,

where too much sun was equally


and to some extent in
Holland, there seems to have been an understanding that, if facing south, windows would let in
in

the south,

undesirable. In England,

sunlight

and heat

winter cold.

windows

at

that

would more than

Wooden

shutters

served

night and

on dark

days.

to

offset

cover

The wood

framing of half-timber buildings formed a grid that

The Later Middle Ages

4.34 Hampton Court


Palace, London, from

c.

1520.
The kitchen of Henry
Vlll's

palace was a

highly functional space


with high windows for
light

and

ventilation.

The huge fireplaces


served for cooking

baking

all the

and

food for

the large population of


the palace. The floor
stone,

and

is

the walls are

whitewashed. The huge,


roughly built
table

IS

surface,

the

wood

mam

and

work

utensils

such as those that

would have been

in

daily use can be seen.

had

be

to

filled

in

with some material

stone, plaster, or rubble

Windows were

form

to

a practical alternative

brick,

solid wall.

where

light

years after newer ideas

had surfaced,
to be based

and newer forms

interest in the

on

the realization that this

was needed. Leading was required to make up

era in western history that

windows from many small

modern times

largest that

pieces of glass,

the

medieval technology could produce.

in a

conserve land use within wall-enclosed areas

tions of classical antiquity

floors

material,

were often cantilevered out over

increase the space within buildings.

anci,

upper

streets to

The

habit of

projecting upper stories was also carried over into

building in villages and in open country.

The

diag-

onal bracing of the framing of half-timber buildings

often exposed inside

is

along

with

wooden

other

ceiling

becomes

some rooms where,

structural

frame

beams, and leaded

characteristic

glass

members,
windows, it

medieval

remained extant

in

ideas

last

from

is

signifi-

position between the civiliza-

its

and the modern world.


and Rome, literature, philosprobing curiousity about nature and

In ancient Greece

ophy, and a

human nature were current, even if in a form that


now seems truly ancient. Gods and goddesses
presided over a world of highly organized human
institutions.

In the

traditions gave
faith

and

way

Middle Ages, these

to another

mysticism

world view

struggled,

with

classical

in

which

gradually

increasing success, against the forces of anarchy

of medieval

and chaos. After the latter part of the fourteenth


century, a new world view began to surface in
which human thought and human effort came to

and medieval design


for several hundred

be seen as worthy means to improvement in the

element

interiors.

Although

was the

truly different

fimdamental way. The word

cant in defining

the structural

was

"middle" in the designation of the period

Multistory houses continued to be built in towns to

when wood was

in design

Middle Ages continues

Europe

human

condition.

71

The Renaissance

in Italy

The modern western world can be thought of as


having its beginnings in the Renaissance. The term

ties

describes a cluster of developments that gradually

with the teachings of the church.

pushed medieval ways of thinking aside and made

notice

way

for changes in

human

experience as great as

came with

the founding of the first


around 5000 b.c.e. Exactly
why these changes occurred when and where they

those that

historic civilizations

did

is

What

unclear.

particularly

is

quite certain

thinking began to give

about changes

and

way

medieval

1400,

to ideas that

brought

in art, architecture, interior design,

other

every

about

Florence,

in

that in Italy,

is

human

of

aspect

In

life.

Renaissance Europe there was a succession of styles


that
(below) Francesco

5.1

to

dominate the

settings of

and wealthy and the

church and

drawing,

di Giorgio,

came

powerful

life

for the

state that they controlled.

For a major

sixteenth century.

part of the population that was not wealthy

The Renaissance

powerful,

humanist and architect

stylistic

changes were

of

institutions

and

human

of

how

belief in the possibili-

endeavors in a balanced relationship

rarely individual

It is

interesting to

names can be

associ-

ated with medieval works of art and architecture.

The

and built by human


names known and scant
name with a work. The

cathedrals were designed

beings, but there are few

records that associate a

of Renaissance

history

distinct

by contrast,

art,

many

sequence of names,

a
as

they were the subjects of

personalities;

and

Michelangelo,

Brunelleschi,

is

known

of them

biographies and were celebrities in their

own

times.

Leonardo

da

and Columbus, are


Renaissance men whose names and achievements
are widely, almost universally known. The ability to
Vinci, like Galileo, Copernicus,

write,

documentation of individual achievement

in

written texts, and the development of printing that

made

important

less

medieval ways survived with some small changes

augmented them with

rather

in

written texts widely available were

making the individual

all

factors

significant.

Francesco di Giorgio

(1439-1502) placed

human

the

that

were more cosmetic than

Medieval thinking did not

basic.

within a grid of

events in the medieval view, and

squares, which he then

developed as a plan

an

for

The Rise of Humanism

nave, transepts, choir,


chapels.

By 1400, the city of Florence had established a


form of government, great wealth through
and the developing business of

success in trade

banking (based on the decline of the medieval

far

prohibition against the "sin" of usury), and a kind

fallen

524.

of

communal

sense of optimism and power.

The

progress and expand led to curiosity

In the library's small,

desire to

square vestibule half

about the physical world and about the pre-

columns pressed back

medieval civilization that had

into recesses, false

windows in unique
pedimented frames,

visible in Italy.

Roman

left

so

many

traces

These traces were both the ancient

and Roman manu-

ruins and the Greek

the great staircase

Itself assert

scripts preserved in the libraries of monasteries.

the

Mannerist movement

From

toward a newly expres-

and

Florence, Renaissance confidence, optimism,

curiosity spread out to Milan, to

Rome, and

to

sive vocabulary for

other Italian

classicism.

cities,

and then, over

centuries, to

every part of Europe.

The term Humanism

ques-

of

faith.

from land often never returned

human

potentialities to learn, discover,

It

and achieve. The

and imagination

it

taught that heavenly

rewards outweighed anything possible on earth.


Saints

were

I'-Hf

rarely

learned

humanism

did

with

identified

martyrdom while even


*

to

not

edge.

they

had

The growth of humanism

fostered the idea that the obvious could be questioned,

mysterious could become

the

that

less

mysterious through probing and discovery. Even


the

human body

could be studied

in

order to learn

anatomy and functioning (fig.


5.1). The idea of the experiment that could demonstrate a cause and effect relationship and define it
with precision is the basis on which modern
the secrets of

science

is

its

built.

It is

a Renaissance concept, devel-

oped and made known

in written materials

newly

miracles

and

feudal knights and kings

read

or

reject

write.

religious

Renaissance Interest

in

History

being had

medieval world view did not encourage individual


curiosity

off the

describes the Renaissance

developed the idea that each

72

human
lack

available through printing.

thinking that gave importance to the individual.

staircase,

Laurentian Library,

and

suggested

knowledge of the most basic actualities


was often missing. The earth was flat because
anyone could see that it was so; ships that sailed too

Michelangelo, vestibule

in

visions, but

5.2 [opposite]

Florence, from

believe

Miracles could occur, truth might be revealed in

stable

and

of reasons

tioning

ideal church, with

and

really

causal relationships. Supernatural powers willed

figure

Renaissance
values,

but

Along with

scientific curiosity, aiding

its

develop-

ment and being aided by it, came a new curiosity


about history. The historical enthusiasms of the
Renaissance are probably its most familiar aspect,
the

aspect

itself

that

literally

forgotten

justifies

"rebirth,"

wisdom and

ancient Greece and

the
a

skills

Rome

name Renaissance

rebirth

of the long

of ancient times. In

there had been strong

Chapter Five

of humanism,

currents

who

left

and

important personalities

wTitten texts telling of their achie\ements

setting forth points of

view in drama,

poetr\',

chamber and an outer


conversation.

closet-like space adjacent

philosophy, and mathematics. The Greeks had

equivalent of the

more

brought from a fountain or

scientific

medieval

knowledge than the most learned of


Plato,
Archimedes, and

alchemists.

Euclid were redisco\'ered in the Renaissance, while


Vitruvius

became an

explain the

Roman

structures

later

authorit)'

ruins

that

who

could help to

and fragments

were so

\'isible

built into
in

Italy.

level

above the piano nobile was often similar in

and bedroom spaces


On an upper level,

plan, pro\'iding similar living

ment could be augmented by

ceiling heights

from

became lower

still

were more open: here were

may seem paradoxical that the movement


opened up the way to modem thinking should

It

that

have turned back into

but

histor\' for stimulus,

was the

well. Many houses


were built with a well below, connecting to a shaft
rising through the building where water could be
brought up in a bucket or other container. The

but with lower ceiling height.

learning

for

modern bathroom; water was

Learning through individual thought and experi-

history.

room

private "studio," a

use as a study, office, workroom, or for private

accommodations
winding

for serx'ants. Stairways, usually

spiral or in

Middle Ages,

and the spaces


and sleeping

li%'ing

narrow

slot-like spaces in the

now became major

elements

\isible

Renaissance interest in histor)' did not aim toward

with wide, straight

mo%ing backward. It was rather another expression


of the new curiosit)' that sought to learn what the
ancients had known. The goal was to move forward
on the basis of the best human achievements of the

tion at a broad landing. Secondary stairs, straight

past,

while

pushing ahead

future. In the arts,

it is

into

which ancient elements came


but

an advancing

easy to observe the ways in


to be

admired and

mistake to suppose that


was merely an attempt to
recreate the work of the Romans. Renaissance work
used,

it

Renaissance

is

is

never narrowly imitative in the way that

later

and Eclectic work was. There is no


Renaissance building that is a copy of an ancient
precedent, no painting or sculpture that looks

Roman

or

Greek.

Details

might be

imitated,

concepts rediscovered, but the Renaissance always


generated

new

syntheses from the knowledge that

came from studv of the

classicism of ancient times.

turning to reverse direc-

or winding, were often placed in obscure locations.

The

more spread-out

countr)' \Tlla could afford a

plan and so was often only two or three levels in


height,

but

prevailed

same

the

only

ser\dces

rooms on the

level

assignment

The

of

Symmetry

above, and ser\'ants'

main

accommo-

attic.

new devotion
is

levels

level,

of the Renaissance interior

style

influenced by the
dents.

ground

at

dation in an upper floor or

design

rexivalist

flights

is

strongly

to classical prece-

dominant concern and the

details

of moldings and trim draw on ancient

Roman

examples. In general, walls are smooth and

simple, often neutral in color or painted in patterns


suggestive of wallpaper. In elaborate interiors walls
are

often

covered v^th

mural fresco painting.

Ceilings were often

beamed

interiors, coffered.

Ceiling

or, in richly detailed

beams or

coffers are

frequently painted in rich colors. Floors of brick,


tUe, or

Elements of Renaissance Style

or

marble

may be

patterned in checkerboard

more complex geometric

patterns. Fireplaces,

the only source of heat, were

The homes of powerful and

affluent citizens

no

mantels,

longer needed to be fortified

castles. Instead, the

Draper)'

palace (Palazzo) in towns and the

\'illa

in the

countr)' developed as residences offering consider-

able comfort

and

beaut)'.

The

typical palazzo in a

town came to be three or four (or more) stories in


height. The ground floor was devoted to entrance
spaces, services, stables, and storage. The le\'el
above the Piano nobile pro\ided the large and

decorated salons for formal

richly

where space permitted, bedrooms were


level,

also

Often,

on

this

arranged in suites for members of the owner

family.

74

life.

private suite usuaU\' included both bed

some of
and other

color, as can

great

ornamented with

sculptural

elaboration.

accessories might be rich in

be seen in contemporary paintings.

Furniture

was

more

widely

used

in

the

was stUl
quite limited by modern standards. Cushions were
used on chairs and benches and offered another
Renaissance than in the Middle Ages, but

it

opportunit)' for the introduction of strong color.

Beds could be massive structures, up on

and with

car\'ed

a platform

headboard, footboard, and comer

posts supporting canopies

and

curtains. Carving,

Inlays, and Intarsia were present according to


the wealth and tastes of owners.

The Renaissance

in Italy

Renaissance church interiors using stone for


wails

and vaulted

were of restrained color,

ceilings

but often richly elaborated with architectural detail

Roman

derived from ancient


for

windows gave way

models. Stained glass

to simple glass of limited

was widely used

color. Painting

in altarpieccs, trip-

and easel paintings illustrating religious


themes. Such art work was usually given by wealthy
donors who sometimes appear as figures in the
tychs,

paintings they sponsored. Renaissance interiors,

both residential and religious, tended to

from
as

relative simplicity

move

toward greater elaboration

wealth increased and knowledge of classical

antiquity

became more widespread.

In an attempt to find order in the complexity of

Renaissance development, historians have identiof

fied three

view

its

pattern,

main

phases

these

Many

phases.
as

made up of

forming
a

older histories

symmetrical

hesitant

beginning,

triumphantly successful "high" period, followed by


a period of decline and decadence.

A more modern

view recognizes the three phases, but considers

them

as differing in character of

through

more or

less

equal

from adventurous experiment

merit: a progress

period

achievement into a

of developed
late

and balanced

phase of great freedom and

tapestry-like patterned painting of walls

rooted

elaboration.

in

building

medieval practice. As
is

museum)

the

now

rooms

still

seem

furnished (the

are simple, quite

bare, and, through their sparse but sturdy furni-

The Early Renaissance

ture, suggest

an established aesthetic of dignity that

holds luxury and austerity in a fine balance. In such

The Davanzati Palace


latter part

in Florence (fig. 5.3)

of the fourteenth century

is

of the

a beautifully

a building

way

giving

possible to sense the

it

is

to

something new.

Middle Ages

moved

new

when medieval ways

The building stands on a


narrow, irregular, and somewhat cramped site
typical of the medieval town. On the ground floor
there is an entrance loggia opening on the street
that would have served as a store or shop. A central
court gives access to stairs that lead up to the three
floors of living spaces above
spacious and quite
luxurious, but irregular and jumbled in plan in the
manner of a medieval castle. Externally, the
building is symmetrical and orderly and many of
the rooms are handsomely detailed with patterned
tiled floors, ornamentally treated wood beamed
ceilings, and fireplaces with richly carved mantels.
Evidence of a new awareness of classical antiquity
into a

can be found

in

small details, such as the moldings

and the brackets

that support the ceiling beams,

but the leaded glass of the windows and the

The bedroom of the


palazzo has been finely
preserved. The floor
tiled,

and

which

wood

is

is

the ceiling,

of exposed

construction,

is

painted with a decorature

is

The

furni-

minimal-a

a cradle, two

bed,

chests,

Bruneileschi

and two chairs-but the


room is richly decorated

The

by the

era.

Florence, 1390s.

tive pattern.

preserved example of the kind of town house that


existed at the transition point

5.3 Palazzo Davanzati,

Italy

and
first

first

or "early" phase of the Renaissance in

becomes
fits,

clearly recognizable

around 1400
The

roughly, into the fifteenth century.

important personage whose name

known was

is

well

Filippo Bruneileschi (1377-1446), a

who eventuaUy

became a sculptor, geometrician, architect, and


what would now be called an engineer, making him
an example and prototype of the versatile
"Renaissance man." He made a five-year visit to
Rome and was able to study at first hand the
surviving buildings and ruins of ancient architectural

works.

drawn

repeating patterns on
the lower surfaces, at
the level of a fneze,
in the

Florentine trained as a goldsmith

On

fresco painting

of wall surfaces, with

and

arcaded pattern

above Strong reds give


an overall effect of
warmth.

shuttered

window and
fireplace

the corner

complete the

functional equipment

of the room.

returning to Florence, he was

into discussions about

ways to complete the

Gothic cathedral which had only a makeshift roof


over

its

huge octagonal crossing.

It

is

hard to

75

Chapter Five

5.4 [below

right)

how

imagine

medieval

Fllippo Brunelleschi,

Cathedral, Florence,

building with no idea of

height of the

way of proceeding was not uncommon

sational

dome was

external buttressing

and was on

extraordi-

nary achievement.

5.5 (below

left)

dome

to be built without buttresses

and

need for constructing wood centering

would have required costly scaffolding


would have been a huge engineering
work). Although he was secretive about the techniques he planned to use, Brunelleschi was finally

Bruneileschi's

dome.

The ingenious system of


it

for a vast

vsfithout the

(the latter

drawing of

made

in

that in itself

Sectional axonometric

put in charge of the project and proceeded to build,

beginning

in 1420, the great

dome

that remains a

possible to

construct the

dome

without centering. The


chains that act as

dramatic landmark on the Florence skyline


5.4

and

Bruneileschi's

can be located at

and

at two

(figs.

5.5).

tension rings are not

shown, but their posithe base

medieval practice. Brunelleschi proposed a design

achieved without

tions

plan

most important

its

element would be completed, but such an improvi-

1420-36.
The great size and

ribs

could

builders

how

dome

is

not

Roman

in

shape

its

pointed form, well suited to the Gothic cathedral,

but

suggests medieval vaulting

the construction

without external buttresses involved a number of

upper levels

ingenious technological devices. At each of the


5.6 (top

right) Fllippo

Brunelleschi, the nave,


S.

Lorenzo, Florence,

angles of the octagon there are stone ribs, plus additional

ribs,

two

in

each panel of the dome,

all

concealed between the outer roof surface and the

and wood

great chains of stone, iron,

wrap

that

1421-8.

inner
The church had a

basil-

ican plan, with a tall

nave and vaulted


aisles.

Connthian

surface

between

was

visible

used

inside.

as

The hollow space

working

space

during

construction. Within this hidden zone, there are

around the dome, tying the

ribs

rings" that resist the thrust that

would tend

the structure outward. At the top of the


is

block,

a tiny

bit of classical entablature

on which the semi-

circular

completed

building

small

virtually

in

above provides

follows his design

and

is

Although the great dome

from windows, and the

cathedral

wooden roof construction IS hidden by a

Bruneileschi's

coffered ceiling There

demonstrate

are minimal transepts

completely.

create a nominally

cruciform plan.

Lorenzo

most
the

(fig. 5.6;

(begun

1435),

Duomo)

of

to

interiors

Florentine

churches

begun

in.

(that has given the


is

work, other projects

visible

approach

his

In

it

dome

both outside and

name

informal

its

not

but

the only part of the

that has overtly classical details

light

(not visible here), which

there

was

itself,

until after Bruneileschi's death,

(Roman) arches

rest The clerestory

to burst

dome

an oculus that opens into a lantern. The lantern,

columns are topped by

an impost

with "tension

1420) and

c.

S.

more
of

undertook

Brunelleschi

S.

Spirito

the

reworking of the typical Gothic cruciform plan


with transepts, choir, and

aisles

into

the

new

Renaissance vocabulary of classicism. Each church


has a plan worked out on a strictly geometric grid

of squares that establish a module for the complete


design. In each there

nave arcade of

is

Roman

arches, with vaults over the aisles supported

Corinthian columns. The

ancient

Romans

on

did not

support arches on individual columns, considering

them, we assume, too weak either structurally or


visually. In

both Greek and

Roman

work, columns

always support a continuous band of entablature,


the

basic

character

of

Bruneileschi's designs, the

76

classic

order.

In

columns are topped by

The Renaissance

5.8

fragment of entablature, a square block sometimes

in Italy

Filippo

Brunelleschi, the Pazzi

an impost block or Dosseret. This

called

arrangement

was

that

not

unusual

Christian and Byzantine work, but

Renaissance

Roman

its

is

an

Chapel,

Early

in

use in the

practice

was

work

at S.

may appear

Old

Sacristy to distinguish

Sacristy

from the

later

It is

and

color there

the

warmer tone of

the plastered wall

and

surfaces. The blue

pendentives, with a smaller connecting

white bas-relief rondels

chancel area (called a Scarsella), also a square

are

interior of

by Luca

della

Robbia

dome on pendentives (fig. 5.7).


the room is lined with a classic

space topped by a

The

What

comes from the

greenish-grey marble

now usually called


square room topped by a

by Michelangelo,

the Medici Chapel).

dome on

it

it

(note the

the right of the chancel


area).

(known

IS

New

is

seemingly tmy door at

Lorenzo was

the design of a small chapel-like Sacristy


as the

domed chapel

The

understood.

fully

Brunelleschi's earliest

1429-61,

actually larger than

typical of the early phase before

is

Croce,

S.

Florence,

Corinthian order using pilasters and an entablature.

The problem of

with pilasters

is

treating an interior corner

dealt with

by the curious Early

Renaissance means of simply trimming and folding


a

pilaster

to

fit

the

corner.

Eight

rondels are

arranged around the base of the dome, four on the


wall surfaces

unlike

and four

anything Roman,

in the pendentives.
this space,

with

its

While

organization of square and circular elements, has a


strongly classical feeling unlike

Gothic design.

The small

orderly

anything in earlier

church of
has

Pazzi Chapel in the courtyard of the

Croce

S.

although there
his role in

Old

attributed

Sacristy at

S.

1429-61)

Brunelleschi

to

uncertainty about the extent of

is

design.

its

death but

after his

in Florence (fig. 5.8;

been

usually

its

was not completed

It

design

Lorenzo.

is

until

closely related to the

It is

often thought of as

the archetypal Early Renaissance work, with

symmetry,

use of classical

its

Roman

its

elements,

along with a certain delicacy and tentative quality.

A dome on

pendentives

space which

is

is

placed over a square

extended to either side with barrel-

vaulted wings that convert the square plan into a

rectangle.

balances a

square scarsella with

domed

its

own dome

portion of the entrance loggia.

This chapel was built as the chapter house of

monastery and so has


its

its

continuous bench around

internal perimeter as seating for the assembled

monks of

the chapter.

The

walls are treated with a

and there are

rondels high up on the walls with medallion


della

pilasters

here

and

reliefs

Robbia (1400-82). The use of folded


slivers

repeats

at interior

corners

characteristically

Early

of pilasters

that

Renaissance interior

detail.

The

tentative quality of

the design can also be traced in the curious scale of

seems to be quite small while it is


actually quite large. Such ambiguity in scale may
the space

Brunelleschi, the old


sacristy, S. Lorenzo,

Florence, c

1421-5.

The square,

domed

chapel has a small


"scarsella" altar alcove.
Originally, the color

would have been


limited to grey
white,

but

and

in the

1430s

modifications were

introduced by
Donatella, the designer

of the doors and their


colorful surrounding,

including the blue

and

white bas-relief panels.

pilastered order in grey-green stone,

by Luca

5.7 Filippo

it

The doors are accurate


reproductions of

ancient

Roman

doors,

such as those of the

Pantheon The central


altar table

is

placed

over the tomb of

Giovanni di Bicci de'


Medici

which

and
IS

his wife,

recessed in

the floor.

derive from a somewhat uncertain exploration of


the vocabulary of classical design.

77

Chapter Five

Michelozzo
The Florentine Medici-Riccardi Palace {fig. 5.9;
begun 1444) by Michelozzo di Bartolommeo
(1396-1472) suggests medieval massing with

Rusticated

heavily

windows, but
into a

its

columned

Roman

The

its

small

symmetrical plan which opens


central courtyard

detail identify

building.

and

stonework

as

it

and

use of

its

an Early Renaissance

central entrance passage leads to a

square interior courtyard with a central exit on axis


to a rear garden court.

Twelve Corinthian columns

support arches forming a surrounding loggia. The


arches meet at the tops of the

awkward

a particularly

column

capitals with

collision at each corner,

indicating the designer's tentative understanding of

Roman way
Room interiors

the classical

5.9 (above)
Michelozzo

di

Bartolommeo, Palazzo
Medici-Riccardi,
Florence, from

444.

The formal inner court-

yard of the palazzo

of relating columns to

and largely
unornamented except for elaborately coffered
wood ceilings and classically detailed door frames
and fireplace mantels. Rich and illustrative tapestries probably hung on the walls of major rooms.
The chapel is lined with fresco painting by Benozzo
Gozzoli (1420-97) showing the Procession of the
Magi as an ornately costumed procession
arcades.

proceeding through a

The

style

and

are simple

hilly

landscape

(fig. 5.10).

detail suggest tapestry translated into

is

an example of early

painted form.

later

(1680) enlargement of the

Renaissance classicism
in its

use of semicir-

cular arches, which rest


directly

on the slim

5.10 Benozzo

Gozzoli,

Procession of the Magi,

Connthian columns

Medici Chapel, Palazzo

that surround the

Medici-Riccardi,

strictly

symmetncal

Florence, 1459.

space The tentative

The simple interior form

exploration of classical

of early Renaissance

precedent can be noted


in the relation

to

of arches

columns, particularly

at the corners.

rooms was often


enriched by fresco
painting, which

frequently covered the


walls.
is

The subject here

the Procession of the

Magi but

the figures

are portraits of

members of the Medici


family and their
retinue. Gozzoli

has

included a self-portrait
as a kind of signature.

78

The Renaissance

building

symmetry

maintained

externally,

although the original symmetry of the plan


survives only in

its

now

left-hand portion.

Alberti
Leon

Battista

musician,

Re

Alberti

(1404-72) was a scholar,

artist, theorist,

and

writer. His

book De

Aediftcatoria ('About Buildings') published in

1485 was the fnst major writing since Vitruvius to

attempt a theoretical approach to architectural


design.

It

was

powerful influence

fifteenth century

moving

in

the

forward from the tentative Early

Renaissance into the

more

strongly conceptual

direction of the next phase. His text sets forth a

5.11

Elevation of the

facade of

S,

Andrea.

The facade elevation of


this

church

fits

into a

square. The square

then divided

is

in four,

both horizontally and


vertically,

creating

sixteen squares.

Elements are

in propor-

tion of 1:1, 2:1, 3:1,


6:1,

and

5:6.

in Italy

Chapter Five

5.13 Donato
Bramante,

Satiro,

S.

Milan, reconstruction

begun 1475.
The

effort to

generate a

cruciform plan was

frus-

trated here because a


street lay across the

end of the church


where a choir would
normally have been
positioned. Bramante's

unusual solution was


create
effect,

to

a trompe I'oeil
by adding a

false choir,

which

is,

in

fact, virtually flat

The

apparent space

actu-

ally

is

a perspective

image

in bas-relief and

paint

converted to a Greek cross by four columns that


support the lantern above. It serves as a chapel to
the larger church which has a

domed

crossing at

the intersection of barrel-vaulted transepts and


nave. There
street

is,

outside

Bramante

surprisingly,

limited

no chancel because

the

dealt with this issue

knowledge of the

plan

to

T-shape.

by making use of his

rules of optical perspective, a

newly developed Renaissance artistic discovery.


The end wall of the church is made into an illusiondeep space by

istic

viewed from

a painted bas-relief that,

when

the nave, appears as a barrel-vaulted

a circular space

Bramante

that

surrounded by

columns matching the order

a ring

of

wraps the round


columns
sixteen

that

with a portico of
supporting an entablature. The enclosed center of
chapel

the building

is

drum

that rises above the portico

a hemispherical

dome. In

eleva-

to be

topped by

tion,

the portico has a proportion of height to

width of 3 to

5,

the

same proportion

above the portico;


(including the

total

dome)

is

width to

3 to 4.

as the
total

drum
height

The enclosed drum

has a ratio of width to height of 2 to

3;

with the

the width of the

chancel which seemingly completes a cruciform

addition of the dome, 2 to

plan.

colonnade matches the height of the drum. Other


1499 Bramante moved

Rome. Here he
In
and became
career,
of
his
began the second phase
Renaissance
of
High
exponents
one of the first
to

in Italy. At the monastery of

work
Montorio

S.

Pietro in

Rome, Bramante was given the task of


reconstructing the existing cloister to make it the
site

in

of a small chapel. Only the chapel,

now known

as the Tempietto (figs 5.14-5.16; 1502), was built.

80

planned

show

drawings

surviving

but

choices of lines for

4;

measurement show up

relation-

ships that correspond to the golden section ratio of


1

to

1.618.

The

interior

uses

eight

pilasters

window panels and


larger niches, while the drum above has eight
windows below the domed ceiling. There is also a
arranged in pairs separating

round subterranean chapel reached by twin stairs


leading to a door at the rear. Although it is not

The Renaissance

5.14

(/e/t)

in Italy

Donate

Bramante, Tempietto,
S.

Pietro in Montorio,

Rome,

502.

Tempietto repre-

7776

sented a highly
successful effort to

adapt the vocabulary


of Roman classicism to

domed struc-

circular,

ture.

The building domi-

nates the small

monastic courtyard

in

which

it

5.15

[nght] Engraving

stands.

of the Tempietto from

Paul Letarouilly's
Edifices

de

Rome

Moderne (1825-60).
This cross-section

the

domed

shows

circular

space of the chapel and


the subterranean space

beneath, with

its

centrally located

reli-

quary, the ostensible

reason for the chapel's


existence

5.16

(//g/jt)

Elevation

of the Tempietto.

The elevation of the


building

is

made up

of

two overlapping golden


rectangles,
zontal,

one

one

entire elevation

an equilateral

Roman

based on any one ancient

building, there

is

and coherence about the


makes it seem truly classical in

a quality of organization

Tempietto that

In spite of

spirit.

its

small

size,

the richness

and

complexity of the design give the Tempietto a

power

visual

that explains

its

influence

on subse-

hori-

vertical.
fits

The
into

triangle.

5.17

(/eft) Donate
Bramante and others,

plans for

Rome,

The evolution of the


cathedral can be seen

new

to prepare plans for the


Peter's Cathedral for

St.

Rome (fig. 5.17). His complex central plan called


for a domed crossing, four identical radiating arms
forming a Greek cross, and smaller domed chapels
into

fitted

began

in

the

Construction

corners.

resulting

1506 on the basis of this plan and, despite

the modifications

designs of

Bramante, 1506 (top

Bramante was asked


construction of a

St. Peter's,

506-64

plan for the great

in the

quent development.

made by

sequence of succes-

left):

Bramante and

Baldassare Peruzzi,
before

1513

(top

da
1539 (below

right); Ciuliano

Sangallo,

and Michelangelo,
1546-64 (below right).

left):

Further design modifications,

made by

Maderno

Carlo

in the seven-

teenth century were

sors, St. Peter's

still

incorporates the basic concepts

of Bramante's plan. The change in plan concept to

scheme seems

a Latin cross (cruciform)

been dictated by a feeling


central

plan

carried

in the

incorporated in the
building as compjeted.

to have

Vatican that a

suggestion

of

Roman
81

t0

&
Vasarfsi

iisJaeofI
HHiwdi ng Brft
"^

MS^^ ao'fce waly art egxs-r

of

re 3-r!E iiM*t

151 3-89

-,

^^-

82

.i.-^

.^. ijai or.

The coun
the dassic

The Renaissance

in Italy

5.19 Annibale
Carracci, ceiling frescos,

Palazzo Farnese, Rome.

1597-1600.

salon of the piano

nob\\e of the palace,

which was usually used

had

as a dining room,
florid decorative

elements on the walls,

but the simple, vaulted


ceiling

was

reserved for

the frescos painted by

Carracci The panels

illustrate

variety of

mythological subjects
while the apparently

three-dimensional architectural detail

and

sculptural elements are,


in reality,

trompe

foeil

paintings on the

smooth plaster
surfaces

continuous entablature. This


ancient
sense

the system of the

is

Roman Colosseum, which

of

solidit)'

and,

gives the court a

solves

incidentally,

the

the court, gi\ing access to ranges of

various

sizes.

Salle des

The

Gardes,

room of

largest

is

rooms of

the palace, the

of double height,

its

two

levels

problem of corner treatment since arches bear on


comer-angled piers and two columns stand on the

of windows continuing the e.xternal pattern of

adjacent surfaces without interference. At ground

design gives no clue to what

level the

order

is

a correct

Roman

second-floor level the order

is

fenestration without change so that the exterior

Ionic, \sith pedi-

ways, a coffered ceiling, and a decorative tiled floor.

treatment that omits arches and substitutes over-

fresco

pilasters

framing

topped with cur\ed pediments. The

on

podium

each window.

windows

windows

pilasters rest

is

simple and austere except

way up the
hung high above. Other rooms

walls

tapestries

var%-

severe simplicitv' to elaboration with tapestries


paintings.

The room

Gallen.' (fig. 5.19) at the center rear

floor level

is

treated in a

common

way

that

of the main

became

Some
a

service

mezzanine

tucked

levels for part

stair leads to the

Renaissance

room. In such an

increas-

This

practice.
all

of the

interior, the pres-

ence of furniture becomes no more than an incidental practical necessity. Here the barrel-vaulted

of the building perimeter.

A monumental

surfaces of a

in

and

called the Carracci

involved the fresco painting of most or

of these turn out to be small

and
from

for small relief rondels half

ingly

between the second and third floor

floor

room

base with rectangular panels under

lighting

an

elaborate fireplace mantel, classically framed door-

Othen\ise, the

Corinthian

is

Doric; at the

mented windows fitted within each arch. The third


level was planned as Corinthian but, before it was
built, Sangallo had been replaced by Michelangelo
as architect in charge, leading to a more complex
lapping

within. There

is

main (second)

where a passage runs around three

sides of

ceiling

is

entirely covered

(1560-1609)

by Annibale Carracci's

mythological

scenes

framed

in

83

Chapter Five

wings that make up

its

plan with plain, smooth

walls entirely covered with fresco painting by

Andrea

del Sarto (1486-1531)

and

simulated architecture, columns,


ture,

and moldings are


is

Here

painted in illusionistic

the Ducal Palace at Urbino

false perspective. In

there

all

others.

pilasters, entabla-

room (the studiolo, c. 1470), lined


wood intarsia that simulates projecting

a small

with inlaid

shelves, cabinets with

open doors, and

a scattering

of books, musical instruments, and other objects


all

in trompe-l'oeil

(fig.

5.20).

The

on

ability

create such effects

walls that are actually

of Renaissance

stemmed from

their

flat

artists

to

new knowl-

edge of perspective.
In 1532, Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536) began

5.20 (above)

work on two smaller palazzi for two brothers, the


Massami, in Rome. The houses, built on a
constricted and irregular site, are ingeniously interlocked with entrances on both a front and a rear
street. The larger of the two has a simple facade
curved to match the curve of the main street it
fronts on. The wall is simple, but the entrance is
through a columned loggia that justifies the name
Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne. The classically
symmetrical facade masks a complex plan. There is
a small but elegantly detailed courtyard and an
elaborate salon on the piano nobile, as shown in

Studiolo,

Ducal Palace, Urbino,


C.1470.

The studiolo of Federico

da Montefeltro is ornamented with wooden


paneling

in

beautifiil detail in the

which

Rome Moderne,

intarsia in colored

objects-

de

Roman

buildings of the High

mentation of the

and
and

Renaissance published from 1825 to 1860 in three

The floor

massive volumes

is

a pattern

tiled with

in Edifices

series

woods created a

of illusory cabinets
niches, benches,

engraved plates

Paul Letarouilly's influential docu-

(fig. 5.21).

in

earth tones. Paintings

high on the walls

The Late Renaissance and


Mannerism

include portraits of

famous men, including


the duke himself

painted, simulated architectural details.


5.21

{right)

The

walls

intermix niches and pilasters in three-dimensional

The term Mannerism

Palazzo Massimo alle

plaster work, off-white with gilded details, with

historical literature to describe painting that devel-

Colonne, Rome,

additional panels of fresco painting.

oped

While framed (easel) paintings hung on walls


were seldom used, the treatment of a complete
interior with painting covering all surfaces had

Renaissance tradition. The term

Baldassare Peruzzi,

1532-6.
The salon interior by
Peruzzi

IS

shown

engraving

in

an

in

Letarouilly's Edifices

Rome Moderne.

de

Ionic

pilasters support

an
and

entablature band,

above

this,

frieze

decorative panels

of

is

inserted below the


cornice.

The ceiling

deeply coffered

and

richly decorated.

84

is

come

into

use as

early

as

1305

when Giotto

(1266-1336) painted the interior of the Arena

Chapel
rows.

at

Padua with

Gozzoli's

religious paintings

frescos

in

the

banked

in

Medici-Riccardi

first

came

into use in art

freedom of personal expression within the


is

equaUy useful

in

identifying the parallel developments in design.

The design of

the Renaissance had, by the middle

of the sixteenth century, settled into a well-established system of classically based elements.

Roman

orders and

Roman ways

The

of using them had

been codified and made the subject of

illustrated

Palace in Florence have already been mentioned.

books; these showed "correct" ways of producing

The

interiors that

Villa

Medici

at

Poggio a Cajano, reconstructed

were serene and generally simple. As

when a style has arrived at a wellnorm, some artists and some designers

in the 1480s

tends to occur

established

by Giuliano Sangallo (1443-1516), has


central drawing room linking the front and rear

The Renaissance

came

to

unduly

feel

constrained

by

the

in Italy

set

formulae. In painting, the style called mannerist

introduced figures that seem in motion, gestures


that

appear theatrical, and compositions that are

active

and complex. In design, mannerism refers to


away from the
that are sometimes eccentric, even humorous

the use of detail in ways that break


rules,

in

and distortion of Renaissance

shifting

their

serenity. Personal decisions

of the earlier

began to take the place

rules.

Michelangelo
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), one of the
greatest as well as
artists,

imposed

sicism in a

way

mannerism.

most

versatile of Renaissance

his personal modifications

on

clas-

that serves to define the concept of

At

the

High

solidly

Renaissance

Farnese Palace he was responsible for inserting into


its

sedate facade the small but forceful balcony

centered over the main entrance, and for adding


the third level in the courtyard that introduces an

adventurous variation on the


lower

At

Roman

detail of the

rhythmic pattern by dark

levels.

Lorenzo

S.

Sacristy discussed

in Florence, Brunelleschi's

above

(p.

New

symmetrically placed

Old

77) was balanced by a

by

Sacristy designed

Michelangelo beginning in 1519. The plan is the


same simple square with a smaller square scarsella
and a dome on pendentives above, as in
Brunelleschi's project, but the treatment of the
interior

and personal

as active, aggressive,

is

was serene and

Brunelleschi's

and moldings

in

the white walls.

classical.

and

Pilasters

powerful

whole

attic story

active

pilasters,

more
They are

it its

(fig. 5.22).

sculptural

works,

adding

its

strongly

subtle.

In

dramatic

contrast, access to the reading

space

that

room

striking

is

The

is

from an

example of

vestibule (fig. 5.2)

a 34 foot square

level

and

its

room, with

ceiling

48

feet

its

floor at

above.

ground

The space

is

entered by small doors near the corners so that a

almost

fills

on axis. If the
and aggressive, the room that they
even more overwhelming in its powerful and

the space from one side rather than


stairs are active
fill is

unusual use of
space

that

classical

elements

crammed

into a

the setting for the

famous Media tombs,


sculpture. The solemnity

of the setting-the dark


grey,

almost black

detail

and black and

grey floor tiles-is

keeping with

in

its

a preexisting lower floor. The exterior,


embedded amid the older structure, is scarcely
visible. The library reading room within is a long
narrow room with side walls given a strongly

rises

above

the complex treatment


walls.

Michelangelo's highly

personal use of classical elements justifies

the use of the term

mannerism
his

work

to describe

here.

columns divide each of the four


up to

the level of the stair top with great curving brackets

one

A dome on

walls into three panels. Their bases are raised

below each column, while the columns themselves


do not stand out from the wall, but are rather

library at

function.

pendentives

seems hardly able to contain their

side

posed on

1519-34.
The "new sacristy" was

of the

visitor confronts the vast stairway that

of the monastic cloister, a second story superim-

new

S.

Lorenzo, Florence,

marble architectural

energy. Paired

Lorenzo, Michelangelo was given the

task in 1524 of designing a

Medici Chapel,

mousoleum-like

of arches,

elements that gives the space

at S.

frames, floor and ceiling

and

is

mannerist character.
Also

window

delicate

is

between the

intensity to the highly individualistic use of classical

ornaments

Michelangelo's mannerism.

of Medici Chapel

and

detail, pilasters,

blind (false)

stand at either side of the space, giving

name

corresponding geometric rhythm. All of the

Complex door and


in

5.22 Michelangelo,

with their elaborate

in a

entrance

and windows has been inserted below the level of


the dome. Michelangelo's famous Medici tombs
usual

windows on either side of a wide aisle. The coffered


ceiling is ornamented with a grid that matches the
spacing of the windows, and the floor is patterned

dark grey stone stand out against

window elements seem crowded


pilasters,

as

pilasters that separate the

windows, upper and lower, arranged in the fifteen


bays. Wooden reading desks are banked under the

pushed back into recesses cut into the waUs. The


order used seems

Tuscan,

at first

glance to be Doric or

but a closer look at the capitals reveals

85

Chapter Five

5.23 {right) Giulio


Romano, Palazzo del
Te, Mantua, 1525-35.

5.24

The loggia opens on

The walls and ceiling of

to

the extensive garden of


this

or

suburban palazzo

villa,

and

{below) Sala del

Ciganti, Palazzo del Te,

Mantua.

the remarkable Sala del

Giganti

(Room of the

Giants) are covered

Ciulio

Romano's intention was

with frescos based on

clearly to recall ancient

the

Roman

the Titans. The images

villas,

such as

myth of the

fall

of

Nero's Golden House.

of giants hurling down

The soft apncot<olored

the building around

paint on the walls sets


off the off-white floor

them amazed and


fied the Gonzogo

marble, columns,

family (whose palace

pilaster,

and

other

this

architectural detail. The

inserts in the

ornamen-

was) and their

tors Giulio

was

paintings that are

horri-

visi-

Romano

offering his

patrons an ambiguous

tation of the vaulted

statement of virtuosity

ceiling tell the biblical

and anger Only

story of David

and

are

the work of several


artists

associated with

floor

the

stands apart from

the painting, but, with


Its

swiding circular

the workshop of

pattern,

Caravaggio.

dizzying.

it is

itself

them

an original variation on the

as

Each panel of wall holds a blank,

classic

false

model.

window with

pedimented frame of unusual form. Actual


are placed high up in an attic or clerestory
that
repeats the pattern of columns with
level

windows
pilasters

and

real

v^ndows above

the blank

window

frames below. All of the architectural detail

is

executed in a somber dark grey stone that seems to

overwhelm the white


impact

total

is

plaster wall

highly dramatic

background. The

even

tragic in

tone.

Romano
If

mannerism of Michelangelo can be

the

lean toward a tragic sense, the mannerist

Giulio

Romano

Mantua

1499-1546) can be seen as

(c.

closer to theatrical
(fig. 5.23;

comedy. The Palazzo del Te^t


begun 1525) is his most impor-

reaUy a suburban

tant work.

It is

building

planned

said to

work of

as

villa, a

large

single-story

hollow

square

surrounding a center court. The four facades facing


into the court are each studies in Renaissance
classic design,
ties,

but each embodies odd irregulari-

departures from symmetry, shifts in rhythm or

amuse
somepushed up or

deliberate "errors" that surprise, puzzle, or

the viewer. Pediments float above windows,

times with keystone blocks that are

seem

to have slipped

down out of

line.

Stones of

the entablature that carry carved triglyphs are, here

and

86

there, deliberately placed in a slipped

down

The Renaissance

position that suggests an almost mischievous disrespect for the rules of classic design.

Many

of the

rooms of the palace are lined with fresco paintings,


some with curious or strange subjects. A large
room is lined with painted, simulated architectural
detail with, high up on the walls, horses painted in
full

standing in incongruous positions

size

life

Renaissance

throughout Europe, particularly in England (where


an English translation appeared

Palladio was the designer of a

houses

in

Vicenza and of villas

Duke Federigo Gonzaga, for his famous stable). A


smaller, windowless room known as the Sala dei
Giganti (Room of the Giants) is lined, four walls
and ceiling, with Romano's fresco paintings of

begun

down

process, tearing

gods

the

against

and,

the stones of

the

in

some

great

building, possibly this palace itself (fig. 5.24).


desire to shift, modify,
sical

and

The

distort accepted clas-

formulae along with a strongly dramatic

tendency are the qualities that

justify the designa-

Andrea Palladio (1303-80), one of the most


ential figures of

influ-

Renaissance architecture, placed

his personal stamp on Renaissance classicism but


can hardly be viewed as a mannerist. Palladio was a

northern Italian

who worked

Vicenza as well as

in his

home

city

of

Venice and the surrounding

in

country of the Veneto. In 1549 he provided bracing


medieval town

hall in

surrounding

Maser

tions serving the surrounding estate.

(fig. 5.25;

planning of the main house

is

The

interior

typically Palladian,

with a Greek cross plan using a central space with


smaller

rooms

fitted into

each corner. The interiors

are architecturally simple, but the fresco paintings,

by Paolo Veronese (1528-88), simulate

largely

and

include

illusionistic

5.25 Andrea

Palladio,

painting of such elements as open doors, balconies,

Villa Barbaro,

Maser,

architectural

detail

servants leaning

from

human

a balcony, a

page

with this building,

known

on three

it

appearance with

Vicenza,

Villa

Capra (or Rotonda),

outside

not really a residence but a kind of plea-

is

sure pavilion

a hill overlooking the town.

on

domed central rotunda, it is


known of Renaissance buildings.

square structure with a

one of the
Each of

best

its

columned

four

sides

has a pedimented, six-

Ionic temple portico reached by a broad

Palladio's plan, symmetrical

way of dealing

main

axes,

as the Basilica,

just

c 1550.

room paintings
by Veronese cover the
walls and ceiling,
making the actual

three-dimensional

elements of moldings

stair.

is

a study in

modular

around the two


layout.

grid of

and

architectural

details
illusory

merge into the


imagery of

landscapes, sculptural
figures in niches,

and

doorway pediment. The


stem of a vine in the
panel on the left rises
up and reappears

in

the panel above.

was to

and converted the extecolumned arcades on

classic

Arches are placed between


the

The

Italy,

In this

sides with a two-story loggia

that provided buttressing

levels.

rail.

Vicenza that was

threatened with collapse. Palladio's

Doric on

at

between extended wings with farm-related func-

balcony

two

Barbaro

looking out an open door, a parrot perched on a

Palladio

rior

Villa

1550) has a temple-like central block

c.

figures

surround

The

number of town

in the

views into the out of doors, and even

tion mannerist.

for a late

1676) and even-

in

America.

tually in

countryside.

rebelling

Italy

became one of the most popular of


known and used
publications,

treatise

(apparently a reference to the passion of the owner,

giants

lower

level,

Ionic

pilasters,

above,

which

support entablatures. Within each bay, the arch


rests

on small columns spaced away from the

pilasters

so

as

leave

to

larger

rectangular opening

between. The arrangement of an arched opening


with a rectangular opening on either side has

become known
this

was not

motif (although

as a "Palladian

appearance), an arrangement

its first

that has caught the interest of subsequent designers

and remained

in

Palladio's influence

use

was

up

until

greatly

modern

times.

enhanced by

his /

Quattro Libri deU'Architettiira (The Four Books of


Architecture) published in 1570.
text

on

classical

It is

thorough

design including translations from

Vitruvius and illustrative

examples and of his

woodcut

own

plates of ancient

Renaissance work. This

87

Chapter Five

5.26 and 5.27

Plans

of the Villa Foscari (or

Malcontenta), MIra,
Italy,

c,

Vn

'

558,

The plan uses a


rectangle of

1:16

proportion.

It Is

subdivided

in

tions of 4, 4,

front to

then

propor-

3 from

back and

4, 2,

4 from side

side

On

4, 2,

to

this grid,

rooms are laid out

in

proportions of 6:4, 4:4,


3:4,

and

ratios

2:3.

These

correspond to

harmonic musical
vals

inter-

of unison, octave,

third, fourth,

and

fifth.

squares can be overlaid on the plan, shovving off

of the nave open into connected chapels

the mathematically systematic proportions of the

Redentore, and into

rooms which

are full transepts repeating the vaulted

are

all

related to the proportions of

the building as a whole.

rotunda and there


tion.

is

elaborate plaster ornamenta-

The domed rotunda


a

invites

balcony overlooks the

at the

center of the plan

view outward through four passages

leading to the four porches vth their orientation


to the north, south, east,

toward

out

stretch

the

and west, where views


infinite

The

distance.

concept suggests the humanistic view of man

at the

center of an unlimited natural universe.


5.28 Andrea
S.

Venice, from

566.

on

classical detail in the

columns and entablaa

can be

fitted

on

at

the crossing. The color

scheme

is

grey

and

such as 2:3 or 3:5

way

in

Palladio's

tion about

space beyond, which

was the monks' choir.


organ above the

An

illustration

church

and

for

the

at

both

mam

accessibility of

in

Renaissance England, where such

buildings as Colin Campbell's

(1723)

for

informa-

them through his writing and related


made his work a source of inspiration

and guidance

divldmg screen
the choir

villa

The combination of admiration

works and the

limited view Into the

provided music

The

5.26 and 5.27).

has called attention to the

which the plan of the modern

as its basis.

tones of the

Is

The plan

Garches (1927) by Le Corbusier uses the same grid

marble floor Beyond


the altar there

either side.

(figs.

Rowe

British critic Colin

white, except for the

warm

on

each space "harmonic" proportions vth simple


ratios

dome

the

called

(often

1558) at Mira, near Venice,

a typically Palladian grid that gives

barrel-vaulted cruciform

space, with a

c.

a high base with stairs

Roman

monastery has

Foscari

Villa

Malcontenta, begun

has a pedimented portico only on the front, raised

This Benedictine

ture within

The

Palladio,

Giorgio Maggiore,

or Lord

Burlington's

Mereworth Castle
villa

at

Chiswick

(1725) are clearly based on Palladian precedents.

Even

Thomas

Jefferson's

Charlottesville, Virginia

Monticello,

near

(begun 1770), draws

its

concepts from Palladio.


Palladio's great churches in Venice, S. Giorgio

Maggiore

5.28;

(fig.

1565)

and

II

Redentore

(1576-7), each apply classical vocabulary, with a


barrel-vaulted

nave with high v^ndows and a

windowed dome

at

the crossing. Arches at the sides

nave. At

on

II

aisles at S.

at

II

Giorgio where there

form of the

Redentore, the transepts are really apses

either side of the crossing. In both churches

decorative detail

is

strictly limited to

Roman

order

architectural elements executed in a darker stone


that contrasts with the near white of the vaults

The total effect


and restrained.

other plaster surfaces.

church

is

open, bright,

In the Teatro

Olimpico

at

Vicenza

in

and
each

(fig. 5.29;

The Renaissance

5.29

Interior Furnishings

in Italy

Andrea

(left)

Palladio, Teatro

Olimpico, VIcenza, from

1580.

Although the
the

interiors of Renaissance churches

more formal

survive

much

spaces of other large buildings

as they

were when new, everyday

have rarely remained unchanged.

spaces

living

and

Furniture, textiles, and smaller artifacts that are

easy to

remove or replace generally survive only

museum

exhibits

or

as

Fortunately,

collectors.

antiques

treasured

Renaissance

as

by

painting

Semicircular

columned wall with


statues above. The
ceiling

and,

with

realistic

development of

the

perspective, artists were able to

representation
skill

show

in

linear

artists'

own

appear in

shown

set in locations

of the

times, so that the kinds of scenes that

medieval works

form appear

in

in

conventionalized

Renaissance works in ways that are

almost documentary. Carpaccio (1486-1525), for

dream

1580) Palladio attempted to recreate an ancient

example, shows

as

an event

Roman

taking place in a handsomely furnished

bedroom

The

theater in a smaller, fully enclosed version.

tiers

of seats banked in a semicircle

colonnade

at the rear, all

The stage has


ground (there

a
is

richly

rise to a

beneath a painted sky.

ornamented

no provision

fixed back-

St.

Ursula's

of the sort that might have been found in a

Venetian or Florentine palace


sleeps in a neatly

made bed

set

(fig. 5.30).

on a

painted with

and

ive

of the open nature

of the

clouds suggest-

Roman

The stage

is

theater

backed by

an elaborate

architec-

backdrop with

three openings that

up

streets-

5.30 (Mow)

Vittore

offer views

interiors in

ways that seem almost photographic. Religious


subjects are usually

is

sky

tural

turned toward increasingly

of

tiers

seats rise up to a

The

saint

raised platform

Carpaccio, The Legend

of St Ursula,
In this

490-98.

scene the saint

sleeps in

an elegant

late fifteenth-century

Venetian bedroom, on a

bed elevated on a

plat-

form, with a high

canopy supported by
Open
windows have leaded

posts at the foot

glass above

and

wicker

screens below, as well

as shutters.

changeable

for

scenery) that simulates the openings, windows, and


statuary of a

Roman

Three large openings

stage.

each permit a view of a street scene executed


false perspective so that

in

they seem to extend into

the distance although they are actually quite short.

Design as a major element

in theatrical presenta-

tion surfaces here, introducing concepts

theater into architectural

and

from the

interior design.

Vjgnola
Along with

Palladio's

work and

writing, the influ-

ence of Giacomo Vignola (1507-73) was important


in

concepts.

spreading Renaissance design

His

best-known building, the Church of the Gesii

in

Rome

(begun 1568), became a prototype for Jesuit


churches in the seventeenth century. It can be
regarded as an early Baroque church, and so
discussed below (see p. 94). Vignola's
delli

is

book Regale

Cinque Ordini (Rules of the Five Orders,

1562), a systematic detailing of the classic orders,

became a standard reference and a model of later


manuals (that came to be called "Vignolas"). These
were the basis for the acceptance of
cism as a primary prototype for

all

Roman

design in

classi-

much

of the work of the succeeding centuries.

89

Chapter Five

5.33); the average interior

been

remained much as

had

it

in earlier times.

Several different furniture types appeared in


affluent Italian residences:

Cassone: This was a lift-lid chest, usually of solid


walnut (the wood most used for Renaissance
quite

furniture),

large

and often elaborately

carved with architecturally related

details,

with

sculptural relief carvings of mythological or allegorical

or with painted panels.

subjects,

The

cassone was a traditional bridal or dowry chest

and

as

such was treated as an important symbol

of the wealth and power of the families being


united. Small cassoni ser\'ed as jewel or treasure
chests.

5.31 Carpaccio,
Augustine
c.

base with painted ornamentation, with an elabo-

St.

in his study,

rate

headboard and

1502,

canopy. There
A

tall

spacious studio

where the saint

is

seen

pulled

up

seated at his desk on a


platform raised a step

edge

above bare
back wall

floor The

is

painted

green and there

is

reddish marble or are

and

wall-hung

holder

candle

erable

elegance.

favorite

and

subject

St.

and

is

often

the curious

desk support seem to

is

nails, the

artist

and on

For the wealthy and powerful, craftsmen developed

floor represent the clut-

tered possessions of a

artifacts

of increasing variety and elegance

accommodate new

niche lined in red

expression. Important people had books, papers,

appears

to create

tastes for

luxury and

artistic

documents, maps, jewelry, changes of clothing,

and

table wares,

even such special-

with suitable

fittings.

table coverings,

The ceiling

of wood;

ized objects as musical instruments, timepieces,

it is flat

is

but painted

a geometnc pattern.

in

and works of

scales, globes,

art. All

called for places for storage

appeared

in

benches and

seat

slab

might be

sgabello

from the Strozzi Palace

and

of these things
display. Chairs

Savonarola chair: This folding arm chair


made up from many curved strips of wood

at

the center of the seat

was

was named

a widely used

famous

piece of furniture.

It

preacher who,

thought, favored this design.

it is

Dante chair: A
this

had

more

way but with

after the

similar chair to the savonarola,

same
and stretched

solid frame, pivoted in the

a cushioned seat

cloth back.

Tables were solid planks placed on

trestles,

pedestals, or carved stone bases. Small paintings

As they were gradually intro-

were often elaborately framed with many frames,

stools.

basically simple living spaces of the

all

ment toward

of these things began the movethe

increasingly

furnished" interiors of the


fashions, of course,

cluttered

"fully

modern world. The new

were largely

restricted to the

homes of the wealthy and powerful


90

The

small,

wooden

increasing variety as alternatives to

duced into the


Renaissance,

details.

pivoted

to

scholar. The central

small private chapel

with a

survives as a fine example of the type.

Furniture
the

really a stool

often was three-legged.

It

carved

on and near

the desk,

octagonal and elegant versions might have richly

(fig. 5.31).

but the

many objects on
shelves,

Sgabello: This might be a stool or


back.

be fanciful inventions
of the

nailheads acting as a form of decorative

simple chair

with books, reading stands, and furniture that

often medieval in character

linens.

Sedia: This was a somewhat massive chair with

trim.

surrounded with trappings of learning, shelves


filled

the

table. It

four square legs supporting arms. Seat and back

detail of consid-

artists,

cabinet,

taller

were bands of leather attached to the frame with

Augustine in his study, a

of Renaissance

a somewhat

also provided storage for silver, glassware, dishes,

must have been


details, and

suggests that lighting using candles

reading stand at the


left

reading.

Credenza:

credenza served as a sideboard or serving

indications of the increasing knowl-

moldings show Early Renaissance

doorframes are of a

strange chair

book cabinet and a stool


and a book stand holds an

minimal. The door frame, window

green wainscot The

painted wood.

storage.

a small

to a table,

open book
of

is

posts supporting a high

Cassapanca: A variation on the cassone


resulting from the addition of a back and arms,
this unit was usable for seating as well as for

(figs.

5.32 and

their architectural detail suggesting a tiny

facade. Mirrors, a

temple

development of Venetian

glass

production, remained small but were also often


elaborately framed. Lighting

placed in

many varieties

floor standing holders.

came from candles

mounted, or
Burning torches were also
of

table, wall

The Renaissance

used for

light

out of doors and in large interior

spaces, giving the

made

The

is

name Torchere

to the stands

them; torchere also held candles. The

to hold

candelabra

in Italy

hold

a stand that can

Italian

many candles.

enthusiasm for music led to the

production of fine musical instruments including

keyboard instruments large enough to be

articles

of

The small harpsichord called a spinetto


was often semi-portable and small enough to be
placed on a table. The larger harpsichords,
although built with a thin and light wood shell,
furniture.

required an enclosing case with legs or a stand,

making them somewhat similar in form to the


modern grand piano. The cases of instruments
were often decorated with carving, inlays, and
paintings.

Coverings
were the favorite

Silks

textiles

of the Renaissance;

they display large-scale patterns

woven

in strong

and damasks were dominant in the


Early Renaissance, with brocades and brocatelles

colors. Velvets

into wider use in the sixteenth century.


Loose cushions or pillows with fabric covering in
bright colors were sometimes used on benches or

coming

chair seats.

Floors were usually tiled in major

spaces, or of stone

on ground-floor

levels.

5.32 [above) Sala

Tiling

Bevilacqua, Fondazione

could be a simple pattern of squares or, according


to the intended grandeur of the space, might be
elaborately

Marble

patterned.

and

Bagatti Valsecchi,
Milan,

Terrazzo

This richly decorated

room has

marble chips embedded in cement and


ground smooth) were used for floors of monumental spaces, also often in complex geometric
(small

patterns.

Rugs were

1500.

c,

silk-covered

and ornamental
door frames and
walls

mantelpiece. The

contemporary furniture

rarely used, although oriental

includes a Savonarola

rugs were valued and had

occasional use as table

chair at the

coverings as well as on floors.

left,

cassone, a cassapanca,

and sgabello seat


It

is

possible

to

follow

the

development

of

5.33 Gentile

Renaissance design along either of two different


paths. Geographically, the design of Italy tended to

Mansueti, The

Miraculous Healing of
the Daughter ofSer

work in other regions, with a time lag of


one hundred years. To the north and west,

influence
fifty

to

Benvegnudo of San
Polo.

the Renaissance can be found as a developing

concept in France, the

Low

England, and Spain. In

Italy itself, in the sixteenth

nor-

style called

Baroque

a final

that

it is

had

viewed

phase of the Renaissance or as a totally

direction,

exciting

the

work of

development

the

of

Baroque era

design

history.

is

The

flat

ceiling with

century, the design of the Renaissance ultimately

shaded into the

1502-6,

superb Venetian

Countries, Germany,

beginnings in Mannerism. Whether

c.

The painting depicts a


inte-

wooden
its

painted

pattern, the green


walls, the overmantel,

its

the artworks, furniture,

as

new
an

The

following chapter deals with the Baroque era in


Italy and with its spread northward into the regions
closest to Italy's northern border.

and

classical architec-

tural details present


vision

of idealized

Renaissance space.

91

Baroque and Rococo


Northern Europe
The word Baroque

designates a development, not a

may be

time period, and


sion because of

its

some confu-

a source of

use in everyday speech to

full

movement and

of

The terms Quadratura

activity.

for architectural

space painted in illusionistic perspective;

images enclosed by

Quadro

RiPORTATO,

mentation. While ornamentation

framing; and Di sotto in su, for painting showing

much Baroque

of

even

or

only,

is

certainly char-

design,

it

Baroque work. Further confusion can

more

Rococo

delicate extension of

historians

seem

is

not the

most important, aspect of

the

the use of the term

arise

with

Rococo

for

illusionistic

illusionistic

view upward into a seeming dome,

sky, or heaven,

have come into use to describe typi-

an

cally

Baroque techniques of decoration.

to describe a later,

Stage techniques developed in the Baroque.

Some

proscenium arch was used to frame the opening

to

compartment

in

Baroque

style.

to treat the terms as interchange-

able, others see the

as a kind of sub-species

a stage so that

it

was

a separate

front of the audience seating area. Stage design,

on

of Baroque, while in general use the terms have

creating illusions of space through painting

become

scenic drops in order to introduce elements of

flat

synonymous with the meaning


"highly ornamental." The word "baroque" is

visual excitement into

thought to derive from a Portuguese word, barocco,

ence on Baroque and Rococo interior design. Stage

that referred to pearls that were distorted or irreg-

design was in turn influenced by Baroque

The word "rococo" derives from


French and Spanish words meaning "shell like."
As used here, Baroque refers to design as it

the use of perspective and related spatial effects and

virtually

ular in shape.

developed
tion

in Italy following the

mannerist transi-

from the High Renaissance of the sixteenth

century.

It

flourished in Italy, Austria, parts of

south Germany, in adjacent regions of Europe, and


in Spain

Related

and Portugal in the seventeenth century.


work in France, England, and northern

Europe may be described

drama, had

a strong influ-

skills in

of light as an active element.

in the use

Baroque architecture and

interiors served the

aims of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

It

provided exciting imagery that contrasted with the


iconoclastic

("image-smashing")

inclinations

of

the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther


in

northern Europe and offered

new

ulus to a peasant population that had

visual stim-

little

access to

south Germany, and Austria. Rococo development

and beautifial settings in everyday life. Entering


a Baroque church where visual space, music, and
ceremony combined was a powerful device for
securing the loyalty of congregations. Along with
decorative techniques. Baroque design turned to
more complex geometry in spatial forms. Oval and

overlaps the severely restrained design referred to

elliptical

as Baroque, although the

work in
makes the use of the term questionThe term Rococo is used to describe work of

rather different character of contemporary

these regions
able.

the eighteenth century as

as

it

developed in France,

Neoclassic. In general. Baroque design appears

in religious building while

Rococo work

is

more

often secular, but there are certainly areas of crossover.

It

is,

for example, possible to speak

Baroque building with Rococo


II

space peopled by figures

describe elaborate, or even over-elaborate, orna-

acteristic

6.1 Vignola,

and

in Italy

of a

rich

gular,

shapes were preferred to square, rectan-

and

circular.

sense of

movement and of

in

planning offered a

mystery.

The aims of

design changed from simplicity and clarity toward

complexity,

interior detail.

Curving and complex stairway

arrangements and intricacy

readily

augmented by

illusionistic

painting and sculpture.

Gesu,

Rome, 1565-73.

Elements of Baroque Style

The prototypical

Baroque church, the

The Baroque

home church of the


Jesuit order, is shown
here in a

Baroque architecture and

1670

interior design

new emphasis on

came

in Italy

to

ornamentation of the

shapes of walls and ceilings were modified, even

The mannerist tendencies in the work of Giulio


Romano and in Michelangelo's work at the Farnese
Palace and the Laurentian Library suggest growing
impatience with the classical code of High
Renaissance design. The very perfection of that

building. Effects of

eclipsed, with three-dimensional sculptural deco-

code,

include a

painting by Andrea

forms.

Sacchi and Jan Miel


with richly colored decoration superimposed

on

scrolls

sculptural

Shapes from nature, leaves,

and painted
shells, and

provided a vocabulary to enrich the

form of

earlier

Renaissance

design.

classical

The

basic

the normally elaborate

color

and

light

this interior

make

ration, figures,

and

floral elements.

These

in turn

treatise,

presentation in the examples in Palladio's

and the

"rules" for the use of the orders set

space

and merged into

excitmg and highly

were painted

dramatic.

painted settings that offered illusionistic views of

92

its

in

varied colors

forth

by Vignola invited rebellion

creativity.

At

St.

Peter's

in

at limitations

Rome

(fig.

on

6.2),

'"-^

^^
"'T

"lliB

Chapter

Six

6.2

6.3 (below)

{left)

St, Peter's,

Michelangelo took hold of the unfinished project

Cianiorenzo Bernini,

Michelangelo,

Rome

baldacchino,

St. Peter's,

624-33.

1546-64.

Rome,

The majestic exterior of

The cathedral intenor

the cathedral seen from

given Baroque

the southwest The

by the enormous

dome's structure

baldacchino (canopy).

is

drama

made of

braced by mternal

The canopy

chams, which makes

marble and bronze

buttressing unneces-

(said to have been

sary.

The

dome was

completed

by Ciacomo

1588-93

della Porta.

is

is

Coliseum) with gilded

At

the east

of the choir

is

end

the cere-

monial chair of St
Peter;

above

it

gigantic order of

a spec-

tacular gilded sunburst

pilasters

final

from the crossing

barrel vaults that radiate

in a

The
arm of the Greek cross modified the
biaxial symmetry. The vast dome is built
provision of a clear entrance front

central plan.

for the west

resulting

triple

chains and

holding stones of the

details.

it its

supporting the huge

with a

taken from the pins

form with a

begun by Bramante and gave

shell

reinforced with both hidden

external buttressing that takes the

form

of paired columns placed around the lower portion


of the structure. The dome was completed, with

some

modifications, in 1590 after Michelangelo's

Giacomo

death by

The

della Porta (1541-1604).

plan was altered by the addition of two additional

bays to the west to create a clearly cruciform plan

Maderno

with a huge and dramatic facade by Carlo

(1556-1629). This gave the building,


tion in 1626, a strongly
totality,

St.

Peter's

Baroque character. In

embodies a

from

development

comple-

at its

full

High

through

Early

its

sequence of

Renaissance, with hint of mannerist modifications,


into a

Baroque completion.

Rome
Vignola, although one of the rule makers whose
efforts

tended to rigidize Renaissance design, was a


the development of the Baroque. His

factor in

design for the church of

became
the

Gesu

II

a prototype for the

order

lesuit

built

Counter- Reformation

design were intended to

Gesu

as

the

and

make

the

Roman church
The

interior

completed by Vignola was

the grandeur that

Roman

when combined with

(fig. 6.1)

during

rebuilt

dramatic, exciting, and attractive.


the

Rome

Art, architecture,

or

era.

in

Baroque churches that

of

a study in

classicism could offer

simplicity in giant scale.

High

windows penetrate the nave barrel vault, and a ring


of windows in the drum of the dome create effects
of daylight streaming in beams that penetrate the
otherwise dim space in a way that approaches stage
lighting. Later [c. 1670) painting and ornamentaby della
complex detail
Baroque in impact.

tion of the Gesii (along with a 1577 facade

Porta) added the color and richly


that

make

it

now seem

entirely

Bernini

Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) began his career


as a sculptor

and continued

to

work on

sculptural

projects while turning his attention to architecture.

Thus he brought
the

94

a sculptor's

way of thinking

development of the Baroque. In

1629

into

he

Baroque and Rococo

also appears in the interest in passages

and

in Italy

stair-

and Northern Europe

6.4

ways, often tapered or curved to imply motion.

The

Scala Regia (1663-6) adjacent to St. Peter's,

leading into the Vatican, was designed by Bernini

with lines of columns on either side supporting a


sloping barrel vault.

The

Cianlorenzo

(left)

Bernini,

Andrea

S.

1658-61.
is based on
an oval plan with radi-

The church

ating chapels

entire passage tapers in

and height as it moves upward, while


windows light landings half way up and at the top
of the stairs. The forced perspective of the tapered
form and the contrast of light and dark spaces
width

al

Rome,

Quirinale,

dome

and a

above. Sculptured

figures cling to the

dome's surface. The


classicism of the
pilaster
ture

is

and

entabla-

given Baroque

treatment by the

generates dramatic effect.

complex plan and

massed sculptures.

Borromini
Francesco Borromini (1599-1667) worked both for

Maderno and

for Bernini before undertaking inde-

pendent projects

in

Rome. The small monastery

and monastic church of


Fontane

(figs. 6.5-6.8;

S.

Carlo

1634-43)

is

alle

Quattro

often thought

of as the archetypal Baroque achievement. The


building stands at the intersection of two streets

with fountains

became

the architect

Peter's,

designing

dome

This introduced a Baroque

which dominates the space and moves

its

internal character into the

It

is

made up of

that support a roof or

story building.

if

of a ten-

are at least nominally

by some

have

been

making them

active

but

Corinthian,

giant,

they

is

One

tower that stands

fountain

at the side

facade giving this church


presence.

its

is

at the

base of the

of the undulating

powerful external

The small monastic courtyard

is

a simple

rectangle with corners modified by convex, cut-off

6.5 (above) Francesco


Borromini,

S,

Carlo alle

Quattro Fontane,

The exterior of this

and mobile rather than static supporting elements.


Above the canopy top, S-curved half arches
support a gilded cross on an orb. The whole structure

each street corner (giving the

at

name).

Rome, 1634-43.

Roman and
twisted, as

at the height

The columns

its

in effect, a

four huge bronze columns

canopy

church

Baroque vocabulary.

both a work of sculpture and,

building

St.

under

in the central position

(fig. 6.3).

focal point

at

Baldacchino of

huge

the

1624-33 that stands


the

charge of work

in

monastic church with


undulating facade

Its

and angled corner gives


some hint of the
complex

interior within.

encrusted with sculptured vines, cherubs,

and figures, making the surfaces alive with activity.


Behind the altar at the apse end of the church there
is
another Bernini composition. The supposed
chair of

St.

surmounted by

Peter,

a giant gold

6.6

(left)

and 6.7

(below) Plans of

S.

Carlo alle Quattro

Fontane.
1

Via Quattro Fontane

2 Via del Quirinale

sunburst surrounding
visible

from the

yellow glass center,

is

3 Church entrance
4 High Altar

al

entire length of the building.

5 Sacristy

Bernini's

Quirinale

room of

smaU Roman church of

(fig. 6.4;

1658-61)

Andrea

single

domed

oval shape surrounded by small niches

serving as chapels

dome viewed

and chancel. The

in section exactly

oval of the plan.

windows

central oculus.

at

profile of the

matches half of the

to be

the base of the

The dynamic

Cloister

7 Monastery entrance

The plan

is

based on

two equilateral

Corinthian order lines the space,

and sculptured figures seem


the

is

S.

perched around

dome and

the

drive of the Baroque

gles sharing

circle is

trian-

a base

placed

line.

in

each triangle and arcs


are

swung from

the

meeting

vertices

of the

tnangles

V with

radius

to

become tangent

with the circles atT.

95

Chapter

Six

a tall space of

complex form

in plan, essentiaUy oval with paired

columns that

corners.

The church

is

press inward and an apse that bulges outward.

diagrammatic

on

analysis

shows the plan

common

a pair of equilateral triangles with a

base

line; a circle inscribed in

to be based

each forms the basis

dominates the plan (fig. 6.7).


emphasized by the floor pattern and

for the oval that

The

oval

is

by the rim of the dome above, with its coffered


pattern of octagons, hexagons, and cross shapes
that diminish in size as they rise to the oval lantern

comes from high windows


dome and from windows

Light

at the top.

lower edge of the


lantern.

The seemingly rubbery

the altar and side apses, together with

the complexities of the


effect

this

activity
S.

6.9 (below) Francesco

Francesco Borromini,

S.

Borromini,

S.

Ivo della

Carlo alle Quattro

Sapienza, Rome,

Fontane, Rome,

1642-62.

1634-43.

Lookmg up

space extraordinary

the dramatic
all

in

add up

to

sense

of

its

and tension.

Ivo della Sapienza

(fig. 6.9;

1642-62)

is

the

chapel built by Borromini in the courtyard of della


Porta's

building

Although
into the

dome and

of the controlled daylighting,

make

6.8 {above)

flexing of walls, the

and the "rolled over" half

curved pediments,

domes over

at the

in the

the

for

may appear

it

planned space,

closer

of Rome.

University

domed,

to be a

examination

centrally

reveals

the

The interior of the

dome

monastic church

demonstrates the

complexity typical of Baroque design. The plan

embodies complex

complex geometry on

actually based

which the plan was

of being abutted base to base as

spatial relationships

that have

made

it

of

this

church

based. Six circles

drawn

on

is

equilateral triangles but, instead


at S. Carlo, the

form a six-pointed

star

Vertical support piers (each with

two

known as an

on a six-pointed star

triangles are overlapped to

outstandmg example of

create alternating

(fig. 6.10).

Baroque design.

convex and concave

applied pilasters) are placed at the inner angles of

curves

It is

possible to

trace the forms of triangles,

hexagons, overlap-

ping

circles

and stars.

the star to form a circle.

points of the

star,

Of the outward extending

the three that relate to

one of the

overlapping triangles define the positions of the


altar

apse and two apsidal niches on either side of

the entrance, while the three that are the apexes of


the other triangle locate the recesses of the entrance

and those on

either side of the chancel niche. This

alternation of

two

differing treatments for the six

points of the star sets


is

up

complex rhythm which

dome above.
gold-starred dome is

continued up into the

The

white,

6.10

not simply

Plan of Sant' Ivo

della Sapienza.

The plan is based on


two overlapping equilateral triangles that

create a

hexagon and

twelve smaller triangles.

circle

contains the

hexagon.

96

Baroque and Rococo

in Italy

and Northern Europe

6.11

Sala del Senate,

Doge's Palace, Venice,


after

1574,

Venetian senators were

provided with

this spec-

tacularly ornate setting


for their meetings.

Wooden paneling

runs

around the base of the


walls where there

is

seating in stalls for the

200

or

more

senators.

Above, the painted


panels are surrounded

by gilded frames so
heavy that they almost
overwhelm the paintings within,

some of

which are by Tintoretto

and his

round, but

hollowed out to carry the forms of the

is

six alternating

upward

walls

concave and convex panels of the


the oculus with

to

the lantern

Externally,

lantern.

its

windowed

topped by

is

sculptural element of spiral or helical form.

symbolic significance
but

is

ambiguous and uncertain,

visible wild gesture

its

a
Its

is

highly characteristic of

Venetian

interiors,

such as some of those in the

medieval Doge's palace

(fig. 6.

1 1

that

were recon-

structed after a fire in 1574, display an amazingly


rich surface frosting of paintings

work. In the Sala del Senate

and ornate

up above

of wainscoting while the ceiling presses

ornate

gilt.

its

plaster

a giant wall

shares space with paintings lined

the viewer with

the Baroque.

pupils.

clock

band

down on

panels of painting framed in

Veronese was the

artist

who

provided

the paintings in 1585 for the similarly elaborate

Venice

Sala del

Gran Consiglio where Baroque

architec-

ture appears in quadratura illusionistic perspective

Longhena
Venice

is

lished

as a setting for the figures acting out

not a city where Baroque design estab-

major presence. The one exceptional


is the church of S. Maria

Baroque building there

Turin

(begun 1631) by Baldassare Longhena

della Salute

(1598-1662).
aisle

The Triumph

of Venice above the Doge's chair.

an octagonal building with an

It is

or atrium surrounding a

central space.

The

tall,

round,

domed

eight sides of the octagon offer

six radiating chapels,

an entrance portal, and, on

Guarini

Baroque work was carried north by Guarino


monk who had

Guarini (1624-83), a Theatine

and

the eighth side, an arch opening into the chancel.

worked

The

chancel, almost a separate adjacent building

with

its

settling in Turin, where his major work is located.


Guarini was also a philosopher and mathematician;

own

smaller

dome,

is

visible

from the body

of the church through the arch. The church


brightly

lit

dome and
floor

chancel

has a

is

into the

Turin (1679-92),

nally

relatively

dim, while there

Coro, or monks'

establishes a sequence of
typical of

Carignano

Baroque

choir,

is

beyond. This

varied light levels that

spatial richness.

is

in

around

a center

Paris before

helped to spread his

major secular work

built

large

in

influence. His

an opening

si.xteen

Portugal, Spain,

his Architettiira Civile (1737)

windows of the
geometrically complex patterned
yellow and black marbles. The

by the

bright

in

is

in

court which

is

the Palazzo

a massive block
is

reflected exter-

by a central part of the facade that bulges

forward in an undulating curve. The entrance leads


into an oval, columned atrium that opens on the
court.

On

either side small vestibules lead to twin

97

Chapter Six

6.12 Cuarino
S.

Cuarlnl,

Lorenzo, Turin,

1656-80.
The almost octagonal

dome

ofS. Lorenzo

displays Guanni's
interest in geometric

complexity

formed

It is

from the pattern of


eight intersecting

arches with eight

windows at the base of


the dome,

and sixteen

windows above as the


construction rises to a
tall

lit

is

but the

church below

and

dome

cupolo. The

bnghtly

is

dim

rich in heavily

colored

and gilded,

complexly curved architectural elements.

6.13 Cuarino CuannI,

Stairways that curve as they

Capella della SS.

at the access

Sindone, Turin, begun

1667-9a

This

room

open
the chapel of the Holy

Shroud are topped by a

dome
and

its

base

with nngs of many

arches, each arch


resting

on the center of

Hidden
windows illuminate
the arch below.

dome and the


dome at its top in

both the
small

a way that emphasizes


the mystery

and

enhances the dramatic

impact

at the

top

dome which

is

center to permit a view of a second

ceiling high above, lighted

Guarini's church of

S.

by hidden windows.
Lorenzo

embedded

6.12; 1666-80)

is

Royal Palace.

Its

with a ring of six

windows at

meeting

topped by a ceiling

is

at its

The black and grey


stones used to create

rise,

point to the huge oval main salon.

in

Turin

(fig.

in the buildings of the

square external block, with a

projecting smaller block to house the chancel,

is

hollowed out in a complex pattern of bulging and


receding forms that can be viewed in plan as Greek
cross, octagon, circle, or a

nameless shape created

by overlapping curved forms that extend into the


space from
oval. All

of

its

this

edges.
is

The chancel

is

an adjacent

treated with an overlay of rich

Baroque architectural and sculptural decoration.

The dome
lattice

is

not a simple half sphere but rather a

of eight intersecting arches that leave an

octagonal opening at the center, opening into a

windowed lantern above. There are eight small


windows at the base of the dome, eight large oval
and eight small pentagonal windows fitted between
the arches, eight windows in the lantern, and a
98

Baroque and Rococo

small eight-windowed

dome

at

in Italy

and Northern Europe

the top of this

The geometric complexity


and bright light from the many windows of the S.
Lorenzo dome are thought to make reference to the
concept of infinity. The contrast with the dim lower

astonishing structure.

space of the church

intensely theatrical.

itself is

work on

In 1667 Guarini began

a chapel for

Turin Cathedral that was being prepared to house

known

the religious relic

the

as

believed to be the cloth that held the

The

after the crucifixion.

Sindone

6.13)

(fig.

is

Holy Shroud,
body of Christ

resulting chapel of SS.

dark and somber space

with black and dark grey marbles.

lined

approached by twin

It

of dark, curved

flights

is

stairs

up from the cathedral. The entrances


stairs and from a doorway centered at

that lead

from the two

the rear (leading to the adjacent palace) establish

three points of an equilateral triangle. Three arches


rise to

support the

circle that

windowed drum. Above


up from

six rings

it

is

the base of a six-

a conical

dome

is

built

of flat arches, each arch resting on

the centers of the arches below, each ring growing

way

smaller in a

exaggerated

that creates a perspective effect of

Hidden windows

height.

light

the

space from behind the arches and, at the top, a


small

dome,

the top arch ring.

sunburst

the center of the highest dome.

and complex forms and the

strange
effects

at

t^ai-k

by hidden windows, caps


golden dove hangs from a

also lighted

make

of light and dark

The

theatrical

the chapel

6.14 (above

seem

Fillipo

Juvara. Stupinigi

hunting lodge, Turin,

dramatic, mysterious, and disturbing.

1729-33

Juvarra

The great hall of the

hunting lodge incorpo-

Filippo Juvarra (1678-1736) was the designer of

rates galleries for musi-

the Superga (1717-31), a church

and monastery

cians

complex outside of Turin on

overlooking the

well as frescoes

a hill

and singers as
and

stucco decorations. This


city. It is

made up

of a

domed church

tali

attached

is,

to ranges of lower monastic buildings arranged

symmetrically

around a

cloister

court.

in fact, really

a royal

palace, rather than a

simple lodge, although

Juvara

the lavish decoration of

seems, in this building, to draw back from the

the hall

complexities of Guarini and to suggest a Baroque

contrast to the low

closer to the late phases of the

High Renaissance.

This church-monastery complex with

dome and

flanking towers

appears in south

To what

is

Germany

its

great

about the same time.

ating

at

work north

uncertain.

At the huge Stupinigi Palace built for Vittorio

Amedeo

II

of Savoy

(figs.

into the surrounding park

large,

extent Juvarra influenced the

work remains

tie

close to a pattern that

of the Alps and to what extent he was influenced by


that

onal 30-60 degree relationships that spread out to

6.14 and 6.15; 1729-33),

outside Turin, Juvarra designed a complex of low


buildings in a symmetrical pattern based

on hexag-

and landscape.

in stark

and service

blocks that enclose the

mam courtyard.

double-height central salon connects to radi-

rooms and passages that create intricate


The surface decoration is a
overlay of painted and gilded plaster work that

spatial relationships.

rich

stable

is

6.15

(teft)

Ground

plan of Stupinigi

hunting lodge,

suggests awareness of the contemporary French

Juvara's

design in which basic forms tend toward simplifi-

focused on the central

cation
ingly

whOe
rich.

ornament becomes increasterm Rococo may be more

surface

The

appropriate here than Baroque.

hall,

ground plan

is

from which rooms

radiate at angles to

form a rough hexagon


around a central court.

99

Chapter Six

6.16 Jakob
Prandtauer and

Antonio Carlone,

Monastery of St
Florian, Linz, Austria,

1718-24.
The Marble

which

Hall,

was the work of


Prandtauer after
Carlone's death,

contains columns of

faux marble with gilded


capitals

and ornate
and these

stucco work,

form the base

for

an

elaborate painted
ceiling
artist

by the

Italian

Martina

Altomonte. The
painting, in faux
perspective, glorifies

Austna's then recent


victory over the Turks.

6.17 Jakob
Prandtauer,

Abbey

of

Baroque

Northern Europe

in

Melk, Austria,

1702-38,

Europe north of

The Benedictine foun-

In the regions of

dation of Melk included

design was taken up with

collegiate church,

Italy,

Baroque

especially in the

zest,

monasteries

and

complex

spatial

of Austrian Baroque

churches.

The simpler spaces

The curving side

with their overlay of elaborate surface decoration,

which

a fine example

is

walls,

red-brown marble
pilasters,

and upper

concepts

draw on French Rococo

of

in secular buildings,

influences.

balconies frosted with

stucco decoration
contribute to the

Austria

almost overpowering

and Austrian Baroque can

impression. The high

The

windows illuminate the

be traced through the work of Carlo Antonio

lavishly decorated

transverse arches. The


altar

is

backed by an

ornate reredos. Only the


floor,

with

Its

simple

link

between

Italian

Carlone (1686-1708), a

who

family of artists

member

relocated in

of an

Italian

Austria. Carlone

was the designer of the Monastery of S. Florian


(fig. 6.16; 1718-24) near Linz where the ceiling of

diagonal squares of
marble,

is

a refuge from

the ornamentation.

After a

fire in

damaged

738

the church

is

series

(sometimes called

name of

sail

of slightly

domed vaults
German

vaults or given the

platzlgewolbe). Their surfaces of

smooth

the church,

parts of It were rebuilt

plaster covered with paintings, they give illusions

by Josef Munggenast

of high

100

domed

spaces with architectural detail

Baroque and Rococo

in Italy

and Northern Europe

6.18 Jakob
Prandtauer,

library,

Abbey of Melk,
1702-38,

Austria,

The bookshelves

line

and above

the walls,

them ornamental
brackets support the
balconies, which

contain additional
shelving. The floor

simply

is

tiled in marble,

and only

the ceiling

free for the

is

exuberant

painting of figures
floating in a blue sky

above a fnnge of simulated architectural


detail.

The effect

is

close to rococo

simplicity of form but

with elaborate decorative overlay.

developed
ings

in false perspective.

were

completed

by

The monastic

an

Austrian,

build-

Jakob

Prandtauer (1660-1726), and include the ceremonial Marble Hall with decorative stucco work and
faux marbling by F. J. Holzinger, an Austrian, and a
painted ceiling by Altomonte and Sconzani, both

The nearby abbey of Melk (figs. 6.17 and


6.18; 1702-38), a vast complex of connected buildings on a high bluff overlooking the Danube, is
entirely the design of Prandtauer. The church interior with stucco architectural detail and illusionistic ceiling painting draws on Italian precedents.
Italians.

The

secular spaces such as the library with

its

cantilevered balcony, both functional and orna-

mental, and the Marble Hall (or Kaisersaal) lean

6.19 Johann Bernhard


Fischer

von

Erlach,

Karlskirche, Vienna,

Austria,

1716-37.

The oval,
rior

domed

inte-

of Karlskirche (the

Church of St Charles
Borromaeusj is
surrounded by chapels.
The deep chancel

is illu-

mined by side windows


that focus light on the

sunburst design above


the altar,

and columns

Rococo ornamentation typical of


Austrian, German, and French palace design.
In Vienna, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach

screened view into the

(1656-1723) was the designer of the Karlskirche


(Church of St. Charles, 1716-37; fig. 6.19). The

admit limited light into


the generally dim inte-

toward

the

topped by an oval dome; there are


two large and four small radiating chapels, and a
great arch that opens into a deep chancel backed
central space

is

below permit a
monk's choir beyond.
The high windows

rior,

which

IS

crammed

with nch marble architectural detail

and

ornamentation.

101

Chapter

6.20

Six

Kaspar

(right)

Moosbrugger, Abbey
Church of Emsiedein,
near Zurich,
Switzerland,

1691-1735.
Moosbrugger showed a
mastery of complex
spatial relationships in

the

abbey church,

where successive bays

move toward

the

distant altar while an

overwhelming overlay
of stucco ornament and

painted detail make the

space dissolve into


florid richness.

6.21 (top nght) Peter


Thumb, Monastery and
Pilgrimage Church of
Neu-Birnau, Germany,

1745-51.
This

IS

a simple rectan-

gular room with a


projecting sguare
chancel, but the
simplicity of the underlying plan

IS

lost in the

lavish overlay of stucco

and painted ornament.

\
6.22 (right)
Domenikus
Zimmermann, Die

Wies,

Fussen, Bavana,

Germany, 1744-54.
The interior of the

Pilgnmage Church of
Christ Scourged,

as Die Wies,

is

colored white

and

known

largely

and gold,

the intricate

plaster ornamentation

seems

to dissolve

forms

into a kind of mist The


ceiling

is

bordered by a

ring of architectural
detail, partly real

in three

and

dimensions,

partly trompe

I'oeil.

Baroque and Rococo

with

screen of columns that allows a glimpse of a

monks' choir beyond. The wall surface

detail uses a

Corinthian pilaster order with generally restrained


decorative detail so that attention

is

windows) above

great sunburst (lighted by hidden

the

main

focused on the

Saints, 1742-72), stands alone

6.23).
(

It is

work of Johann

the

1687-1753),

to

his

patron, the Prince-Bishop of

Vienna and Paris before returning to

somewhat forbidding twin-towered

Switzerland
The abbey of

begun 1703)
near Zurich, another huge church and monastery
complex, was designed by Kaspar Moosbrugger

domed

large

Einsiedeln

(1656-1723).

(fig.

6.20;

small chapel stands within the

octagonal area at the entrance to the

move toward the chancel


The overlay of sculp-

church; receding bays

and

(fig.

Neumann
engineer who had

Franconia to devote his efforts to architecture. The

altar.

altar in a progression.

and Northern Europe

Balthasar

initially a military

been sent by

Wurzburg,

on high ground

in Italy

exterior of the

6.23 Johann
Balthasar Neumann,
Pilgrimage Church of
Vierzehnheiligen, near

Bamberg, Germany,
1742-72.

building hardly prepares the visitor for the Baroque

The great pilgrimage

complexity of the interior and

church was built with a

mentation. The plan

is

its

Rococo orna-

based on a Latin cross, but

central shrine to house

the venerated object,

the arrangement of aisles and the related ovals of


the low

domes of the

the plan form.


to fourteen

ceiling elaborate

pilgrimage shrine-altar dedicated

dome which

overlaps,

in

the nave

and

is

over-

lapped by, adjacent ovals and circles in a way that

is

based on interlocking
ovals at

and

martyred saints stands

beneath an oval

and obscure

but the ground plan

floor,

balcony,

ceiling levels

of

such complexity that


the interior

is

almost

incomprehensibly

rich

in spatial terms. This

tured form and illusionistic ceiling painting generates the

complexity of space and the theatricality

typical of the

Baroque. At

monastery was

rebuilt in

architect Peter

Thumb

S.

Gallen, the ancient

1748-70 by the German

(1681-1766). The church

has a long narrow-aisled nave with, at


a

round,

domed

its

midpoint,

interruption.

makes the whole interior full of implied motion.


The windows are large and the glass is white so that
light pours into the space; white, gold, and pink are
the dominant colors. A frosting of Rococo plaster
sculpture and painting contributes to the theatrical
sense of light and movement.
Neumann was also the designer of the Residenz
at Wurzburg (fig. 6.24; begun 1735), a huge palace

Baroque concept has


been overlaid with

Rococo ornament
white, gold,

and

in

and pinks,

the painted ceiling

merges into lavish


plaster ornamentation.

Only the

floor

of diag-

onal squares of marbles


IS

simple.

Germany
Thumb

was the architect of the smaller German

pilgrimage church

at

Birnau (often identified as

Neu-Birnau) of 1745-51

(fig. 6.21).

cantilevered

balcony that runs around the walls of the

relatively

simple rectangular church and projecting chancel

adds to the spatial interest that

is

further amplified

by sculpture and

illusionistic ceiling painting.

clock

decorative banding that divides

is

fitted into

the ceiling painting into panels.

The pilgrimage church known as Die Wies


6.22; 1744-54) by Domenikus Zimmermann
(1685-1766) and the monastic church complexes
(fig.

at

Ottobeuren

(begun

1737)

and

Zwiefalten

(1739-65) by lohann Michael Fischer (1692-1766)


each are unique variations on the Baroque themes

of complex space, rich decorative sculpture, and

an agricultural region with


and with a population having no experience of travel nor exposure to art in any other
illusionistic painting. In

few

cities,

forms, entering one of these churches, flooded with

and filled with an overwhelming richness of


color and ornament, must have been an exciting
light

and inspiring experience.


In Franconia near the

German

city

of Bamberg

one of the best known of Baroque churches, the


pilgrimage church of Vierzehnheiligen (Fourteen

103

Chapter Six

6.24 Johann
Balthasar Neumann.
Residenz, Wurzburg,

Germany, 1735.
The Baroque fascination with

movement,

including vertical move-

ment,

mode

ways a

and

lavish stair-

favorite subject

in his

treatment of

the staircase hall in the

secular context of a

Neumann

palace,

planned a setting
ceremonial

for

movement

Most of the surfaces are


white, embellished with

nch decorative detail

and sculptures in the


Rococo manner The
colorful celling fresco

(1751-3), with

upward
realm,

is

its

view

into a celestial

by

Tiepolo.

with a spectacular Rococo chapel, a ceremonial

grand

stair,

ceilings

Tiepolo

and

a Kaisersaal with fresco painted

by the Venetian
(1696-1770).

artist

Stucco

merges into painting with

The

decorative

lined with

detail

illustrations of endless
spill

out of the

flights,

leading to the salon that

stands at the center of a long

Giovanni Battista

space and foreground details that

stair hall is a

row of formal rooms.

simple square in shape, but

ornamental

lanterns

cupid figures stand

supported

at the

hangs from the center of the

architect

Lukas von Hildebrandt

at the

Wurzburg

Residenz. His reputation had been

established with his


in

Neumann

work on

the Piaristen

Church

Vienna (1715-21) and on the palace known

the

Upper Belvedere

( 1

700-23

also in Vienna.

as

The

palace stands at the upper end of a large formal

garden and looks


the

lower edge.

flight

of

Rococo

is

ornament

entrance

plaster

stairs

at

Here

the center divides at a

and

fresco

ballroom was created in the Schaezler Palace

central

lantern

Each of the

The design of a palace often included individual


rooms decorated in the newly current style. At
Augsburg in Germany, for example, a Festsaal or
6.25; 1765-70). Its walls

stair hall.

more

ceiling.

painting.

palace at

projecting

sculptured

treated with a different lining of

architectural

down toward another

element gives access to a grand


lower

formal rooms

railings,

by

while one

of the baluster

The Viennese

is

upper and lower corners

form the color

palette.

it

Rococo sculptural ornamentation. Huge

painting over the plasterwork. Pink, blue, and gold

(1663-1745) worked as a consultant to

104

landing into twin

work and wood

(fig.

were covered with Rococo

carving, elaborately framed

mirrors, wall bracket candle holders, candle chandeliers,

and

fresco painting

on

the ceiling

and

in

Baroque and Rococo

6.25

(/eft)

Adam

in Italy

and Northern Europe

6.26

(below) Francois

Liebert van

Cuvillies,

Llebenhofen (architect,

Nymphenburg

room designer

Munich, Germany,

unknown), Ballroom of

Amalienburg,
Palace,

1734-9.

the Schnaezler Palace,

Augsburg, Germany,

Silver

and azure

blue

plaster ornamentation

1765-70.

the usual architectural

byJohann Baptist
Zimmermann frame the
windows and mirror

elements of pilasters

panels. All of the

In this

Rococo

interior

and entablature have

Rococo ornamentation

been replaced by mirror

is

panels between the

little

windows and

angles of the mirrors as

florid

plastenvork, which

in stucco,

and

there

they progress around

covers every available

the

surface Candle

repeating reflection in

brackets at the sides of


the mirrors

and

the

many hanging chandeliers

provided for a

is

pointing. The

room

create

kaleidoscopic
complexity. The light of
the candles of the great

chandelier would have

spectacular level of

been endlessly repeated

night-time illumination.

in the mirrors.

105

Chapter Six

wall panels. All of this grandeur

was intended

to

bulbous, jug-like shapes. Carving of plant forms,

and coats of arms were

symbolize and emphasize the importance of the

figures, allegorical images,

owner of the palace, a banker and silver merchant


who had been elevated to the nobility in recognition of his financial help to the Empress Maria

favorite

Theresa of Austria.

wood

The influence of French Rococo interior design


was a strong factor in shaping German palace interiors and also in small, less formal palace buildings,

used together with inlays of other decorative and

were sometimes used, and techniques for simu-

often almost pavilions placed in gardens. Francjois

lating materials

Cuvillies

(1695-1768) spent four years

Paris

in

working with the French designer Jacques-Francois


Blondel (1705-74) and returned to

produce the kind of restrained

Germany

had become fashionable in the salons of Paris.


best-known work is the Amalienburg
(1734-9), a small garden palace, planned as a
shooting box for pheasant hunting in the grounds

moldings,

tectural

exotic materials.

possible to create

it

surfaces in varied colors

and

patterns, often

and

Ivory, tortoise-shell,

silver

by marbling, graining, painting,


and gilding were valued not as economy measures,
but as demonstrations of skilled technique.

Baroque furniture tends


nated by

to be large

and domi-

and bulging forms, while Rococo


contrast, strives for delicacy and

fat

that

design,

His

elegance. Legs are slim

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich (fig. 6.26).


central room placed between adjacent rooms

and columns. The

pilasters,

development of veneer made

to

yet florid interior

forms of ornamentation, along with archi-

in

and gently curved,

patterns are small in scale

Applied ornamentation

and often very

is

inlay

elaborate.

often of pewter, silver,

may be

of colorful

of the

bronze, or gilded. Cabinet tops

Its

marble. There was increasing use of upholstered

decorated in

silver

and lemon yellow

is

of simple

windows open to the gardens.


Mirrored panels on the waUs have the effect of
transforming the simple form of the room into
circular shape; three

seeming complexity

kind of kaleidoscope

effect

elements in seating furniture;

wood frames of
may be

curving form support cushioning that

edged with gimp, braid, cord, or with closely


spaced nails with ornamental heads. Mirrors and
pictures

had carved and gilded frames which some-

and elaborates the silvery stucco decoration of the walls and ceiling and the glitter of the

times overwhelmed what they surrounded. Shell,

great central chandelier.

decorative forms.

that repeats

Cuvillies
rial

was the designer of many other impe-

interiors,

Rococo
at

including the gloriously elaborate

interior of the court theater in the Residenz

Munich (1751-3).

a miniature prototype for

It is

the Baroque-Rococo opera house interior, with

horseshoe

tiers

of boxes and a huge central royal

Milan

box. Such opera houses as La Scala in

(1776-8,

scroll,

by Giuseppe Piermarini)

are

similar

or volute shapes were favorite S-curved

Since candles were stUl the usual source of artificial light, candlesticks,

wall brackets,

and chande-

and

ideal vehicles

liers were functionally important

for

Rococo ornamentalism. The harpsichord, the


Baroque music, was

basic keyboard instrument of

often decorated with paintings both outside

the under surface of the

lid.

Its

legs

and on

or stand

followed the Baroque and Rococo fashions in table


base design or, occasionally, became ornamental

spaces on a grander scale.

The organ in the back gallery of the


Baroque church was a massive construction,

sculpture.
typical

Furniture

and Other

Interior

Features
Furniture of the Baroque era does not differ in
basic character

from

that of the Renaissance, but

since Baroque design served only the wealthy

even

gradually

came

greater accuracy

to be

and

made

with

in smaller size

at lesser cost,

although

it

was

palaces.

basic forms of cabinet furniture were modified

orated with large decorated cases or with sculptured

elaboration

typical of objects

made

for the

ostentation

rooms of

to introduce curving or bulging shapes for

drawer

fronts. Legs

are

door or

were often turned on foot or on

water-powered lathes to create

106

and

symbol to be put on display in the


rooms of luxurious houses. Clock forms were elab-

powerful,

The

and ornamented in a way that rivaled


and altar. The clock, an
important mechanical development of medieval
technology, at first a large and costly device to be
put to work in the tower of a church or towm hall,
usually carved

the treatment of pulpit

round

ball

or

still

a status

bases.

The color

palette of the Renaissance with

its

basis in grey stone, marble, white (or off-white)

Baroque and Rococo

plaster,

Italian

began

and natural walnut wood survived

in the

Renaissance, and

Baroque, although bright, chromatic color

older traditions.

to

appear in

textiles, rugs,

paintings. Gradually,

and, of course, in

more daring use of

color,

such as marble in varied yellows, reds, and greens

and

gilding, contributed to the shift

toward more

theatrical visual effects in interiors. In

and Austria

pastel tones of

pink and

Germany

light greens

limited in variety
is

possible

where both wood and

plaster are typically painted

building continued to follow

Furniture in these houses was

and generally simple, although it


some movement toward

trace

painted.

The

with carved or stucco detail picked

richly

complex aspects of Baroque and Rococo


many years labeled by historians as

design were for

decadent and declining phase of Renaissance

work. Older books often provide no coverage of

out with gold or some delicate pastel shade. The

Baroque design or deal with

covering of walls with textiles in rich colors also

sentences of negative

came

tion for

into use in

residential

interiors.

Curtains

it

in

only a few

comment. A new appreciaBaroque and Rococo design has emerged,

were most often part of the appointments of the

however, with an understanding that the Baroque

canopied bed where they were useful

emphasis on

drafts

and

in

in controlling

maintaining the privacy that the plan

most luxurious houses generally


ignored. Panels of textile were used occasionally for
screens or at doors, but window curtains and decolayout of even the

rative

drapery

at

windows

did not appear until well

into the eighteenth century. Floors

polished
in

wood

patterns),

were usually of

Parquetry (small blocks arranged

of marble or

tile,

also usually in

patterns of several colors that relate to the shape of


the

room and

the geometry of

its

other design

elements. Carpets or rugs were rare luxuries.

Outside of major churches, abbeys, and the

spatial

complexity relates to modern

concepts of design. In his book Space, Time and


Architecture (1943), for example, Sigfried

began

his

Gideon

study of modern trends with a discussion


Renaissance and the

of the links between the

enriched spatial concerns of the Baroque. Far from

being

decadent and declining aspect of the

Renaissance, the Baroque era

now

is

seen as the

most significant link between the classicism of


what went before and a new and adventurous spirit
that can be traced to the best of recent design work.

Before

discussing

Rococo design

the

role

in other parts

of Baroque and

of Europe,

it is

neces-

Baroque

sary to go back to an examination of the ways in

and Rococo design had limited impact. Most


people continued to live in houses that dated from

which Renaissance thinking moved into France,


Spain, the Low Countries, and England. This is the

medieval times or from the earlier years ot the

material of the following chapters.

elaborate palaces

and houses of the

rich.

and Northern Europe

Baroque forms in "folk" or "provincial" furniture


where curving forms appear along with surface
decoration, sometimes carved and sometimes

and blues were favored along with gilding and


white stucco. The use of more color but in more
delicate hues is a characteristic of Rococo design,
in soft colors

to

new

in Italy

.(^P

^K^y
y of 0^^

107

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and Spain


It is

often said that the art and design concepts of

the Renaissance spread outward from Italy into


France, central Europe, and Spain.

word "spread"

The use of

suggests that this was a natural

inevitable process.

New

ideas do,

may

spread, but that process

it is

the

and

true, tend to

be resisted or blocked

and suspect, or welcomed and encouraged, depending on events and attitudes in a


as "foreign"

particular place at a particular time. French military

involvements in

from 1494

Italy

1525

to

brought an awareness of Italian ideas to the French


aristocracy. Primaticcio, Sangallo, Serlio,

da Vinci, and Bernini were


enabled Italian

all

style.

France interlace with the Baroque

Early

may seen

ques-

style

extending

In Spain, a similar pattern can be traced, with

even, in

some

from

it

into the existing,

Italy

and

indi-

Spanish architects traveled and

cases,

worked

in Italy; they

style

somewhat

brought

and incorporated

restrained, approach.

is

based on French examples, but developed

with a unique regional character. The role of Spain

Hotel deVillette,

more

his principal residence. Louis XII

who

windows,

Ionic

conquests,

mirror,

is

tive,

that

IS

dark natural

wood parquet,
the celling

is

while

was provided by
in wall

and from

brackets

name

to the chateau of Blois that

(Louis XII wing)

medieval

moldings and column

in concept,

capitals

the craftsmen executing the

is

but

conservadetails of

demonstrate that

work were aware of the

latest Italian practices.

Baroque and Rococo ideas into

Early Renaissance

France

(r.

at the

1515-47) had a four-day

visit

with the

Vatican in 1515 where he must have

seen the High Renaissance

Rome. At

work then current

In

France

at

the

end

of

the

Middle

Ages

moved

Francis's suggestion,

in

Leonardo da Vinci

and lived near Amboise


The Francis I wing at Blois

to France in 1516

Renaissance ideas encountered both conservative

until his death in 1519.

resistance

and some degree of encouragement. At


end of the thirteenth century feudal ways were
deeply entrenched and their expression in Gothic

(1515-19) with

the

stories

of

architecture

had reached a

unmatched elsewhere

in

political centralization

level

of perfection

Europe. At the same time,

with government centered

its

famous exterior stair has three


and moldings appar-

classical pilasters,

ently based

on the

interior courtyard treatment of

The prominent roof above, with


of chimneys and dormers, remains both

Florentine palaces.
its

clutter

French and medieval in

effect.

candlesticks

placed on the furniture

(now removed).

108

is,

an oval

framed painting. Light


candles

his

grey with

gilded detailing. The


floor

by

in Italian

both Milan and

New World.

and

restrained ornamental

warm

The wing added

called

taking

successfully

the

panels. The color


soft,

1462-1515),

{r.

succeeded Charles, was also involved

Francis

tlie

French

became involved in military efforts to expand


their power and dominance. In 14945 Charles
VIII (r. 1470-98) launched a campaign against the
kingdom of Naples. In the course of this adventure,
he and his followers had an opportunity to become
acquainted with the art and architecture of
Renaissance Italy. Twenty-two Italian craftsmen
were brought back to France and put to work on
various royal projects, including work at the
chateau of Amboise where the king had established

opening up the American continents helped to

transfer Spanish

the

and

country

the

palace,

Alongside these changes in society,

Pope

evident in

power
and

practical

kings

The reserved classicism

is

The

more

acter could change.

of Louis Regence design

pilasters

amply

already

a need for visible expression of

felt

comfortable.

is

ornamented interiors that


strongly Baroque in spirit. The Rococo charinto richly

acter of Spanish design of the eighteenth century

Pans, 1712.

was

equivalent to the castle, but

Naples.

in

important as compared to

France

ments, while the powerful aristocracy centered on


the king

movement

clearly

less

building.

supplied with churches and monastic establish-

Spanish love for rich ornamentation aided the

are

7.1

secular

The use of the

into the eighteenth century.

back the High Renaissance

tended to become

tance and, without the need for defense, their char-

tentative

work toward the end of the


restrained and conservative
in character than the developments in Italy and
south Germany. The subtleties of Rococo work in

rectly ft'om France.

abandonment of medieval ways.

As the power of the church was checked by an


increasingly powerful monarchy, religious building

into

more

ideas flowing both directly

the

be translated

Italy,

tionable since French

Renaissance was

(made obsolete

castles

chateau, and the city residence increased in impor-

French work

later

and

and

Renaissance shaded into a high

term Baroque for

cities

by the development of firearms) led gradually to

active in France

thinking to

French practice. As in

Leonardo

of fortification of

on a powerful king, the growth of cities, the development of trade, and the decline in the importance

The
chateau

most
is

spectacular

Early

Renaissance

the huge royal palace-hunting lodge at

Chapter Seven

7.2 Domenico da
Cortona

(?)

and

Jacques and Denis


Sourdeau, Chateau de

Chambord, Loire,
France, begun c. 1519.
The upper floor

now

level,

missing (or

possibly never built)

makes

it

possible to

view the double spiral


stair that rises at the

center of the

main

block of the chateau.

It

connects the principal


floor levels

and gives

access to the roof The

supporting pillars are

topped with Ionic capitals,

and the ceiling is


and coffered.

vaulted

The staircase
to

is

thought

have been based on

a design by Leonard da
Vinci.

no

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

while additional rooms,

and passages

stairs,

are

in

France and Spain

7.3 Ground plan of


the Chateau de

fitted into the

corner towers and wings, making the

building a complex labyrinth of spaces. The interiors

have been stripped of their furnishings which,

even when the building was new, would have been

moved

to and from Paris along with the royal


The stone details of fireplaces, doorways,
coffered ceilings, and the central stair are full of

court.

Chambord,
The ground plan of the
vast chateau reveals

that the house

is

made

up of a square central
block with wings that
stretch out to

round

towers on either side.

Low wings complete a


references to Italian practice.
It

square. The central

thought that Domenico da Cortona

is

pupU of Giuliano da

Chambord
picturesque

{figs. 7.2

and

7.3;

begun 1519).

It is

mix of moated medieval round towers

and high roofs, with Renaissance concepts of


symmetry and orderly planning and in the small
details

roof,

of arches,

pilasters,

and moldings.

the

France in 1495 (Sangallo returned to

full

reference

Renaissance

Italian

to

although the way

in

of details that

make

classicism,

which they are applied haphaz-

typical of the Early Renaissance in France.

ardly

is

The

interiors

Chambord

of

the

main,

are organized

central

at

by an open circulation

space, a kind of lobby in the plan of a

double

block

Greek

spiral staircase at the center

cross.

dominates

Leonardo da Vinci was living at


nearby Amboise, there has been speculation that he
might have inspired the stair on the basis of
the space. Since

sketches

that

appear

in

his

notebooks.

Living

spaces are fitted into the four corners of the square.

how much

he was architect and

Italy

in

while

simply a builder

working under the direction of others

The smaller Loire


Rideau

moat and

It

is

space, which

is

focused

on the central stairway.


The symmetrical layout
IS

evidence of the early

Renaissance discovery
of classical planning
ideals.

uncertain.

is

the

work of unidenti-

an L-shaped building with

lake surround, creating a visual

tion of great charm.

each corner leaving a

valley chateau of Azay-le-

1518-27)

(fig. 7.4;

fied designers.

is

block holds rooms in

cross-shaped circulation

also

Domenico remained in France). The French master


mason Pierre Nepvau also had a role, but how much

an amazing collection of chimneys, towers,

domes, and dormers are

On

who was

Sangallo,

(d.

He was

1549) was the maker of the basic plan.

Its

composi-

corner turrets and moat

suggest castle architecture, but

rear elevation

its

moat is symmetrical, and the detail of


and moldings clearly belong to the Early

facing the
pilasters

Renaissance.

grand

stair is

placed

the center of

at

main wing. A fanciful entrance bay marks its


location on the front of the building, but the
the

projecting

L-wing places that entrance near

corner of the

L,

Azay-le-Rideau

making the facade asymmetrical.


is

fortunate in having

its

interiors

7.4 Chateau de
Azay-le-Rideau, Loire,
France,

1518-27.

typical

room of the

chateau, which could

be used by the inhabitants for

any purpose

they wished. Here, a

curtained bed has been


set

up but a table and


a

chairs (including

folding Savonarola
chair) are also avail-

able for the serving of a

modest meal. The walls


are covered with yellow

The huge fireplace


and overmantel, carved

silk.

in

stone

in the Italian

Renaissance
to the

style,

point

emergence of

French Renaissance
design thinking.

Chapter Seven

7.5 Giovanni Battista

well preserved

Rosso and Francesco


Primaticcio, Palace of

before

533.

The Caller/ of Francis

was a simple

made

elaborate by the
the walls

with the ornately

framed painting and


stucco above, which

was

largely the

work of

the Italian artist

and

sculptor Giovanni
Battista Rosso,

known

main

the

to

privacy.

wooden

and

mantel

so that each

is

room

functions

large

and

richly

set in the thick

or to

provide

carved fireplace

stone walls open into a

privacy to the alcove. Since

rooms had

fixed functions, furniture could be placed in

room
it

some

to serve

any

whatever function was chosen for

canopied bed in one room, a dining table and


example,

in another. Color, other

the natural tones of the

wood and

green

in

one room, yellow

in

High Renaissance

the access

space in the wall thickness which can be curtained

chairs, for

112

room

from wall coverings

another, establishing a tonality for each room.

rooms

probably the work of an Italian sculptor.

Windows

no

simple

surprising to note that

Each of the major rooms has a beamed


ceiling, stone walls covered by stretched

cloth,

to give

is

stair,

differentiate

beamed ceiling carnes


some decorative detail.
The floor

it is

passage to the next. There was no particular effort

as Rosso Fiorentino. The

wood parquet.

furni-

are simply lined up in sequence on either side of

passage-like space

panelmg on

and luxury,

size

Fontamebleau, near
Paris,

and restored with appropriate

ture and decorative details. In a building of such

stone,

than

comes

The turn from

the tentative experiments of the

French Early Renaissance to the more assured High


or developed phase of the era

came about with

aid of several expatriate Italians

who modified

the

their

to create work that is specifically


Under Francis I, Francesco Primaticcio (c.
Rosso
Giovanni
Battista
1504-70)
and
(1494-1540), a Bolognese and a Florentine respectively, were put to work on the decoration of the
Italian

ways

French.

Fontainebleau

Gallery of Francis

before 1533).

a long,

It

is

at

(fig.

7.5;

narrow room with

beamed ceiling. The wood panels between the


beams are geometrically carved, and there is a
wood-paneled wainscot. Above the paneling, the


Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

nm
ht

7.6 Sebastiano

Serlio,

Francois Mansart (1598-1667) was responsible


for a series of projects that define the character of

Burgundy, France,

m m 9^^

c,1546.

French Renaissance work

character

during the

1610-43)

and Louis XIV

symmetrical square
all

spaces

arranged around a

a^

symmetrical block with a

ence on the design of

flanked by lower wings.

French chateau.

this

quoins
surfaces

on

less

mythological and allegorical subjects framed with

solid

and

figures

Strapwork

florid

decorative

the use of bands of relief that

suggest straps of leather rolled out into patterns

appears here for the

The

first

time.

(1475-1555) was known for

taller

{c.

1626)

is

section

central

A high and prominent tiled

lighter for

window surrounds and

darker for the intervening

creates a visual character that

classical detail

and void. The

depends

than on basic proportions of

interiors also

have a degree of

ornamenwork and paintings that cover the


wall surfaces. The Grand Salon that overlooks the
gardens has a bare wooden floor of simple planks
reserve

and dignity

in spite of their rich

tation of plaster

arranged in panels, contrasting with the elaborate

his published

books

fniix

hollow square, symmetrical on

four sides both

all

marble painting of wall surfaces surrounding

the paintings.

Mansart's
the steep

tile

has

come

and so was

ma.ximizing interior space

rise

level.
is

At each

three stories

only two

stories.

be associated with

Renaissance buildings. Attic space was e.xempt from

and moldings are used with textbook precision,


corner a projecting tower block

to

or slate roofs that so often top French

real estate taxation

with an entablature at each floor

America

in

the

at

Victorian

in recognition

a desirable

way of

limited expense. In

era

became popular, they came

Mansard

7.7 Francois Mansart,

Chateau de Maisons,
near Pans, 1642-51.
The plan of

name

outside and in the inner court. Classical pilasters

between

(r.

Serlio

on architecture before his arrival in France in 1540.


He was the designer of the chateau of Ancy-leFranc (fig. 7.6; begun 1546) in Burgundy. It is a

high, while the walls

XIII

1643-1715). The

Sebastiano

architect

Italian

(r.

Baroque

French silhouette. The use of contrasting

at the corners,

ft

walls are covered with a sequence of paintings of

sculptural

of Louis

roof with chimneys and dormers gives the building


color masonry

100

developed

it

Normandy

cates the Italian influ-

a typically
20

as

reigns

chateau of Balleroy in

central courtyard mdi-

^ f* M <

details.

France and Spain

Ancy-le-Franc,

plan with

stucco

in

when such roofs


be known as

to

of their supposed origi-

this

symmetrically perfect
chateau, which

is

also

known as Maisons
Laffitte,

forms a

U-shape, with the

rooms laid out

in

connecting sequence

Each room opens from


Its

neighbors,

and

there

are no independent

corndors for circulation.

The entrance element

at the center

of each side

not strongly accented and the low


architectural

makes the

detail

walls

relief

is

of the

almost

flat

nator.

Such

a rooftops Mansart's

Maisons (or Maisons


Paris (figs. 7.7

and

Laffitte,

7.8).

famous chateau of
1642-51)

outside

U-shaped block, one

There

is

a formal grand

stair (to the right

entrance

hall),

of the

but

all

other stairs are tiny

emphasizing

thus

planes,

the

four-square

simplicity of the basic plan concept. Arcades

and

niches elaborate the wall of the central court.

high

tiled

its

high roofs, chimneys, and dormers,

white stone exterior

is

detailed with

classical

service elements tucked


in

unobtrusive corners.

many dormers and chimneys

roof with

gives the building

room deep with

an especially French character,

which remained the norm of French Renaissance

work

for

takes

more than
step

a century. Internal

planning

forward with the introduction of

passages that parallel the rows of rooms, permitting

and from the four corner stairways


and around parts of the square without passing
circulation to

through some of the rooms.


Pierre Lescot

(c.

1515-78) took a further step

in

establishing the vocabulary of French Renaissance


style

with his work for Francis

1547-59)

at

and Henri

II

(r.

the Louvre in Paris. His design for one

side of the square court


stories

and an

attic

was

(begun 1546) with two

a florid version

of

classi-

cism that became highly influential.

113

Chapter Seven

7.8 Francois Mansart,


Grande Salle, Chateau
de Maisons, 1642-51.
Elegantly correct classi-

cism defines the formal


entrance hall of this
chateau. The

Roman
and
show a

Doric columns
related detail

degree of restraint
relieved

mental

by the ornaceiling

and

sculptured bird above

The color

is

white

throughout

7.9 Salon, Pans


lie

hotel.

St Louis, Pans,

eighteenth century.

An

elegant interior with

subdued rococo ornamentation and color.


The harpsichord at the
right has

mented

an orna-

leg base

and

painted imagery on
side

and on

of the lid

114

its

the interior

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

architectural trim,

ments.

grand

moldings, and pedi-

pilasters,

stair,

white, richly carved

in

all

entrance from the street

marble, leads up to a sequence of rooms, each

that

opening into the next, each an elaborate but

service quarters, with the

display piece.

While such

seem overbearing

in

(mostly

houses

chilly

aristocratic interiors

eighteenth-century)

may

smaller

richness, the

their

by

built

powerful and wealthy families, the so-called hotels of


Paris

and

few other French

cities,

with their

house

on

either side

and
main house facade facing

(fig. 7.9;

on the lie S. Louis, the Hotel


begun 1640) was an early but

major work of Louis Le Vau


in

France and Spain

stables, carriage house, kitchens,

the court. Nearby,

Lambert

on

a gateway opening

is

forecourt between twin buildings

in

7.10 (below
(

1612-70), a key figure

the development of French architecture

decoration.

It

and

has a grand stair in the space behind

left)

Louis Le Vau,

Vaux-le-Vicomte, Melun;

by Charles

interiors

Leburn, 1656.

Rococo

interiors, follow parallel stylistic trends

more modest

on

Royal favor was the source of power and wealth

and those who had access

to

it

wanted

to live in

circumstances that recalled royal living

and

interior decoration

Carnevalet in Paris
also

furniture.

1655,

now

by Francois Mansart,

Although

is

in

style

The Hotel de
Museum),
good example.

the City
a

have been

interiors

its

subjected

to

various renovations and redecorations, they highlight the

riors

way

was

in

which the grandiosity of royal

adapted

to

the

life

styles

of

inte-

the

Antoine
II

in Paris

or Jean

main facade

of a square court.

at the rear

formal rooms

From

rectangular,

Sully

(c.

1630-40) on the Rue

S.

was probably designed by lacques

du Cerceau. Using

a favorite plan, the

This

bedroom was

intended for the king

octagonal, oval, and,

should he make a

and narrow gallery. Each room


opens into the next except where small stairs and

The canopied bed

in

one

case, a long

provide

passages

some

for

around bedrooms and

private

for the use

circulation

of servants.

Some

of the rooms have survived unchanged, their rich


gilded plaster decoration surrounding paintings by

various

artists.

names given

The paintings provide

to the

the fanciful

rooms: Cabinet de I'Amour or

Cabinet des Muses. The painter Charles Lebrun


(1619-90) worked with Le

aristocracy.

The Hotel de

its

the top of the stair there extends a sequence of

scale.

men

collaborated

Vau

important

later

the

room by a

railing,

thereby establishing
privacy. The elaborate

detail of the

opening

and
and

frame, the painted

sculpted

ceiling,

ornate chandeliers
expressed the symbolic
status of the king.

7.11

(fce/ow)

Ground

plan of Vaux-le-

projects

The

an alcove

in

area fenced off from

and the two

here,

several

in

stands

visit

Vicomte, Melun, 1656.

spectacular chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, at


The ground plan of the

the south edge of Paris (figs. 7.10

was designed by Le Vau

for Louis

Finance, Nicolas Fouquet.

It is

and

7.11; 1656),

XIV's Minister of
gardens

set in vast

chateau shows the oval


salon that bulges from
the garden front of the

building

and forms a

planned with geometric order by Andre Le Notre

focus for the various

(1613-1700), whose work established the French

rooms of the

approach to landscape design. The chateau has

Elegant ceremonial

interior.

bedrooms open

in

bulging oval central bay that houses a salon, the

sequence, but there

windows

of

no provision

mirrored

doors

which

overlook

opposite

are

the

garden.

Its

and

set

arched

circulation. Stairs

connecting

bqtween

Corinthian

Above a classic
ceiling dome, an upper

pilasters.

entablature and below the

is

for private

levels are in

unobtrusive secondary
locations.

+^
Cfratui tiaUon

^1

i
GjjU di

m^,

.i 9'<^

Ir

"..."">

ifl

f f

o.lu

par

Cour

If

I'V.^ '.'

^7,

I,,:lr ,l Olxn,

115

"

Chapter Seven

of windows

level

is

and

figures

plaster

surrounded by sculptured
ornamental

The

garlands.

sequence of rooms includes an overwhelmingly

bedroom intended

rich

choose to

and

visit,

dressing and bathing

game

for the king, should

purpose rooms for

special

even

a billiard

had become popular

that

as

room

for the

an aristocratic

pastime. Vaux-le-Vicomte's interiors have survived

with

little

change

even the kitchens are

intact

On

time of Louis XIV.

Louis'

chateau, he was impressed with

obvious

cost. Investigations that

removal of

owner

its

its

first visit

to the

beauty and

and the

transfer

where they were put to work

trans-

forming the royal palace. The oval exterior form

and the

vast extent of gardens with long vistas,

and

waterways,

established the

fountains

Baroque

Vaux-le-Vicomte

at

qualities of

Louis XIV

French land-

scape planning.

work

Louis xiv

in the

designated as Baroque. In

moved

style

fact,

comes from the


is

often

French design never

to the extremes of complexity

tion that characterize the

it

and elabora-

Baroque work of

Italy,

south Germany, and Austria. Even at

its most rich


and heavily decorated, there is a certain reserve, an
emphasis on logic and order, that makes it possible

till

his death, as

His

own apartments, and those

might never

made

projects as the palace

is

certain that such vast

and gardens

at Versailles,

'

and

dull, close, stinking

finish

same

the reign of Louis

observation:

The Queen has only two rooms ... a bedchamber


and a drawing room-in the first she sleeps, dresses,
prays, chats, sees her Sister or any other person
who is admitted to privacy. She has no room for
even a Closet to put her Close Stoole
[chamber pot] in which always stands by her

solitude, nor

bedside.

Another Versailles
similar lines

in

courtier,

Mme

Roland wrote along

the 1770s:

Legrand, one of the Dauphin's ladies

slates]

roadways

ating

focusing

on

town with

the

palace

radiitself,

demonstrate a Baroque love of grandeur used as

those of the Archbishop of

Paris,

lent

and so close to

that the prelate had to be careful lest

his

we should

hear his talking, and the same applied to us. There


were two rooms, meanly furnished
.with an
approach rendered horrible by the darkness of the
passage and the smell of the latrines. ^

a
1

tool for the glorification of the king.

was under the tiles [roof


opening out on to the same corridor as
It

the related replanning of the whole

distinguished

of the Queen, are

visitor to Versailles in

the

Mme

it

us her apartment.

used,

the

upon the monstrous


defects of a palace so immense and so immensely
I

and Baroque phases of the Renaissance and moved


directly from the High Renaissance into the Rococo
and Neoclassic phases that foUowed. Whatever
is

mien

the King Bee

inconvenient to the last degree,

to argue that France simply skipped the mannerist

terminology

for a brilliant Court. In

his figure, his courage, his

Towards women his politeness was without parallel.


Never did he pass the humblest petticoat without
raising his hat; even to chambermaids that he knew
to be such
He treated his valets well, above all
those of the household. It was amongst them that
^
he felt most at ease

XVI,

of the Renaissance in France,

men

grace, his beauty, his grand

Mrs Thrale, a

Baroque
latter part

was made

midst of other

dear.

Since

it.

its

of the designers, Le Vau, Lebrun, and Le Notre to


Versailles,

was the wonder of all who saw


The
Due de Saint Simon, a courtier, recorded amusingly
and pithily in his memoirs what life was like there:

him

followed led to the

(to prison),

Louis XIV, the Sun King of France, created a palace at


Versailles that

to

provide a particularly fine display of interior design


in the

Louis XIV and Versailles

he

Memoires of the Due de St Simon,

1902),

p,

216;

2. Ibid,

p 229;

trs,

Bayle St John (London,

3. Ibid, p.

212:

4,

Quoted

m Ml.

Kekewich, Princes and People 1620-1714: Anthology of Primary


Sources (Manchester,

Versailles

994),

p.

73;

5.

Quoted

the Deluge: Parisian Society in the Reign of Louis

At Versailles

(fig.

Sun King commissetting that would justify

7.12), the

sioned the creation of a

his self-ordained status as the leader of victorious

armies, the world's most powerful figure. Interiors


were of staggering opulence. Marble walls and
floors, stucco decoration, painted walls,

and

silver

116

paneling

and furniture of gilded bronze or


were designed by Le Vau and Lebrun. In

ceilings,

pp.

25-6

in

Evelyn Farr, Before

XVI (London,

994),

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and

Spam

7.12 Engraving of
Versailles,

showing the

chateau and the

gardens beyond.
The famous palace,
seen

m this

seventeenth-century
engraving, was the
result of

many years of

expansion and reconstruction.

It

turns

its

front face to the boule-

vards that radiated

through the town and


Its

other face to the

vast gardens planned

by Andre Le Notre.

1668, shortly after Le Van's death, a second phase

level

of elaboration was undertaken by Jules Hardouin-

of a balcony. There

is

a clerestory at the level

of

room

that

and windows at
each level that flood the space with light. With the
largely white and gold color, the space is remarkably

overlooks the gardens, the Galerie des Glaces

(fig.

bright.

Mansart (1619-90), a nephew of Fran(;ois Mansart.

He was

responsible for the great gallery

where mirrors on the inner wall face the


windows that overlook the garden. The painted
7.14)

ceiling (by

Lebrun) and the

trim

tectural

generate

gilt

and marble

room of

archi-

spectacular

somewhat unimaginative,
even monotonous concept and detail. The adjacent
anterooms, the Salon de la Guerre and the
grandeur

in spite

of

its

symmetrically matching Salon de


a

la

Paix, each

huge oval decorative panel above

place

and mantel. The rooms are

have

a lavish fire-

rich with

gilt,

marble, paintings, mirrors, and chandeliers. They


are, like the

ot

the

other seemingly endless formal rooms

palace,

showcases

for

the

the

more

of

XIV produced.

splendor that the style of Louis

Among

extremes

interesting spaces in the vast

the painted, vaulted ceiling above,

the chapel
level

and

known

as the

central space of

surrounded by an arcade at the lower


colonnade of Corinthian columns at the

is

reminder that the music of such

and Couperin was

performances here,

first

theater

Lully,

in the

as well as

which was not completed

reign of Louis

until 1770

iti

the

XV.

Louvre
At the Louvre in Paris

(fig. 7.15),

to achieve a city palace

Louis

XIV aimed

comparable to Versailles

through extensions and renovation of the existing

somewhat

diverse

Rooms such

conglomeration of pavilions.

as Lebrun's Galerie

1662), a long, barrel-vaulted

and painted decoration

d'Apollon (begun

room with

(a

sculptured

forerunner

to

the

Galerie des Glaces at Versailles), brought the inte-

from

tall

given

riors

"Entertainments Room." The

is

Rameau,

as

begun 1689) and

the theater or small opera house

gilded organ case at the gallery level

altar

composers

wings added to the palace by Hardouin-Mansart


are the Royal Chapel (fig. 7.13;

The

above the

up

to royal standards. Bernini

Italy to

was summoned

prepare designs for a renovation that

would convert the

exterior to a suitably

structure. His three successive attempts

found "too

Rome

Italian"

and so

too much

Baroque

were each

like the palaces

failed to please the king. In

of

1665

117

Chapter Seven

7.13

Jules

Hardoum-

Mansart and Robert de


Cotte, chapel,
Versailles,

1589-1710

The royal chapel,

in the

north wing of the


palace, has

an arcaded

lower level and an


upper,

columned

for the king

and

level

his

royal retinue There are

windows at both

and

levels

in the clerestory

above

to provide

daylight Gilding

ample
is

used with restraint

for

the railing balusters, for


the altar

and organ
and in the

case above,

detail of the vaulted


ceiling

and painted

half-dome. The floor

is

of colored marbles laid


in

geometnc

patterns.

The ceiling fresco

is

the

work of Antoine Coypel

(1661-1722), and the


marble altar
to

is

believed

have been by Van

Cleve.

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and Spain

7.14

Vau and

Louis Le

Jules Hardouin-

Mansart, Galerie des

Chateau of

Glaces,

from 1579.

Versailles,

Charles Lebrun was the

prime designer of the


interior detail

of the

Galerie des Claces (Hall

of Mirrors). The simple


basic design of this

huge gallery was given


its

elaborate character

by the many mirrors


along one wall, which
of the

reflect the views

garden through the

windows opposite and,


at night, the light of

innumerable candles.
Richly colored marbles

and gilded plasterwork


detail

ennch the walls

while the barrel-vaulted


ceiling

was painted by

Lebrun

in

flame-colored

and amber

tones with

elaborate allegoncal
scenes celebrating the
early years of the reign

of Louis XIV. The floor

is

of patterned wood

parquet

7.15

Louis Le

Vau and

Charles Lebrun, Galerie


d'Apollon, Palace of
Paris, after

the Louvre,

1661-2.
The long

here,

of

gallery,

which one end

is

shown

has a barref

vaulted ceiling covered

and

with sculptural

painted decoration

cele-

brating legends of the

sun-god Apollo-the
reference to Louis as

"sun-king"

is

obvious.

Lebrun recruited a

number of artists
work under
to

to

his direction

produce the

many

images required. The

room was
ished

left unfin-

when

doned

the

Louis aban-

development

of the Louvre
Versailles.

in

favor of

The walls

were decorated

in

related style, following

by
Eugene Delacroix with
Lebrun's designs,

many paintings and


much gilt

119

Chapter Seven

7.16 Jacques
Lemercier and Francois

Mansart, Church of
Val-de-Crace, Pans.

1645-1667.
Baroque

In this French

church, the chapel of a

great hospital, a spectacular baldacchino

above the altar

chal-

lenges the magnifi-

cence of that
Peter's,

m St

Rome. Bernini

provided the design

dunng his stay in Paris,


and the six twisted
Corinthian columns

were the work

(c.

1658) of the sculptor


Gabriel Le

Due

Bernini returned to

leaving

Italy,

it

to

Claude

and amateur architect, to provide the design which was finally built in
1667-70 as the east facade of the Louvre, often

Baroque Churches

Perrault (1613-88), a doctor

called the

"New

Louvre."

It

has a simple base with a

XIV produced churches


tural style

which Roman architecFrench terms. Among


the Sorbonne 1 635-42 in

was recreated

in

in

long colonnade of paired Corinthian free-standing

them

are the church for

columns above. This forms

Paris

by Jacques Lemercier (1585-1684). This has a

either side of a
pilastered,

a kind of loggia

on

pedimented entrance element with


projecting end wings. The

slightly

general effect

is

more

strictly classical

than the

plan symmetrical about tvvo axes to emphasize two

major entrances, one from the

from within the

college.

street

The

and the other

similarly

domed

work of Louis XIV's era and indicates a turn


away from Baroque ostentation to the increasingly

church of the hospital of Val-de-Grace

reserved Neoclassicism that was to follow.

Jacques Lemercier. During his stay in Paris, Bernini

earlier

120

Aside from royal building projects, the age of Louis

in Paris

(fig.

7.16)

(begun 1645) was by Franc^ois Mansart and

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and

7.17

Spam

Jules Hardouin-

Mansart and Liberal


Bruant, Church of Les
Invalides, Paris,

1677-1706.
The church that forms
the central element of
Les Invalides

has a

tall

central space topped

with a great dome, the

work of Hardouin-

Mansart The

interior

is

of grey stone, except for

painted panels with

and the
and gilt of the

gilded edging

painting

dome

interior.

The

windows high up in the


drum below the dome
light the

dramatic

space with
effects

of light

and shadow.

^X5 t^^>
1^

prepared the design for the baldachino

at

Val-de-

not unlike the huge baldacchino at St.


Peter's in Rome, but has six twisted Corinthian
columns (two more than Rome), each topped with

Grace.

It is

of an angel. The most spectacular


and best known of these Parisian domed churches
a gilded figure

is

S.

Louis des Invalides

(fig.

7.17;

1677-1706)

now the tomb of Napoleon, attached to


hospital and home for disabled veterans by

the church,

the vast

Hardouin-Mansart. The central space,


than

it is

shell that

wide,
is

is

open

topped by
at

dome

far

higher

with an inner

the top, permitting a view

up

to

painted upper shell that receives light from

windows

that cannot be seen

from the main floor

below, and creating a dramatic effect of space and

can be called truly Baroque. The some-

light that

what overbearin grandeur of the space has made it


an ideal setting for Napoleon's monumental tomb,
which
well.

is

now

The

classicism

placed below the floor in a central

design of these churches leads French

toward the

later S.

Furniture

and Furnishings

Furniture

made

Genevieve (see

p. 129).

to suit the interiors of Louis

XIV

and town houses shared the giant scale,


heaviness of structure, and rich ornamentation that
palaces

121

Chapter Seven

Complex candle

stands were of various types

gueridons, candelabra, and Torchiers. Mirrors

were made

in various sizes, with carved

and gilded

frames similar to the richly ornamental frames


used for paintings. Small mirrors were often placed
in decorative

side

frames with candle brackets on either

forming an illuminated looking

glass called a

Girandole. Clocks, valued more for ornament


and the status they implied than for time-keeping
(fig. 7.19), were favorite elaborate centerpieces on
mantels, along with statuary (often busts on
and ornamental vases. The harpsichord
was developed to a peak of technical excellence by
makers such as Blanchet, Stehlin, and Pascal Taskin
pedestals)

(1723-93). Their exteriors reflected the furniture


styles

of the time, and they often had fine paintings

on the underside of the

lid.

Colors tended to be strong and bright reds,


greens,
great

and

violets,

profusion

as

along with gilded trim in as

could

be

afforded.

importing of Chinese wallpapers began


7.18 {above) iean
Demoulin, commode,
France, mid-eighteenth
century.

Chinese lacquer
cates

indi-

Ctiinese imports that

became

of the period.

Oak and walnut were

the usual

woods, but inlays and applied decorative trim used


exotic woods such as tulip and zebrawood,

Marquetry,

interest in

tlie

characterized the architecture and interior design

gilding,

and

Chairs tended to

silver.

be square and massive, with arms,

and backs

seat,

current in eigh-

teenth-century France.

upholstered. Andre-Charles Boulle (1642-1732)

The gilded metal

was a

Rococo decoration and


florid

shape set off the

simplicity of the marble


top.

The owner was

maker to Louis xiv. He


the design and making of Armoires

favorite cabinet

specialized in

(large door-front cabinets that served the functions

Commodes

of closets) and

once the Due de

units

with

Chateau de

inlaid

ornament

Chanteloup.

shell, brass,

Choiseul at the

7.19 Musical
France,

7776 clock

invariably

drawers,

decorated

pewter, and

silver; fig. 7.18);

known

became a

ornamental

element

in

interiors

of the eigh-

anstocratic

for the use of

Ormolu,

a technique for

gilding bronze ornament that was then attached to


the corners and edges of furniture. Mercury was

heated to plate the

gilt

onto the

cast

bronze trim

teenth century. This

a process that generated poisonous

example

disastrous results to the workers using

is

in gilded

elaborately

sculptured

in

that

it

was

costly in

human

probably added to

its

its

The

fact

role as an element of status

display. BouUe's

face to suggest

four sons and the term

its

basic

Boulle has come

his

to be

clock-

identified with his style of work.

maker Michel
Stollewerke provided
the

it.

lives as well as materials

workshops were continued by

simple white enameled

The

fumes with

Rococo

taste with only

function.

tops were

clock,

favorite

bronze

with

in marquetry often using ivory,

often of richly colorful marble. Boulle also became

755.

(table height storage

mechanism

within,

Along with

this

heavy and elaborate furniture,

smaller objects followed parallel

stylistic directions.

similar to a musicbox,

that marked the hours

by playing

122

tunes.

came from chandeliers using metal,


carved wood, and crystal in various combinations.
Lighting

at this

The
time

and gradually became a favorite element for rooms,


giving them an oriental, exotic flavor. Tapestries,
especially those from the Gobelins workshops,
were favorite wall hangings, while Aubusson and

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and Spain

Savonnerie carpets of woven wool sometimes


covered floors that were otherwise bare parquetry,
or marble, usually in simple, geometric

stone,

much

patterns. Since
this era

of the movable furnishings of

has been dispersed, replaced by later reno-

vation or

removed (even destroyed)

time of

at the

on the
comes

the French Revolution, the best information

character of fomplete interiors of the day

from
taking

The

illustrations.

artists'

Abraham

engravings

of

Bosse, for example, depict various events

place

the

in

furnished

richly

rooms of

upper-class homes.

Regency to Rococo
Between the death of Louis XIV

in

1715 and the

XV when

beginning of the reign of Louis

he came

of age in 1723, there intervened a regency which

name Regence

gave the
are

that

transitional

defined periods of Louis


the

to the decorative styles

between the more

work of the Regence

XIV and XV.


is

clearly

In general,

heavy, clumsy, and

less

overbearing than that of the earlier period. Curving

forms became more commonplace; for example,


the gently S-curved leg shape called

came

The

into use.

Cabriole

Juste-Aurele

artist-designer

Meissonier (1695-1750) published more than 100


engravings showing wall panel decorations, candlesticks,

and furniture designs

that

make

7.20

Paris Hotels

use of

Cross-sectional

engraving of the

flowing curves, asymmetric ornament, and details

Military losses in wars with England led to financial

based on the natural forms of shells and

constraints

interior of the

Chateau

de Petlt-Bourg, France,

foliage.

on

With such
Versailles and the

royal building projects.

His work was a key influence on the design of the

vast projects as the palaces at

Regence and the periods that followed.

Louvre and the domed churches such

The

of Louis xv

style

identified with the

1723-74)

(r.

is

usually

term Rococo, which describes

the decorative style that characterized the later

phases

French

of

Regence

classicism.

design

developed most strongly in the

wealthy

flowing curves.

It

and

light,

florid,

design of interiors and the associated elements of

and

of the Louis

related decorative arts. Architecture

XV

era

moved from Baroque

exuber-

ance toward a more restrained classicism, finally,


deserving

the

stylistic

designation

Neoclassical,,

rooms within can better be described ^s


Rotoco^ French Rococo design was quickly
imported and imitated in Austria and Germany

while

and had considerable influence

in

England

as well.

Francois Cuvillies was a key figure in carrying the


style eastward.

and renovation of

Rococo

delicate,

furniture

Hardouin-Mansart complete, the time of Louis

His work in Munich such as the

Amalienburg Palace Pavilion


French Rococo in spite of its

is

a masterpiece of

German

location.

of

XV

was more concerned with modest design of town


houses, smaller royal projects, and the completion

with

became more

as those

style.

interiors in the

In Paris,

and

many

powerful

more

delicate

large houses built

families

under

by

royal

patronage are interestingly varied in plan and


generally richly decorated in

Rococo

style.

Comfort

became a major issue in the discreet private


accommodation of the elite (fig. 7.20).
Gabriel-Germaine

Boffrand

living

(I667-I754),

Paris as a forecourt of oval shape with services

and side and with the


curved facade of the house proper at the rear.
around

it

at the front

Rooms of unusual shape such as a pentagonal


room and stair hall are neatly fitted into the

The salon on the


floor

first

of this luxurious

house has

rich

Rococo

detailing, including

paintings,

fine

and even a

mantel,

small fountain to the


right of the
breast.
floor,

On

chimney

the second

the level of prin-

cipal bedrooms, the

paneled detail

is

simple

except for can/ing

above the door On the


third level, inside the

pupil of Mansart, planned the Hotel d'Amelot in

fitted

eighteenth century.

mansard roof, bare


rooms and shelves for
storage indicate the
territory

of children and

sen/ants. The

basement

chambers are stone


vaulted.

anteinge-

nious plan that provides for convenience and


privacy. In 1735 Boffrand designed an oval salon

123

Chapter Seven

was inserted into the eadier Hotel de Soubise


(fig. 7.21). Windows, doors, mirrors, and paintings
are surrounded by gilded Rococo ornament
applied to white paneled walls and a pale blue
that

ceiling.

the

The

disporting
a

basic shape of the

filigree

on

of

sculptured

floral

huge central

and

shell

room
and

simple, but

is

gilded

cupids

ornament, along with

crystal chandelier,

all

repeated in

different facades relate to the

and

reflect its plan.

four

Corinthian

composed with

golden section. Within,

examples of the Rococo


hall

stone. Florid detail

the iron stair

To

the north side of the gardens of Versailles, the

built in

(fig.

7.22) was

1762-8 to the designs of Ange- Jacques

Gabriel (1698-1782).

It

was intended

as a

modest

house where members of the royal family could


escape

from

the

pomp and

ostentation

Versailles. Externally, the four similar

7.21 Gabriel-

Cermaine Boffrand and


Salon de

la

Princesse,

Hotel de Soubise, Pans,

1735.
The oval room, known
as the Salon de

la

Pnncesse (Princess's
Hall), contains elabo-

rate

Rococo

mirrors,

details,

and paintings

by Natoire (1700-77).

An ornamental

clock

is

placed on a marble

mantel White plaster


cupids cling to the
gilded ornamental
detail at the edges of

the ceiling,
crystal

and a

ornamented

chandelier hangs in the


center of the room. The
ceiling

is

blue but the

walls are paneled in


white.

124

rails,

is

''^'f|*'*^f

of

but subtly

are

are

superb

The

restricted to the

stair

metalwork of

monogram

inserts

hanging candle lantern-chandelier.

soft, pastel

tation

spaces

the

style at its best.

with gilded

living spaces are each

small palace called the Petit Trianon

pilasters),

simple square lined with cream-white

is

astonishing display of Rococo virtuosity.


Petit Trianon

(or

system of geometric proportions based on the

and

Charles-Joseph Natoire,

columns

elegant simplicity controlled by a

kaleidoscopic fashion by the mirrors, makes this an

The

surrounding gardens

Three of the facades, each with

paneled in

wood

colors with restrained surface

The

painted in

ornamen-

white and gold. Simple mantels with

in

mirrors above are flanked by wall bracket candle


holders.

Two

dining rooms, one larger and one

smaller, each have circular elements centered in the

parquet

floors

that

were

originally

elevators

arranged to lower the dining table into service areas

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

In

France and Spain

7.22 Ange-Jacques
Gabriel, bedchamber of

Mane

Antoinette, Petit

Trianon, Versailles,

1762-8.
The low-ceilinged room
fitted into

level

a mezzanine

of the Petit

Tnanon, which became

a favorite retreat

for the

queen. Simple paneling

painted

a pastel tone

in

sets off the

7.23

Lit

France,

casement

c.

la

turque,

1765-70.

windows, which gave a

Flowing curves

view over the gardens.

elaborate carving char-

The

acterize French

furniture, with its

relatively simple

eighteenth-century

neoclassical forms,

is

furniture design,

typical of the era of

Louis

XVI

(r

and

and

the Rococo taste for the

774-92).

exotic generated furniture that


to

was designed

suggest one or

another faraway form

of luxury. Couches that


invited reclining

became
for the

favorite objects

rooms of the

homes of the wealthy


and aristocratic.

below, where servants could clear the table and

out

set

next course without intruding on the privacy

of the royal party by entering the dining rooms.

The bedroom
Antoinette
is

is

that

a small

was

by

occupied

room on

mezzanine

Mariefloor.

It

an elegant example of the Rococo, both simple

and

rich; its

paneled walls are painted in pale grey

with white and gold carved detail, while the marble

surround

fireplace

with

above

mirror

curtained bed, chairs, and drapery are

golden yellow colors.

Much

the Petit Trianon

the

(1728-94)

is

who became

all

and

in related

of the interior detail

in

work of Richard Mique


a royal favorite after the

death of Louis XV. The Petit Trianon

may

be

regarded as the peak expression of French Rococo


design,

while

also

beginning

to

turn

toward

extended
developed

Neoclassicism.

seat for lounging:


in

mality and comfort

Regency and Rococo Furniture


The

furniture of the Louis

XV

(fig.

furniture was also developed, along with various

period follows the

patterns developed during the Regence. Along with


the introduction of curving forms, a

both furniture types

new concern for infor7.23). More varied storage

response to a

new interest

in

and desks. The Drop-leaf


and RoLLTOP (Bureau a cylindre) desk were
types of writing tables

developed in response to functional needs.

comfort developed in such types as the Fauteuil,


an arm chair with upholstered seat and back and

Rococo to Neoclassicism

open padded arms. The Bergere was a somewhat


larger arm chair with enclosed and upholstered
arms and, usually, a loose seat cushion. The

Under Louis xvi

Canape was a small upholstered sofa, and the


Chaise longue was an upholstered chair with an

survived

toward

in

(r.

1774-92), Rococo design

combination with

the

Neoclassicism.

more

academic

Gabriel's

work

further
reserve
at

move
of

Versailles

125

Chapter Seven

7.24

Francois-Joseph

Belanger, Hotel

Baudard de
Samt-James, Place

Vendome, Paris,
c. 1775-80.
The grand salon of a
palatial Paris house

has been decorated

and
and

with white paint


gilding, mirrors,

paintings

in the ceiling.

The rondels over the


doors,

an ornamental

and

fireplace mantel,

candle chandeliers

complete the image of


fashionable luxury. The

parquet floor includes a


central sunburst motif

Furniture

is

absent but

would, no doubt, have

been

in the

Rococo

neoclassical style to

match the other


of the room.
rate

An

detail

elabo-

mantel clock

is

small but suitable focal


point.

(including the theater-opera house) and the well-

known

twin facades facing the Place de Louis

XV in

or Reeding, while a

new awareness of

ancient

typical.

design developed as knowledge of the work discov-

Speculative real estate developments such as Jules

ered in excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum

Paris

(now

the Place de

la

Concorde) are

its

(beginning in 1748) spread. Even ancient Greek

buildings around a great central square, provided

design began to be known, so that Greek orna-

elegant living apartments for the affluent. Behind

mental

Hardouin-Mansart's

such elegantly

1690

Place

Vendome,

classical fronts, various buildings are

placed with no special regard for the formal facade.

details

connection
draperies,

were introduced to further the

with

ancient

previously

rare,

classicism.

became

richly decorated

and

common;

redecorated according to changing fashion

(fig.

yellow, often with trimmings of fringe

Inside,

rooms were often

Rococo rooms of simple shape with paneling


in quiet, pastel colors and surface ornamentation
of carved curvilinear ornament were typical. The
furniture of the Louis XVI era takes on a more
rectilinear and geometric quality than its predecessors.
Mahogany became increasingly popular.
Carved and gilded detail is typical, but the carving
7.24).

126

tends toward parallel bands of molding, Fluting,

colors included crimson red

Window

increasingly

and golden

and tassels.
The Revolution of 1789 put an end to period styles
based on royal patronage and encouragement,
although a number of politically agile architects
and designers managed to survive and resume their
careers in the post-revolutionary climate.

The
(

named

DiRECTOinc
form of governmentthatinl794^

post- revolutionary style called

for the

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

followed the Reign of Terror^ was developed under


the influence of Georges Jacob (1730-1814)

more

XVI

straight

and

lines

Egyptian

details

make

Roman

stiff

ancient

Roman

designs

and suggested

military power.

The Empire

Style

are

details

Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt often appeared.^

The Directoire and Consulate styles precede the


Empire stylb, which took its name from the selfproclaimed elevation of Napoleon I to emperoi
status in 1804. The partnership of Charles Percien
(1764-1838) and Pierre-Francois- Leonard Fontaine*
(1762-1853), who had met as architectural
students in Paris and Rome, led architecture and
interior design under the emperor's patronage.

Window

They

intended to

French
are

reference to the Revolution: the

tricolor, clasped

common

motifs.

hands, swords, and spears

When Napoleon

came

to

power

in 1799,

larity,

creating a sub-period sometimes identified

as

the

such references increased

Consulate

surfaces

draper)'

came

in popti^

style. Egyptian motifs and*

military elements that could be

and

draper)'

Spam

forms and

based on Greek and

Ornamental

precedents.

imitate

period, but attempt a

austere classicism, with rather

France and

and brocades arranged with valances and trimmings to suggest spears and lances. Tables with
metal tripod bases and marble tops were made to

who

had been a cabinet maker with commissions from


the court of Louis XVI. His designs follow the
general style of the Louis

in

identified

covering

with

wall

into increasing use, with striped silks

are often thought of as the

interior designers as that

first

professional

term has come to be used.


7.25

Salon deJeux,

Chateau of Compiegne,
near

1785.

Paris,

This room, associated

with
IS

Mane Antoinette,

of simple, neoclas-

sical Louis

XVI

style

but

has been furnished


later in the
style.

Empire

The black and

gold of the cabinets,


the simple stools

and

card tables, and the


eagle-topped mirror

suggest the end of the


eighteenth century

and

the trends of the early

nineteenth century.

127

'

Chapter Seven

7.26
and

Charles Percier

vv'ere generated by architects,


and craftsmen whose work came together
through cooperation rather than under unified

Previous interiors

Pierre-Francois-

artists,

Leonard Fontaine,
design for a room

in

the Chateau de

direction. Percier

Malmaison, Pans, 1801


(room completed

manner of modern

1812)
In

rior

famous

inte-

inte-

control in the

interior designers. Publication

illustrations of their designs

their

designers Percier

and Fontaine show a


room suggestive of an

tries,

elaborate tented interior

full

made
work widely known not only in France but in
Germany and England and other European counof albums of

a publication of their

works, the

and Fontaine conceived of

rior spaces developed under their

the

with various

and furthered the popularity and imitation of


Fascination with Pompeian
style.

Empire

themes, the introduction of military and imperial

war-like trophies as

references,

decoration in the

Empire style

to

honor

the achievements of

bedroom at Malmaison
was completed by the

and

to blend luxury with a

rigor are the typical qualities

of their work. At the palace of Fontainebleau, suites

Napoleon. The Empress


Josephine's tent

and an intention

sense of sternness

of rooms were redesigned by Percier and Fontaine

Charles Percier and Pierre-FranpoisLeonard Fontaine: The Empire Style

Napoleonic fashion. Pompeian red

in the

walls,

and black and gold furniture

gilded trim, mirrors,

designers in 1812.

The redecoration of the house of banker M. Recamier


by French architects Charles Percier and PierreFrancois-Leonard Fontaine gave birth to a

new

style in

France entirely suited to the warlilce nature of the

times and the taste of Napoleon

I.

At the chateau of

room

called the Cabinet de I'Abdication.

with a semicircular end and walls of green

and gold

silk

held by vertical golden rods,

workroom

Chamber

wife, Josephine, that


...

role, status,

the form of a tent

supported by pikes, fasces and standards, between


which hang trophies of weapons, recalling those

used by the most famous warlike people

in

the

concern for keeping

sort

effects displayed the


strict control

over

the structure and decoration are closely connected;

they cease to appear to be so there


[F]urniture is too
defect in the whole
if

is

much

part of interior design for the architect to remain


'

indifferent to

The Empire

not find favor with everyone,

Mme

de Cenlis, an acid commentator on all things


modern, criticized the craze for chaises longues that

had been

initiated by

Mme

Recamier:

ladies should cover their feet

Decency demands
that, the smallest

and even the


[foot-cover]

it

Napoleon might have occupied on

that

like

feet

Besides a pretty couvre pleds

a very decorative ornament-people

do without them these days, but nothing looks so


sloppy.

The

tent

theme

led to frequent use of

loosely draped fabric along walls

The Lit en bateau,

a large

virtual tent of fabric,

was

and around beds.

bed surrounded by

a favored furniture type.

based on the classical orders is rare in


Empire design, although the library at Malmaison
has Doric columns of polished light mahogany
Detail

to support the flat

ceiling. Dignified furniture

domes of

was often finished

the
in

black with gilded details such as carved eagles and

Fasces, the bundled sticks that were the symbol of


power of the Roinan emperors. A gold N initial

appears everywhere as a reminder of the emperor's

reclining.

movement may uncover the

legs.

is

when

because, stretched out

occupancy of Napoleon's

and character apparent in every detail


A bedroom at Malmaison was

which appear

it.

style did

(fig. 7.26),

would make her husband's

all

aspects of interior design and furnishings:

and

was

designed to suggest a luxurious tent interior of the

battlefield.

architects'

it

himself.

of every room.

world.

The precision of the decorative

emperor

At the chateau of Malmaison near Paris


create a setting for the

at

Malmaison:

seems suitable to adopt

for the

they undertook a redesign of interiors in order to

blanche. Fontaine described the military-style

It

A room

designed as a

Malmaison, Napoleon gave the architects carte


decoration designed for the Council

outfit the

identity.

was

The

rich red considered to be

a favorite color, along with black

lacquard's invention in

pattern-weaving loom

Pompeian
and gold.

1801 of the mechanical

made

possible the quantity

production of damasks and velvets with motifs

such as wreaths, rosettes, or the bee, a symbol


1

Percier

quoted

in

and Fontaine, Recueil des decorations


Joanna Banham

(Chicago, 1997),

p.

942;

ed,,

interieurs,

1812,

English Interior Design, vol, 2

2. Ibid; 3.

Mme

de Cenlis, Memoires, 1818

chosen by Napoleon

as his

own. Background colors

were deep brown, green, and dark

red; the small

pattern elements were in bright colors. The inven-

128

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

church

of

S.

Genevieve

Paris

in

7.27;

(fig.

in

France and

7.27 Jacques-Germain
Church of

Soufflot,

1756-89), designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot

(1713-80) and built as a royal project, became,

Pantheon, a secular

after the Revolution, the

hall

honoring great men. The pedimented facade and

dome and

high
rior

became

for subsequent Neoclassical

Pans, 1756-89,
Originally built as

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736-1806) worked

monument was converted to


a pantheon, honoring

ancient

British classicism in

mind as precedents

highly personal type of Neoclassicism that guided


his designs for thirty-seven toll

of

and use of wallpapers,

usually with patterns similar to those used for


textiles.

Scenic wallpapers

sometimes with groups of

also

figures

came into use,


and architectural

or landscape views that resembled fresco painting.


Printed paper borders were also used in

much

in successive period

which are

names, there

is

Paris

Only

(1785-9).

houses for the gates

four

(including the circular Barriere de


his influence,

have

survived

la Villette)

but

extended by the 1804 publication of

his designs, has

remained and has attracted strong

interest in recent years.

His approach to interior

design can be studied in the detailed engravings


that

show

the magnificently Neoclassical interiors

for the theater at Besani;:on (1775-84).

A
reflected

a strong styl-

striking

example

Empire architecture
(fig. 7.28;

is

of

1804-49) in Paris,

twin facades by Gabriel. The church, a work of

(fig.

7.25).

The

great

The

cross,

with ambulatones

around. There

is

all

a high

dome at the crossing


and lower saucer
domes over each arm of
the plan. The marble

patterned

floor,

paint-

ings in the pendentives

domed center,
and statuary groups
of the

function.

point at the

a focal

domed

periods

a Greek

the church of the Madeleine

through work of the Louis XVI, Directoire, and

continuity in the Neoclassical theme that flows

Empire

IS

for

interior

mental current

post-revolutionary

end of the Rue Royal, the grand avenue that begins


at the Place de la Concorde and passes between the

istic

plan

domed

support the monu-

the

manner of architectural trim moldings.


In spite of political changes

Roman and

Revolution, and became an exponent of a

the

increase in the production

had

history. Soufflot

under royal patronage, avoided execution during


the

of cylinder printing techniques led to an

church, after the revolu-

the great of French

building.

tion

S.

Genevieve (Pantheon),

tion this massive

the cold magnificence of the inte-

model

Spam

7.28 Alexandre-Pierre
Vignon, Madeleine,
Pans, 1804-49.

Designed

to

the

fit

imperial ambitions of

Napoleon and the


nation that he

led,

the

Church of St Mary

Magdalene was

origi-

nally going to be called

the Temple de la Cloire;

1813 it has been


known as the

since

Madeleine The three

domes of the
admit

light

interior

through

oculae at the center of

each The intention was


clearly to

ancient

suggest an

Roman

basilica

monumental
building, and huge
or other

Corinthian columns

support arches, while


smaller Ionic columns
carry galleries

mented

and pedi-

side chapels.

129

Chapter Seven

Alexandre-Pierre Vignon (1762-1828), was designed with the intention of reproducing a

Corinthian

peripteral

temple.

Roman

interior

Its

Corinthian hall topped by three

is

domes on

flat

pendentives with oculus windows. Although no

Roman

such ancient

has survived, the

interior

neo-Roman

space has the rather chilling effect of


imperial grandeur

no doubt

to

Napoleon's

taste.

Provincial Style
While

styles

developed

of French Renaissance interior design


of the powerful and

service

the

in

wealthy, citizens of modest

means had

make do

to

with rooms and with furniture that continued the

Middle Ages.

functional craft traditions of the

When

bourgeois middle

of merchants,

class

craftsmen, and professionals began to emerge in


the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were

an increasing number of householders

who wanted

and who could afford

comfort and

luxury.

It

is

a rising level of

not surprising that awareness of the

elegance that was enjoyed in chateaux and palaces

began to create

a taste for

something

even

similar,

if

more modest scale. As the makers of furniture,


textiles, and all sorts of household goods became
aware of this demand, they began to develop prodon

ucts designed to satisfy

which the high


larger public

styles
is

history of taste

it.

"filter-down" effect in

of the aristocracy influence the

a well-recognized pattern in the

present. In France

a pattern that continues in the


it

was the impetus

for the devel-

opment of the style now called French Provincial.


The term "provincial" imphes a rural country style,
but Provincial furniture became the norm of both
country and town dwellings of those who felt able
7.29
in

the

to take a small step

(fop) Provencal

7.30 {bottom)

now
Musee

displayed

Provencal bed-sitting

Fragonard,

room;

kitchen;

the

Crasse, France.

rich

now displayed in
Musee Fragonard,

typical

is

of those that would

Rooms

have existed

would have been found

in

the

similar to this

country houses

south of France

in

between the sixteenth

south of France

and nineteenth
centuries.

The

in

the

the

eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The

tiled

stove offers improved

carved fireplace

means of cooking, but

surround and mantel

the open fireplace on

introduce a degree of

the right survives in

its

elegance, while

elements from the high

and

simplifies

florid

and

(apple,

a hand-

cherry,

was

an

wallpaper covers the

keyholes,

walls.

usually small

the

smoke hood.

130

simple striped

or pear,

important

alcove.

detail

XIV

or

XV

tends to be
is

usually

for

example).

large

storage cabinet with double doors, the armoire,

than the moldings

is

always takes

from veneered) wood, most


often oak, walnut, or one of the woods of fruit trees

along the lower edge of

There

them. Carved

it

of Louis

curvilinear, but the material

no ornamentation other

role.

styles

solid (as distinguished

some bed fits into the


arched and curtained

traditional

7.29 and 7.30).


somewhat from one

(figs.

Provincial furniture varies

region of France to another, but

Crasse, France.
This kitchen

toward the grandeur that the

and powerful enjoyed

display

suggested Rococo design in

its

piece

carved

that

usually

details.

Metal

hardware, such as hinges and escutcheons around

added decorative

detail.

Chairs were

and simple: ladder backs, rush

seats,

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

who

developed a

and tied-on cushions were commonplace. Chairs


with some upholstery in seat and back followed the

plateros

vocabulary of florid ornamentation.

From about

form of high style examples but with simplification


of detail. As clock mechanisms became affordable,
tall clocks with wood cases in carved, Rococo form

1475 until 1550, ornamental

from

became important display and

made

Furniture

smiths

France and Spain

7.31

Diego de

Siloe,

choir with high altar,

details

Italian

work intermingled with Moorish details to form a


distinctive mixture. Granada Cathedral (fig. 7.31;
Gothic structure, was detailed in
a
1529),

Granada Cathedral,
1529.

double aisled nave

leads to an east-end
choir in the form of a

rotunda. Classical

1495-1563)

forms are used with rich

Germany

with classical moldings and column capitals and

decorative detail typical

Empire

the huge iron screen or reja that guards the royal

popular Biedermeier

in the

nineteenth-century

early

in

style

status posessions.

silver (or gold)

in

Plateresque style by Diego de Siloe

(c.

of the Plateresco

combined

the Neoclassical direction of

German peasant
name from a German

design with forms borrowed from


furniture.

The

style

cartoon series that

German bourgeois
set

by French

Empire

took

made

a joke of the habits

trends

for

It is

a fine

characteristic of Spanish

example of the metalwork


church

interiors.

of the

elegance, consisting of simple

the

particularly

middle-class

was

furniture

Biedermeier

chapel there.

that tended to follow fashions

stylistic

Made

style.

its

style.

considerable

of

and

public,

practical

forms

which carried restrained ornamentation. Various


used, often of lighter colors (maple,

woods were

elm)

or

birch,

chests

and

painted

black

with

Marquetry ornamentation

is

details.

used in some larger

was generally

cabinets. Seating furniture

upholstered, usually with cover fabric of velvet,


often striped. Matching upholstery and draper)'
fabrics

were popular. From

its

German

south

the Biedermeier style spread northward,

base,

and into

Austria and Switzerland.

Spain
The Renaissance

in Spain developed

importing of ideas from

Italy

and,

through the

much

later,

through influences from France. In Spain, these


stylistic directions came into contact with the
Spanish

preexisting

that

traditions

mingled

European Gothic architecture and the architecture


and design of Islamic (Moorish) culture. The term

MuDEjAR

is

used to describe work of the

late

Middle Ages and early Renaissance (from about


1200 to 1700) in which Moorish and Christian
traditions are intermixed. The geometric ornament
that appears in

wood,

plaster work,

and

tile,

and

the use of bright colors (reds, greens, and particularly blues

and white)

are

Mudejar

characteristics

that influenced subsequent Spanish design.

Plateresco
The term Plateresco
the

early

thought,

Spanish
of

its

is

used to identify work of

Renaissance

relationship

to

because,
the

it

is

work of
131

Chapter Seven

Desornamentado

hung with

Around

known
never

a new and more reserved style


Desornamentado appeared in the

1500,
as

completed

Alhambra

palace

in Toledo.

circular central court

and were sometimes


was a minimum

usually of stone or plaster,

of Charles

The plan

is

at

the

cloth or leather. There

of furniture, which was of generally Italianate character with

little

ornamentation, and which served

practical functions with

concern for comfort.

little

a square with a

surrounded by two

levels

of

Churrigueresco

colonnades of slim columns, Doric below and

The somewhat academic classicism of


belongs to the High Renaissance, a

The following and tmal phase of the Spanish

Spain in only one

Churrigueresco, extends from about 1650 to


1780 and parallels Baroque and Rococo styles elsewhere. The term is derived from the name of Jose
Churriguera (1665-1725) who was a major expo-

Ionic above.
this building
style

most

clearly

developed

in

and

vast building, the Escorial (figs. 7.32

Commissioned by

Philip

Juan Bautista de Toleda


7.32 Juan Bautista de
Toleda and Juan de
Herrera, monastery

and

in

Rome

II, it

was begun

(d. 1567),

7.34).

in

1563 by

who had

studied

with Michelangelo, and completed in

1584 by Juan de Herrera

(c.

1530-97).

around

It is

huge

known by

Renaissance,

nent of the

style. It

the

against

the

term

stylistic

can be understood as

austerity

of

a reaction

Desornamentado,

of

an

extreme reaction which led to surface ornamenta-

palace of San Lorenzo

rectangle that holds, arranged

de

courtyards, a monastery, a college, a multilevel

tion of the

church, and, projecting from the rear, a royal

most

palace.

The plan is said to be intended to suggest


on which St. Lawrence is supposed to
have been martyred. The exterior is a symmetrical,

as that of the Sacristy of La Cartuja at

the gridiron

7.33;

Arevalo and Fray Manuel Vazquez, where the walls

sternly simple block of grey granite with towers at

are covered with

each corner. Within, the innumerable rooms are

decoration that overwhelms the basically classical

The austerity of the

arranged around courts to serve varied functions.

forms of columns and entablature. In the Gothic

Spanish Renaissance/

The

library of the

cathedral at Toledo, Narciso

and

Italianate

El

Esconal, near

Madrid, Spam,

1563-84.
The engraving reveals
the extent of the vast

complex,

known as

the

Esconal, which includes

fifteen inner

most exuberant and colorful


examples are

striking

1713-47),

in

,a

Granada

designed

possibly

The

sort.

church interiors such


(fig.

by Luis de

frosting of plaster sculptural

a palace, a monastery,
a

college,

and a church

monastery

is

ornate, colorful,

Baroque can be seen


here in
form,

its

and

most extreme
the plan

is

said to have been

based on the gridiron


on which St. Lawrence
was martyred. The grey
granite used imposes

in

style,

while the great

domed

church, simple and dark except for an elaborate


reredos behind and above the

altar,

an ominous quality that seems to

mous Spanish

communicates

relate to the infa-

on the solemn aspect of

same period. This


one building dominates the Desornamentado and
served as a model for the austere, simple, and stern

the building.

interiors of lesser buildings of the time. Walls

its

own somber quality

Inquisition of the

were

insert

(completed

Tome

1732)

in

designed an

known

Transparente, which was placed so as to

sacrament displayed there

window

(the source of the

tory where
itself is

the
the

through a small

name) from the ambulaThe window

passes behind the altar.

it

almost

lost

Churrigueresco

surrounds

visible

as

make

and

it,

in

the vast complication of

ornament
that
upward into the vaulting

sculptural
is

piled

where a kind of dormer, itself surrounded with


sculptured and painted ornament, admits light that

beams down on the Transparente itself in a highly


theatrical fashion. Such extremes of Spanish
Baroque design found their way to Latin America
along with the Spanish conquerors and became the
basis for the religious architecture and design of
those regions.

Furniture

and Other

Interior

Features
Furniture of the Spanish Renaissance

i_iiS3^ti^IHHtIlfl

simple, often almost crude, with

its

is

Italian Early Renaissance. Chairs, tables,

^1^^
132

and chests

common.
made with

of walnut, oak, pine, and cedar were

Massive arm chairs were sometimes

generally

basis in the

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and Spain

7.33

Luis

de Arevalo

and Frey Manuel


Vasquez, sacristy of La
Cartuja, Granada,

Spam, 1713-47.
The overwhelming decorative plasterwork of

the Spanish Baroque

an example of the
ngueresque

is

chur-

style at

its

most extreme. The


underlying forms of
classical architecture

are totally lost in the

not of surface ornamentation.


IS

hard

Such an intenor
to classify as

related to Baroque.

Rococo, or Mannerist
directions. It

seems

exist outside

any such

to

orderly classification.

133

Chapter Seven

7.34 Juan

Bautista de

Toleda and Juan de


Herrera, the church of

the Esconal, near

Madrid, Spam,

1574-82.
The

domed church

at

the center of the

Esconal complex, with


Its

high altar and nchly

painted reredos and


vaulted

ceiling,

stands

within a space of grey

granite of a most

solemn, even ominous


quality- Philip

II,

the

king whose project this

had a palace area

was,

extending behind the

church and arranged


for

hidden windows

be built into

to

his

bedroom so that he
could have a view of
the altar from a location

high up on the

right.

134

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo

in

France and Spain

7.35 Spanish

and back hinged so that the chair


could be folded flat for moving about. The
Vargueno (fig. 7.35), a special development of
stretchers at front

vargueno, seventeenth
century.

This cabinet with a

Spanish furniture makers,

is

writing cabinet that stands

on

a drop-fronted case or
a separable base.

drop-front could be

The

used as a writing desk.


The body of the cabinet

front drops to provide a writing surface (supported

is

by pull-outs

in the base)

divided to provide

and exposes an

many

storage

interior

filled

with drawers

and compartments

compartments

for

the storage of docu-

ments and valuables.

and drawers. The closed exterior may be plain or

and locking the


makes the

Closing

decorated, but the interior

is

invariable richly orna-

mented with carved and often gilded detail, so


the door exposes an extremely

opening

internal display. Probably because of

its

front

contents secure.

that
rich

practical

documents and valuables


and jewels which had become

use as a container for

such

as

common

coins

possessions of the wealthy (with no bank

vargueno was often


and France where it can be seen

vaults for safekeeping), the

imported into
in the

Italy

rooms of chateaux and

Silk

brightly

weaving
colored

as

palaces.

developed

and

patterns

in

rich

Spain

used

embroidery,

often with threads of silver or gold. Textiles were


often imported from Italy, but Spanish manufacture of damask,

under

Low

brocade, and velvet developed

Communication with the


made Flemish tapestries available.

Italian influence.

Countries

Chair seats and wall hangings were often of velvet.


Leather was widely used as an alternative to

and Spanish leather

textiles,

charcoal as a portable source of heat to augment


open fireplace heating.
Under Charles V of Spain, Holland came under

Spanish

rule. In the

Low

Countries, Spanish influ-

centered at Cordoba

ences interlaced with ideas that flowed from France

and
became a
highly regarded Spanish export. Metalwork of high
quality provided elaborately ornamented candlesticks and wall brackets while candles remained the
only source of artificial light. The brazier, a metal
container on a metal stand served to hold burning

and from northern Germany where the Protestant

specialized

in

embossing

leather.

crafts

finishing,

coloring,

Cordovan

tooling,

leather

Reformation developed

Roman

as

an alternative to the

church. With England close across the

English Channel and with trade between these


areas active,
into

it

was inevitable that

England would take

will deal

place.

a transfer of ideas

The next chapter

with the resulting developments in design.

135

Renaissance to Georgian in
the Low Countries and England
The northward movement of Renaissance ideas
continued into Holland and Flanders (now the
Netherlands and Belgium) and to the British Isles.
The movement of ideas, unlike the movement of

expressed through the growth of Calvinism, with

goods or peoples, does not need to flow in a


continuous stream, but can make leaps in both

churches

space and time.

sentative of Catholic traditions)

moved

that

Ideas

into these regions

originated

in

Italy

by way of Spain, France,

and Germany, but they were also conveyed directly


by individual travelers and by printed materials.
Increasing trade, both overland and by ship, meant
that an increasing portion of the population were
able to see

home

bring

its

opposition

doctrinal

thought

too

be

to

The

Catholicism.

to

imagery

religious

with

identified

closely

Revolt

Iconoclastic

in

which

were stripped of Gothic sculpture,


and other decoration (regarded as repre-

painting,

interiors plain,

left

white painted, and flooded with light from the

windows

clear glass

stained glass

of conflict,

work

that

that replaced the destroyed

During and

(fig. 8.1).

the

artists in

Low

after this period

Countries produced

documents the everyday

new

things in faraway places and to

in great detail.

ideas

from abroad.

often

show

life

of the times

BruegeFs paintings of peasant

scenes in taverns or farm interiors.

life

The

works of Jan Steen, Jan Vermeer, and many other


Dutch painters are full of wonderftilly detailed

Low Countries

images of the interiors of comfortable houses of the

middle

The Netherlands,

parts of Belgium,

and what was

formerly called Flanders developed a Renaissance


design vocabulary that

is

distinct

class

and wealthy burghers who

lived with

an interesting mixture of simplicity and luxury in


the

town houses of Dutch

cities.

from those of

neighboring regions. The complex political history

Civic Buildings

of the region, and certain distinctive traditions and

were factors that help to explain

Architects such as Cornelis Floris (1514-75) intro-

the special character of Dutch and Flemish design.

duced the use of classical orders into buildings that


were otherwise medieval in spirit, such as the spectacular Antwerp town hall (1561) or the Leiden

social conditions
{below) Frans

8.1

Hagenberg, engraving

showing Protestant
Iconoclasts in Antwerp,

August 20, 1566.


Protestants, in their

rage against
Catholicism, went on

The

political

religious paintings,

from the conflict between the power of the


Hapsburg Empire under Charles V (born at Ghent
in 1500), who was also king of Spain, and the influence of the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic
Philip

and stained
Churches and

in Spain, particularly
II,

religious teachings of Luther

damage.

In

House,

Hertfordshire, England,

from

508,
is

Jacobean English

was an

recall the hall

of

castles,

this "great

in

the form of the Inquisition, was

of ornamentation, making use of

fretting, strap-

work, and grotesque ornamentation in a style

illus-

trated in the books of Vredeman de Vries such as


his Architectura of 1577-81. Strapwork became

popular as interior ornamentation developed

wood
ings

carving and in plaster. Strapwork plaster

found

their

way

to England through the

work

of Dutch and Flemish craftsmen and gradually

exemplify

to

Early

Renaissance

design

The Mauritshuis
Jacob van

Campen

(c.

1633) at

who had

traveled

with

acquainted
but

(fig. 8.3;

The Hague by

to

the

1633-5), an architect

Italy

designs

where he became
of Palladio and

in

house" the

Scamozzi,

is

square block using a full-height

theme has been transformed by richly carved


woodwork and an

order of Ionic pilasters and a central pediment.

ornate painted plaster

interiors

ceiling.

The woodwork,

hanging tapestnes, and

Palladian in character except for

were destroyed

Classical pilasters

the simple tiled

rooms. There

is

It is

high roof The

in a fire in 1704,

but some

from the

set

of

done in 1652 by Pieter Post.


and molding appear in the major
an unusual windowed cupola

thirty-nine drawings

furniture contrast with


floor.

its

idea of their design can be gained

elaborately carved

136

in

ceil-

rich-

underlying intention to

medieval

especially

hall (1597)

there.

inte-

of exceptional

ness. There

1566, Protestant anger against repression,

by Lieven de Key (c. 1560-1627),


a native of Antwerp. The Leiden building mixes
classical pilasters and pediments with a local style

town

came

The Marble Hall

rior

and Calvin. Oppoemergence of the

Dutch nation, which eventually won independence


from Spain by the Treaty of Munster in 1648.

8.2 {opposite) Great


Hall, Hatfield

conflict with the

sition to Spanish rule led to the

monasteries suffered
irreparable

during the reign of

was brought into direct

sculpture,
glass.

century

resulted

regime

rampage destroying

turmoil of the sixteenth

^,*H

f
'ii>'i

i;\

%ciUfKV?

:?

fj(f?

:'<,^^

fc.--^^^'

^^

"

4^1

^y

Chapter Eight

above the coved ceiling of the banqueting

hall (fig.

on the upper story. This room also appears in


an engraving showing King Charles II of England
being entertained there as a guest in 1660. There
was close communication between the Low
8.4)

Countries and England; the designs of many seventeenth-century houses in England resemble the

Mauritshuis in their four-square simplicity and


classicism.

Private Dwellings
The unique
riors

character of Dutch Renaissance inte-

reflects

and

of the wars with Spain


a

powerful

Palaces
types,

circumstances

several

special to this time

place.
left

The

that

were

political troubles

the Netherlands without

and dominating

aristocratic

class.

and chateaux were not important building

and Protestant churches aimed for simplicity


The dominant social class

rather than elaboration.

was made up of merchants,


sionals.

officials, and profesThey were prosperous, even wealthy, but

they lived in houses that did not strive for extrava-

gance and display. Awareness of Renaissance ideas

came from artists and musicians who went to Italy


to study and work, but there was no effort to
imitate or equal the great buildings of Italy and
France. Trade, carried on by the Dutch merchant
fleet, brought both knowledge and actual objects

8.3

(top)

Jacob van

Campen, Mauritshuis,

8.4

[center)

Philippe

P.

(after Toorenvl

let),

The Hague,

banquet at the

Netherlands, 1633-5.

Mauritshuis

This

house

is

a Dutch

version of the classicism

of the Italian

Charles

in

honor of

of England,

The Hague,
This

c.

1560.

engraved copy of

8.5 [right] Cornells de


Man, The Gold Weigher,
c. 1670-75.

Dutch merchant

is

shown conducting his


business in a room of
his comfortable

home.

plan. Ionic pilasters

based on a Palladian
on

shows a generally
simple Dutch interior

Wooden beams form


the ceiling, and the
floor is tiled in grey and

four sides of the square

with a few touches of

brown stone squares.

Renaissance,

and

II

is

Toorenvliet's painting

Renaissance decoration

The wall at the rear and

the center of the front,

on the walls and

the mantel shelf are of

and

block,

a pediment at

swags

in the

central upper gallery.

carefully crafted wood,

complete the neatly

Most of the ornamental

and painted

organized composition.

detail

decorative

IS

temporary

tiles

edge

the fireplace. The table

decoration for the

legs display the bulbous

festivity in progress.

forms of the Dutch

Baroque. The curtained


arch gives access
alcove bed.

138

to the

Renaissance to Georgian

by Dutch

merchant shipping, appear

covers, but only rarely

on

floors.

important part of Renaissance


Countries

the

fine

the

in

Low Countries and England

table

as

Music was an
in

life

the

Low

harpsichords and virginals

made by the Ruckers family in Antwerp appear in


many Vermeer paintings (fig. 8.6). They were
usually made, like violins or lutes, of thin, soft

wood and were

then painted or decorated with

patterned, printed papers. Chairs were similar to

and Spanish examples of the same period.


During the seventeenth century, massive

Italian

storage cabinets with rich Baroque detailing

came

into use. Since closets were not provided as part of

became

the fixed structure of houses, such pieces

important as wealth made possible the acquisition


of

much

clothing and objects of every sort. Panels,

carvings, rare

woods, and

classically derived details

8.6 Jan Vermeer,


Young Woman
Standing at a
Delft,
c.

Virginal,

Netherlands,

1670. National

Gallery, London.

The subject has been


playing the small

keyboard instrument, a
box-like case with

simple exterior but rich


painting within. The

room
IS

in

which

it

stands

of elegant simplicity,

with a black
tiled floor,

and white

a wall base

tiles, and a
window of leaded glass.

of painted

Only the

fine paintings

suggest the higher


status that the house
represents.

such as moldings and columns appeared in furniture.

Bulbous

Baroque

feet

details.

and

table

growing

were favorite

legs

interest in scientific

concerns, in exploration and discovery,

from remote locations. Oriental carpets and other

and

textiles,

Dutch

into

oriental porcelains,

were introduced

Chinese lacquer came into

interiors;

use as a furniture finish.

The

typical medieval

the Renaissance era.

Dutch house survived


w^as a

It

top

floor

between generally had large

tiles.

Wood came

trim

(fig. 8.5).

and

lary: plates

and

platters

display items, while


walls.

Tiles

were

tiles

some paneling or
made at Delft were

tiles

Dutch decorative vocabuwere treated as decorative


with painted images edged

usually

tile

white,

with

painted

and flowers most often

figures, scenes, ships,

blue. Usually each

glass,

to be used for

Pottery and

an

many

tiles

came

in

placed

without

spacious backgrounds, in a

always

objects

are

against

plain

interiors,

crowding,

way

that

and

communicates

comfort along with simplicity.

The Low Countries lacked both

quarries to

provide stone suitable for building and forests as

wood supply. As a result, Mek^t


some details, became the *
material. 'Wood was used only

sources of plentiful
wtt+i

stone restricted to

HMJor building
where it was indispensable,

as in roofs

and upper

floor structures.

in

of scenic wallpapers. Dutch

to be widely

knowTi and were often

exported to England and, eventually, to America.


Classical

Dutch

present

England

were also produced, providing

effect similar to that

tiles

charts.

carried a single image, often

with a decorative border, but large scenes painted


to cover

maps
Framed works of art are displayed
alongside handsome pottery, glassware, and silver
and

ence that stems from the rich variety of possessions

a floor of marble squares or

a distinctive part of the

globes,

various musical and scientific instruments,

or pewter containers. In spite of the sense of afflu-

advantage of the increasing availability of


plain white walls,

reflected

into

The living floors


windows that took

warehouse.

is

celestial

narrow, multistory

building where the ground floor was often a shop,


the

by the presence of world and

elements,

and columns

moldings,

The

familiar pattern of Renaissance

through

early,

development

middle, and late phases can be

traced in England, although stylistic terminology

breaks up each phase into subdivisions

named

after

appear as ornament on the exteriors of buildings,

successive royal reigns. English design was not as

but only to a very limited extent in interiors.

dominated by royal patronage as in the parallel


periods in France, and styles often overlap. The

Furniture was often large in scale and handsomely


detailed.
like

Beds were often enclosed

Dutch bed

spaces or,

in built-in,

when

box-

free-standing,

were canopied and draped. Oriental rugs, imported

usual period terminology


theless, since

it

is

is

retained here, never-

widely used even

if

occasionally

confusing.

139

Chapter Eight

command

British

of the seas and opened up possieconomic development that came froni

bilities for

international trade and, eventually, colonialism. As

power and wealth flowed into England, interesrtn


the arts expanded: not only the poetry and drama
of Shakespeare, and the music of William Byrd, but
also the developing arts of Italy, France, and Ae
Low Countries^ The transition from Tudor to
Elizabethan design is gradual with increasifl|;
emphasis on symmetry and classical concepts flf

more frequent introduction


detail. "Some well-preserved
house in Conway called Plas Mawr

planning, along with

of Italianate classical

rooms

in the

(fig. 8.8;

1577) seem medieval in their irregular

c.

shapes, low ceilings, stone or planked floors, and

leaded glass windows, but details of cornices and


stone carved trim around fireplaces have a classical
basis.

8.7 Long

Haddon

Hall,

Derbyshire, England,
c.

The

530.

The Renaissance
rior

inte-

includes detailed

paneling incorporating
motifs borrowed from
Italian

Renaissance

practice.

Such design

elements, along with

first

evidence of awareness of Renaissance

developments appears toward the

Middle Ages

Henry

Ceilings

of strapwork plaster reflect

tjjf

continuing contact with Holland and-Flandars.

Tudor

Gallery,

VII,

Henry

Edward

VIll,

Tudor is

Mary. The term

end

of the

time of the Tudor monarciis,

in the

and Queen-

VI,

often associated with the

appearance of half-timber

wood

building whicli

remained the usual Vernacular

style until

weiL

The recent reconstruction of the Globe Theater,


where Shakespeare's plays were first performed,
gives a good idea of what such a building was like.
It

was

circular (or octagonal) with a central area

(the "pit")
galleries

open

to the sky, while

surrounding

who

could pay for

provided seats for those

a better location.

stage in front

was

partially

covered by a shed roof. The construction was

the plaster strapwork of

the seventeenth century, but

the ceiling, reached

iivto

England by way of the

period

Low

in ornamentation, in trim

Countries. The

when

it

Italianate detail first

also defines the

began to appe^f

around doors and

fire-

medieval timber framing, and architectural orna-

mentation was minimal.

The

first fully

Elizabethan "great house" (as the

sparse pieces of furni-

places, in paneling,

ture present are of

typical

Haddon

Jacobean

character.

and in details of furniture.. At

Hall in Derbyshire, the typically medieval

agglomeration of building that

made up

this large

manor house was brought up to date by the introduction of a Tudor long gallery (fig. 8.7) which
approaches symmetry

windows along
8.8

(r/g/jt)

room, Plas Mawr,

craftsmen from the

of

many

Low

Countries),

and-weed

paneling where pilasters and arches can be seen in

This modest,

room has

been carefully presen/ed

was once
used by Queen
Elizabeth when she

arrangements suggesting Palladianism. Tihe room


dates

from about 1530, although some of the orna-

it

visited Wales.

made up

mented with strapwork ^(no doubt the work of

Conway, Wales,
c, 1577.

because

south side

introduces lage

small panes of glass, has a plaster ceiling orna-

Sitting

low-ceilinged

its

in its plan,

The

mental

detail

may be later. The


wood of the

oak, the primary

the dominant color tone.

paneling of

natu^

period, esUblishes

leaded glass windows,


stone fireplace, elaborate plasten/i/ork,

and

simple furniture are

Elizabethan

all

typical of the

Elizabethan intenor.

The Elizabethan
recognized as

era

defeat of the Spanish

140

(1558-1603)

is

generally

time of English greatness. The

Armada

in 1588-tebtibed

mansions, comparable to the French chateaux, are


called

in

Europe)

is

Longleat (begun

virtual palace designed,

it

is

1568),

thought, by Robert

Smythson (1536-1640) and built for Sir John


Thynne to be ready for a visit by the queen in 574.
The house is a near-square rectangle, symmetrical
1

Renaissance to Georgian

the Low Countries and England

in

8.9 Robert Smythson,


tong Gallery, Hardwick
Hall, Derbyshire,

England, 1591-7.

on the

The gallery

is

uppermost

floor

of one

of the most magnificent

of English Elizabethan
"great houses" Huge
windows in bays on the
right flood the

with

space

The walls are

light.

covered with tapestries,

and

the fireplaces

and

chimney breasts above


are of ornately carved

stonework

in

an

Italianate style. The

and most of

paintings

the furniture

is

of a

but the

later date,

plaster strapwork
ceiling

on

sides,

all

rior

with two inner courtyards. The exte-

divided into three stories by entablature

is

bands and projecting window bays are trimmed

Windows

with classical pilasters.

are

many and

large. The rooms are arranged in a complex plan,


Tudor in its irregular spirit, but fitted into the
order established by the exterior. Most of the inte-

riors

have been changed and redecorated over the

years so that a better idea of interior spaces can be

rior wall

is

largely

is

original.

window; other walls are covered

with tapestry, and the ceiling has restrained strap-

work

detail.

Other rooms at Hardwick are fine

examples of the Elizabethan balance of almost

modern

simplicity along with luxury

and grandeur.

Elizabethan Furniture
Elizabethan
earlier

furniture

differs

from Tudor and

medieval practice in the introduction of

smaller great house, probably also designed by

more carved, ornamental detail, and in the development of some new types of furniture. One such

Smythson.

was the caufiLjcujabaarti

had

six

Hardwick Hall (1591-7),

at

Its

symmetrical block

a rectangle with

projecting bays that rise one extra story above

roof level. The exterior


for

is

a considerably

moldings

at

without ornament except

is

each story level marking off the low

ground level, the middle height second level occupied by rooms for everyday living, and the highest
third level where the major ceremonial rooms are
located.

The towers extend above, ending

in

picturesque topping of strapwork ornament.


a double height

room with

entrance hall

is

which

medieval practice, but

four

recalls

Doric

detailed

correctly

is

The

a gallen'

supported by

columns.

Wood

paneling with tapestries above covers the walls;


fireplace detail

above

is

is

classical,

but the chimney breast

covered with plaster strapwork.

stairs lead to

the upper

level

where

Wide

a long gallery

runs the length of the building along one side


8.9).

This

room

is

(fig.

entirely symmetrical with twin

stone fireplaces and twin

window

bays.

The

exte-

actually an ap.a> shelf

unit with three tiers intended for the display of*

ornamental and serving pieces. The supports


and edges of the shelves were car\cd with a richness
intended to equal the silver on view. In large
houses, extremely large beds were made with a
silver

roof-like

wooden canopy supported by headboard

and foot posts

that often stood free of the

bed

In addition to simple square chairs with


less carving, chairs

itself.

more

were often made up of

or

many

main turned uprights


making a chair with a triangular seat. The ease with
which a turner can make Sw>ol an knob, forms
lathe turnings, often three

led to designs of curious complexity.

folding chair

known

as a

massive

Glastonbury chair

also

appeared, often with a carved back suggesting a

two-arch arcade.

Oak remained

the usual wood,

although ash, yew, chestnut, and other woods were

sometimes used. Upholstery was limited to an

141

Chapter Eight

Occasional cushion or

a covering of cloth,

Vlinies embroidered with Turkey-work.

carving, classically

strapwork show off the Jacobean mix of Italian and

were usually the natural tones of wood, stone, and


plaster,

8.10

Inigo Ione?(l 573-1 652) was responsible for

Jacobean
Its

acceptance of

Italian practice,

England

came

in the

work

of Inigo Jones. His


were put aside and only

House

built. Its galleried,

symmetrical

Me had

Renaissance into England.

The JacobeaA period (1603-49)

takes

its

name

from lames I, but also includes the reign of<#inii)6s


^l^iatfield House (from 1608) is an irregular

plans for a vast palace


the Banqueting

although symmetrical block, U-shape in plan.


really

itra

ducing the more consistent classicism of the Higl^

The high Renaissance,

two houses (intended

tion for the king

as guest

It is

accommoda-

and queen) hnked by a connecting

!taly#

\'isited

studied ancient buildings, and brought back some>

of Palladio's drawings to England. His

work

first

was as a stage designer for the royal entertainments,


called masques. His appointment as royal surveyor
(really official architect to the

government)

in 1615

major works. The Queen's House

led to his

at

interior,

with Ionic half-columns

below and Corinthian


pilasters above, demon-

block containing a "hall" in the style of a castle


8.2), a

long gallery, and

the exterior

strates his expert

handling of Italianinspired Palladion


detail.

<,,-

and dark greens.

1619-22

was

influences.,

plaster

Inigo Jones,

Banqueting House,

to

Dutch

and

fireplaces,

with details sometimes painted in rich reds

Whitehall, londo>i,

with

columned

someColors

The elaborate

windows.

Lyming

(c.

is

(fig.

many other rooms. Most of

quite plain red brick with large

central facade, the

1560-1628),

Italianate style with

is

work of Robert

of Italian marble in an

an arcade,

symmet-

a simple, totally

square block (originally an H-shape, later

with

in)

filled

white

plain

well-spaced

walls,

windows of moderate size, and a loggia with six


Ionic columns on the south side upper level. 5ones'

and, for

classicism included a continuing interest in forms

fantastic

related to the geometric perfection of the

in style,

frames paint-

the entrance element, classical columns.

ings by

Rubens

clock tower tops

off.

rical

is

pilasters,

ceiling, also Italianate

it

Greenwich (1616-35)

Within, elaborate paneling.

its

multiples.

The

cube and*

brackets supporting the balcony,

the elaborate ceiling with paintings in nine panels,


the geometrically patterned marble tiling of thf

and the

floor,

details^

ojL

.id.Qor_trames

M ,^^

Italianate?

Jones was the designer of a vast

new Whitehall

1638) that would,

have been the

Palace

(c.

if built,

more

equal of the Louvre or Versailles although

Only a small
the Banqueting House (fig.

rigorously classical than either.

frag-

ment was

8.10;

built,

room of double

1619-22), a single

with a strictly Palladian exterior.'

cube interior with

on

a balcon\"

story height

has a double

It

brackets, an ie w i c

order below, a Corinthian order abo\'e, and a


'

ceiling

with

paintings

surrounded by

Rubens

by

florid plaster

Queen's Chapel for

St.

in

panels

ornamentation. The

James's Palace (1623-7)

is

another Jones double-cube room with a coffered,


elliptical ceiling
altar. It is

that

so

and

a Palladian

window above

an early example of the

many

English

(and,

later,

churches were to take. Externally,


plain block except for

its

classical

it

the

form

American)
appears as a

temple-like pedimented

gable.

A larger London church by Jones, St. Paul's,


Covent Garden (begun 1630), is also in pedimented temple form.

It

has a

facing into the garden that

columned portico
was the center of a

full

planned group of row houses that has not survived.

The church seems

to have

been based on Vitruvius'

account of an Etruscan temple. Internally,

142

it

is

Renaissance to Georgian

plain rectangular

the

chamber

4i|pK and lohn

Webb

two formal

1648-50)

wing of

Crimson

silk velvet_

cushions

and gold

rooms

state

their geometric shapes, the single

cube rooms

'

painted

and

The

richly

ture, wliich

portraits

ornamented

the time of James

1603-25).

ornamentation,

It IS

(r

of basi

'^small-scale carved

and simulated drapery

series

of

design.

hang amid doorways and the


fireplace. CeiKngs are coved

Jjdiister ornamentation.

Cove

The

surfaces framed

richness of these

toward the Carolean and

rooms

bame
than

its

lighter

to be

more

for
use,

and'

legs

loose

or

Oak remained

silks,

the most popular

An

also used.

increase in

embroidered turkey-work,

velvet,

tapestries contributed to a sense of

and luxury

8.12).

(fig.

comfort

and

Elizabethan predecessors.

Ornamental cannng tended

used
into

wood, but walnut was

and

somewhat

often

came

used decorativeh^.

later periods.

lacobean furniture, although generally massive and

SBil)er in scale

~--

attached, often edged with ornamental nail heads

Interior Furnishings

aWltgfir-Hnefi,

were

Cushions

patterns

twist

detail.

athe turnings with spool forms or spiral

stretchers.

textiles,

Jacobean

furni-

ttiis

dates from

cally simple form with

with painted panels and

*^ints

called, for

cube and double

framing areas where paintings are hung.

Van Dyke

fringes enricli

walls are white with

carved

gilded

egarlands, bunches of fruit,


,

in

engraving.

in Wiltshire that contauis

and elaborate
(fig. 8.11).

England: shown

li^

(1611<-72) were respon-

the design ot a reconstructed


(

8.12 Jacobean
furniture, Knole, Kent,

English Gothic churches.

Wilton House

the Low Countries and England

a striking contrast to

many surviving

sible for

in

From Carolean to William and Mary

elegant in.

Cromwell's

Oliver

Puritan

Commonwealth government

rebellion

and

that followed

it

the

from
8.11 John Webb,

1649 to 1660 interrupted the royal succession and

return of Charles

II

in

double-cube room,

With the
1660, the Restoration
on

the stylistic terminology based

PERion (1660-1 702)' begins.

It

is

Wilton House,

it.

Wiltshire, England,

1648-50,

often subdivided

yvebb had been an

Carolean (or Caroline) period from 1660


168') and a William and Mary period from

into a
to

1689 to

17012.

assistant to Inigo Jones,


Tv/io

was the anginal

architect of the house,

which was damaged by


a

Wren

1647 The term

fire in

"double cube" refers to

The

famous

most

Christopher

of

simple form

met

portraits,

took
but

him

he

to

(where

Paris

he

lously decorated,

was cl^rly aware of

Italiart

small city churches that had been destroyed and foV


the old Gothic cathedral of

appointed

St.

Paul's. In 1669' he
gi\iiig
him
London and for

surveyor-general,

responsibility for city planning in

many important

architectural assignments.

coved

ceiling,

with lush paint-

ings by

Edward

Pierce

(c 1635-95). The

central oval provides a

view into a fantastic

dome. The gilded and

ornamented furniture
by William Kent (c.
1685-1748) suggests

an awareness of French
Rococo themes.

Wren's

work
combined with
his interest in French and Italian Baroque work td
produce a specially English vocabulary. While
and mathematical

is filled

and gold
Van Dyck
and a fabu-

with white
paneling.

chosen to design replacements both for the rmmy'

scientific

space The basically

a mathematiand astronomer, truly a

Baroque work when he moved toward architecture


as his major life work.' This happened after the
Great Fire of London in 1666; after which he was

was

the geometry of the

Sir

"Renaissance man." His only travel to the

continent
Bernini),

architects,

Wren (1632-1723) was

cian, physicist, inventor,


versatile

British

interests gave his

.^^//

a theoretical or logical quality; this

143

Chapter Eight

8.13 Christopher

often described as Baroque, Wren's design was

Wren, St Stephen,

always restrained by a sense ot order and discipliiK

WaUEirook, Lofidon,

that

1672-9.

London

In this small

Wren developed
a scheme based on a
church,

makes

Catholic

it

very different from the Baroque of

northern

south

Italy,

Germany, ^ob

Austria.

The many London

city

churches that

Wren

geometric progression

from rectangle

designed can be viewed as a set of textbook exer-

to

square, to Greek cross,


to

octagon

to circle,

dome

with a

cises in architectural

are based

on

geometry. Their varied plans-

and other combi-

squares, rectangles,

divided

into sixteen, eight

again sixteen

and

coffers.

The resultant space has


been called one of the

most beautiful

interiors

nations of forms, including polygons and ovals.

Each church steeple was given


a

study

in

S9*np are so

in existence.

arrangement

vertical

elements. Miwiy af H i t

hemmed

make their exteriors

unique term, each


ot"

on constricted sites as to
The church of St.

in

insignifican*.

Stephen Walbrook (1672-9), for example,


so that there
street.

is

classical

di ui tthes are very small, an^

is

placed

only a blank back wall visible on one

narrow entrance passage and tower

placed on another

street.

The

interior

one of Wren's great achievements


simple, rectangular space

is,

are

however,

(fig. 8.13). It is a

made complex by

the

introduction of sixteen columns arranged so as to


define a Greek cross, a square, and then, above, an
8.14 (below

left)

Section of

Paul's

St.

octagon.

^Cathedral, London,

1675-1710

Peter's,

was

to rival St.

Rome. The great

dome, ringed with

windows at the lower


drum,

IS

made

layers: the

of three

lower

dome

covering the interior

space of the crossing,


the structural cone

above,

and

the wood-

supported upper dome,

which forms the


exterior,

visible

a lasting

London landmark.

8.15

(far right)

Christopher Wren,

St.

Paul's Cathedral,

London, 1675-1710.

The

interior

of the

cathedral, with

dome

its

great

at the crossing

and saucer domes


covering the bays of the
nave, transepts,
choir, is

and

a spectacular

display of Baroque

grandeur. The vaulting


is

buttressed above the

by

aisles

half-arches,

which are
inside

nally

144

invisible

and hidden

by screen

is

itself

exter-

walls.

defined by eight

dome

coffered in

and sixteen panels before reaching


the small round opening into the lantern above.
This remarkable exercise in geometry produces an
sixteen, eight,

This vast cathedral

designed

The octagon

arches that support a round

Renaissance to Georgian

8.16 Planof

in

the

Low Countries and England

Belton

House, Lincolnshire,

^gland, 1685-8,
Hall

2 Dining room
3 Chapel

The plan

surprising in

is

that access to each

room

IS

only possible by

passing through an
adjoining room.

exceptionally beautiful interior lighted by oval and

arched windows.
'

Other London churches by Wren such

James's Piccadilly

and

as St.

St. Bride's, Fleet Street,

with

(wood and plaster) nave ceilings and


supported on classical columns, estab-

barrel-vaulted
galleries

the

lished

Renaissance

English

typical

many

design on which

later English

church

and American

examples are based. Wren's churches are usually


enriched
pulpits,

by elaborately carved altar reredos,


and organ cases, the work of artist-

craftsmen such as Grinling Gibbons (1648-1720).

facades, a tiled roof with dormers,

and

many chimneys,

a small central cupola. Stables, kitchens,

and

8.17 William Wmde,


Belton House,
Lincolnshire, England,

St.

Cathedral

Paul's

1675-1710)

8.15;

monumental and

the most

is

and

8.14

(figs.

best

other services are in outbuildings at one side. Eront

and rear doorways open

directly into the

two main

1585-8.
The "saloon" or dining

an English Baroque

formal rooms of the house, a marble-floored "hall"

room

is

Rome, with its saucer-dome


vaulted nave, choir, and transepts forming a cruciform plan with a giant dome at the crossing and a

and the formal dining room or "saloon" behind it


(fig. 8.17). Rich wooden paneling lines these rooms

cipal

rooms of this

with carving said to be by Grinling Gibbons. The

Wren but more prob-

twin-towered facade reminiscent of the Italian

saloon has a decorative plaster ceiling. These rooms

ably designed by

Baroque. The vaulting

convey

known of Wren's

works.

It is

rival to St. Peter's in

is

buttressed according to

a sense

of comfort and luxury that has been

Gothic practice, but high screen walls hide the

and present

dome

The

appearance.

arrangements. There
height

wood

William

lower inner

ingenious

dome

set at a

its

top.

is

provides no corridors or vestibules, so that each

room opens

into

its

With kitchens

neighbors.

in a

of the

internal

space

building.

oculus at the center of the inner

In

up

into the cone

(lit

dome

by hidden

windows) and into the lantern. Hidden buttresses


and an iron chain absorb the thrust of the stone

ments,

in

which formality outweighed conve-

nience, remained

commonplace

there are records of

two story levels,


the center of the front and rear

windows arranged

in

Edmund
is

typical

of the aristocratic

inte-

of the seventeenth

century.

Furnishings

carving was not unusual, sometimes lacquered or

the cone above.

to

Carpenter The ornate

Carolean and William and Mary Interior

symmetrical H-shaped block of sedate grey stone

at

Gibbons, although

eighteenth century.

There is no house that can be proved to be by


Wren, although tradition suggests that he may have
been the architect of Belton House (fig. 8.16;
1685-8), a handsome mansion near Lincoln. It is a

pediments

renowned wood

riors

until well into the

During the Carolean era, walnut came to be the


most used wood, often with inlays of ebony and
other woods. Cuived forms appeared in chair
backs and in the legs of chairs and cabinets.* The
cabriole leg with its gentle S-curve form began to
appear. Round tables came into use. Very elaborate

dome and

with simple

the

carver, Grinling

plaster ceiling

allows a glimpse

inner

have been the work of

outside door. Such seemingly impractical arrange-

silhouette

the

(d.

wood paneling may

with a lead top surface, achieves the

much

to

hidden

An

It

house

payments

relate

from view, a cone of brick


supports the wood dome and the stone lantern at
between,

imitated in later work.

interesting to notice that the plan of the

Wmde

722). The earned

higher dome, actually

skyline

striking

is

hides

also

much admired and

to

have been designed by

remote building, servants would have had to bring


food into the dining room directly through a main

planned to

below. Externally, a
built of

a strictly classical external

prin-

house said by some

buttresses

one of the

gilded.

and

An

increasing emphasis

practical

on luxury, comfort,

convenience can be traced

in the use

145

Chapter Eight

8.18 Engraving

of

work, previously only available as an import, was

furniture from several

developed

English great houses,

1660-1702, as shown
in

book

illustration of

in

England

an altsrnative form of

as

(fig. 8.18).

Highboy,

on

a drawer cabinet raised

legs,

1907.

popular, along with such inventions as


Left:

a silk-upholstered

chair from

leg

Hampton

The
btcame
the Gate-

surface decoration for furniture

table.

French weaving techniques were intro-

Court Palace; center: a

duced into England, and printed chintz began

chair from Hardwick

used for

Ml);

Hall (seep.

window and bed

to be

curtains.

right:

a silk-upholstered chair

Queen Anne

from Knole, a great

house at Sevenoaks,
Kent. The designs

span

periods from William

1689-1702)
Queen Anne
(r

(r

The

to Late Baroq\ie design

and the development of ^awer cbests)


previously almost unknown. Pottery imported

ticality,

from the Near

Wren's

desks,

from the Far East and


East

came

oriental rugs

into use in Restoration era houses as the

increasing sea

trade

of British merchant ships

brought such exotic materials into England.

From 1689
rate
John

Vanbrugh, the saloon,


Blenheim Palace,

now the
tiire,

retreat

from the elabo-

extremes of the Carolean period. Walnut was


preferred

wood

for paneling

and

matched

1705-24,
room, the stone

for furni-

veneer began t9 be used as a means of creating

decorative surface treatments with

Oxford, England,

In this

(1702-14) corresponds

in

contrasting

various

colored

patterns

wood.

with

wood

grain

edging

of

Decorative' lacquer

in

English architecture.

Furniture and interiors display a

new sense of prac-

modesty, and comfort. Architecture, in

contrast, continued to reflect

Baroque gvdadevttf

John Vanbrugh
and Nicholas Hawksmoor (16761734). Vanbrugh's Blenheim Palace (1705-24) was
successors

were

Sir

(1664-1726)

to 1702, during the reign of William

and Mary, there was some

left)

Queen Anne

more upholstery and the appearance of such


types as the Wing-back chaAi, various types of
of

1702-14).

8.19 [below

reign of

III

to

vast

and monumental gift to the Duke of


to honor his victory over France at

Marlborough

the Battle of Blenheim.

rooms,

its

Its

endless lines of state

huge three-story-high

gallery

(now

the

complex layout of kitchen and


stable courts make it a rival to Versailles. The classical vocabulary is pushed into original variations
library),

that

and

its

generate an active skyline and justify the

Baroque designation

broken pediments, roof top

detail of doorways

merges into the simulated architecture of

wall painting that


filled

is

with columns,

views of an
imagined outdoors, and

pilasters,

sculptural figures. The

elegant furniture seems

overwhelmed by the
space and

its

decora-

tion.

8.20

(far right)

Nicholas Hawksmoor,
Christ Church,
Spitalfields,

London,

1714-2a
The daring spatial
composition includes

columns supporting an
arcade, which opens to
side aisles

At

the

chancel end, columns

support a high bar of


entablature, intro-

ducing a sense of

Baroque complexity
into the otherwise

simple, flat-ceilinged

space.

146

^vWA^S

Q:^^^^c:'^vma(fci^

^*^^ (a^^^e^ /^Wi^LV ^^:*2^n>A

'

Renaissance to Georgian

the Low Countries and England

in

Room

8.21

from

Kirtlmgton Park, near


Oxford, England, 1748.
This room, referred to in

contemporary terms as

an "eating room, "

now

is

installed in the

Museum

Metropolitan

of Art,
offers

New

York.

It

a view of a more

restrained, yet rich

spacious

interior,

and

with

Rococo plastenwork
detailing by

Thomas

Roberts (171 1-71), a


local Oxford craftsman.

The painting,
oriental rug,

furniture,

and chan-

delier are suitable to

the period, although

they suggest a study or


library of the era.

obelisks,

and

interiors such as that of the "saloon"

(formal dining room;

fig.

8.19) of overwhelming

scale with illusionistic architectural wall

painting that

is

and

ceiling

highly theatrical.

Spitalfields, for

example (1714-29), has

huge and astonishing tower,

its

arched elements

stacked up with strange and disturbing overlaps

below a
flat

Inside, there

tall spire.

ceiling (fig. 8.20).

is

came

into wide use. Elaborate carving

and painted decoration still appeared in


more costly examples made for the houses of the
inlaid

wealthy.

Hawksmoor's designs for London churches are


ingenious, original, and forceful, with surprising
interior spaces and exteriors of great power. Christ
Church,

stretchers

and

a high

The columns on

nave with a
either side

open to aisles, originally with


now removed. At the chancel end, two

Georgian
In the design of residential interiors

George

(1714-27) and George

Georgian

carry arches that

the

galleries,

ending around 1750.

columns support

a bar-like entablature that spans

across the nave, complicating the space


a surprising
critic

and

theatrical sense.

and adding

contemporary

described this interior as "Solemn

& Awfull."

and

related

Queen Anne period merges with the


beginnings of the Georgian era, the dominant
style of eighteenth-century England. The reigns of
furniture, the

early

from

period

period,

II

(1727-60) cover

usually

defined

A handsome room
house,

lesser

as

of this

Kirtlington

Park

(1748), near Oxford, has been preserved in the

Museum

Metropolitan
walls

and

'

ceiling

are

in

New York

(fig. 8.21).-il8

covered with decorative

and
add color and

plaster -work painted white. Mirrors, paintings,

Queen Anne
Queen

Anne

Furniture
furniture

smaller, lighter,

pedecS8*s.

cushioned

a great gilded candle chandelier


is

generally

and more comfortable than

Curving shapes,

seats,

somewhat

wing-back

the

chairs,

cabriole

hiiid

k^

by a bent houp, a
;hat

were

(\'ith its

ust?.

back of slim turnings

wood saddle carved

usually

leg,

and practicd

secretary desk-book case pieces were in general

The WfNnsoR chair

it

turnings

with

seal,

and

turned

glitter.

drawing of the room by

Sanderson,

shows the

is

also part of the

ceiling design

its

designer, John

museum

collection.

It

surrounded by the four

wall elevations rotated into their relative positions.

The building of great houses

in

which the

influ-

ence of Italian Palladian practice often mingled


with references to ancient

mental

detail

Roman Pompeian

orna-

continued on the estates of the.

147

'

Chapter Eight

.William Kent (1685-1748), whose Rirni-

was used

ture

in the

Double Cube room

at

Wilton,

mentioned above, became a professional assistant


to his patron. Lord Burlington 1694-1753), in the
design of the great house of Chiswick (1725) at the

Adam and Syon House

Robert

domed

edge of London. This

is

clearly Palladian,

central rotunda

and facade

a free interpretation

of the Villa

portico based

on

its

a square,

building,

at Vicenza. The interiors use ornamental


work and painted details based on
Pompeian precedents.

Rotonda
plaster

Robert and James Adanfr

brothers.

work of the Adam


Robert Adam < 1728-92) was the design

^Wei" of

the partnership, while his brother, lames

Adam

by the

fine

was more concerned with the

(17.^0-94),

practical aspects of carrying out their projects.- The

Adams were Scotsmen who


London

tion in

construction,

came

Bedroom

of the 3rd Earl

of Bute

3 Main staircase
4 Secondary stans

room

5 Powder

6 Water

closet

blown

Adam
in

made

partly

engrav-

of Robert and

in

America

as

764 about

is

MaflVlftdaiifrprojects were reHOV9flOIft'6f pre^

Some weie

never completed,

some involved interiors only, but taken together


their work can be understood as a miittki/^^itgmttt
final phase of Georgian design. The house called
Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire (fig. 8.22; begun 1767)

much

are accessed

has been so

best be studied

altered that the

the plan

in

his

best calculated for the convenience

With subtle discernment, he noted one of the


principal differences between the French and the
English:

To understand thoroughly the art of living, it is


necessary, perhaps, to have passed some time
amongst the French, and to have studied the
customs of that social and conversible people. In
one particular however, our manners prevent us
from imitating them. Their eating rooms seldom or
never constitute a piece

but

lie

out of suit6, and

attention

is

in their

great apartments,

in fitting

them

up,

little

paid to the beauty of decoration. The

reason of this is obvious; the French meet there


only at meals, where they trust to the display of the
table for show and magnificence, not to the
decoration of the apartment, and as soon as the
is

over, they retire

company

...

It is

immediately to

not so with us.

Accustomed by habit or induced by the nature of


our climate we indulge more largely in the
The eating rooms are
enjoyment of the bottle
soon
considered as apartments of conversations
after dinner the ladies retire ... left alone [the
.

well.

corridor,
Earl's

Adam

men] resume their seats, evidently more at ease,


and the conversation takes a different turn-less
reserved and either graver or more licentious.
Despite Adam's undoubted

houses

the Classical

in

Montagu, a poet and

skill in

style,

creating beautiful

Lady Mary Wortley

essayist, trenchantly

doubted

their suitability:

design can

and elevation

that

Vistas are laid open over barren heaths, and

apartments contrived
Italy,

screened by

is

is

their style well

England and, eventually,

from a

bedroom

style

work

also

in the beautiful

in Architecture

(1773-1822)

in

The hall both in our houses


and elegance of life
and those in France is a spacious apartment intended
as a room of access where servants in livery attend. It
is here a room of great dimensions, finished with

entertainment

Rooms

although the

the French style

the rooms of

existing buildings.

Corridor

decorative

French Rococo work, moves

The Works

great detail

in

well as their decoration:

of examples of their work

James

but

character,

in

like

rooms as

toward the restraint of Neoclassicisnfw Publication


ings of

England, 1767.

and

to be greatly admired.. Their

Rococo and,

Moo, Bedfordshire,

building

architecture,

design,

but with a unique personal

Palladian

partly

8.22 James and


Robert Adam, Luton

with

interior

details efficiently

that

established a reputa-

for their abilit\' to organize large

dealing

projects

wrote

stucco, as halls always are.

Late Georgian-Architecture and interior design are

characterized

Adam

Robert

work remodeling Syon House for the Duke of


Northumberland. He discussed the function of various

but

killing in

for a coolness

agreeable

the north of Britain.

in

adjacent rooms.

Secondary stairs

connect

p,

to the base-

Quoted
145;

Wortley Montagu, Diaries,


Decor,

floor.

The powder

room IS to provide for


the powdering of the
wigs worn by
gentlemen at the time
within a

All of this

IS

classically

symmetncal

overall conception.

r-H
H

'

148

Peter Thornton, Authentic Decor, (London,

p.

983),

Robert and James Adam, Works in Architecture of Robert

and Jomes Adam {London. 1778),

ment kitchens and


servants quarters on an

upper

in

2.

88

vol.

I,

753, quoted

pp. 10-11,
in

3,

Lady Mary

Peter Thornton, Authentic

Renaissance to Georgian

in

the Low Countries and England

appear in engravings. The plan shows off the

Adams' concern for practical matters rooms do


not open directly one into another; instead a

rooms
The dining room has an adjacent
pantry with stairs to the kitchens below. The Earl's
bedroom can only be entered from adjacent rooms,
corridor runs the length of the building with

opening from

it.

but has a door leading into the huge library where,

one assumes, the Earl could choose a book for late


reading. Off the corridor, service stairs lead to
other floors and small compartments contain water
early

closets,

of

versions

Externally, a central portico

the

inside

toilet.

dominates the design

with screen walls on either side hiding the light


courts that gave light and air to

minor rooms.

At Syon House (1762-9), outside London, a


magnificent entrance hall

white with apsidal niches

grey and

(fig. 8.23), all

at

each end, leads into an

astonishing square anteroom where twelve green

marble
statue.

Ionic

columns each support

colorful marble floor pattern

in the beige

and gold of the

Etruscan style
ration

golden
repeated

plaster ceiling. At

Osterley Park (1762-9) nearby, there

sequence of rooms including

a
is

is

another

small parlor in

(fig. 8.24), that is,

with wall deco-

derived from Greek vase painting (then

Kenwood House
the

(1767-70), London,

most famous of Adam rooms.

is

probably

has a semicir-

It

Park, Middlesex,

cular apse at each end, screened off from the center

of

room

the

two

by

Corinthian

columns

supporting an entablature bar. The plaster vaulted


ceiling

and walls

8.24 James and


Robert Adam, Osterley

are a soft grey-green, with details

1762-9.
The ornamentation of

room

the Etruscan

Is

colored with earthy


yellow, umber, crimson,

thought to be Etruscan) and a wonderfully colorful


library

with

Pompeian

detail.

The

library

at

of Pompeian derivation picked out

in white, pink,

and gold.

Adam

designs for

London town houses, such

as

Derby on Grosvenor Square or


Portman Square (1770s), fitted a
complex layout of rooms into narrow sites with
great ingenuity. The dining room from Lansdowne
the house for Lord
the house at 20

House,

now

Metropolitan

marble

and black

tones. The

painting was done on

demolished,

is

preserved

in

the

Museum in New York, where Roman

statues

look

out

from

simple

niches

beneath delicate Pompeian plaster detailing. Like

Adams

many modern

designers, the

wide variety of

projects, including a small

coffee house, a

London

theater in

small country church, and a large

dealt with a

paper by Angelica
Kauffmann (1741-

and

1807),
artists

some

other

completed doors,

and
some

wall areas,

the ceiling with


very shallow
size

relief, ffle.

of the room

and

the scale of the orna-

ment

create a sense of

intimacy that contrasts


with the grander intethe house.

riors in

London

Drury Lane,

8.23
a

and complex

building for the University of Edinburgh that

is

masterpiece of intelligent and orderly planning.

Robert

(left)

James and

Adam, Syon

House, Middlesex,

1762-9,
The anteroom

is

a scene

of colorful grandeur
Twelve green marble

Georgian Town Houses

columns brought from

In contrast to such large

and spectacular houses,

more modest town houses were btiilt in thoughtfully designed groupings, often around handsomes
lanwtscaped squarea The Covent Garden development by Inigo Jones established a model for such
work in London, where land owned in large estates
by titled gentiy was laid out to form what would

Rome support gilded


statues.

Joseph Rose Jr.

(1745-99), an English
plaster worker,

was

responsible for the wall

and

ceiling decoration.

The colors of the marble


floor pattern mirror the

design of the

ceiling.

149

Chapter Eight

noA\'

be called speculative real estate subdivision^.

Houses weie planned


built

in well-coordinated

rows and

by developers to standard designs for

sale (r

lease) to individual buyers.

with various iron accessories until the development


of iron kitchen ranges at the end of the eighteenth

in

neighborhoods that had deterio-

rated into slum#. In the late seventeenth


speculative building

centuries,

replace such neighborhoods

lamps, although

occupied the floor above. At the top of the house,

rooms were provided

for live-in servants.

end of

Other Building Types

The Georgian

lesser streets,

rows of smaller houses were

and tradesmen.

On

artisans,

built for the families of

workmen,

and

along

with

stables,

coach houses, and servants' quarters, to

service

the

large

houses on major streets and

squares. In the Georgian era,

all

of these houses,

were of generally simple

largest to smallest,

and functional design, fronted in red brick with


painted wood window and door trim. The richness
of trim and detail was varied to match the class of
the occupants, but was invariably handsome,
and

orderly.

Such

Georgian

housing

remains an example of good neighborhood design


rarely equalled in

rather

modern

primitive

produced examples of a

included

clubs

where

converse, or doze in
Retail

settings.

gentlemen

They

could

handsome and comfortable

shops in towns and

floor of their proprietors'

were

cities

generally small establishments, often the

large, often

meet,

ground

homes. Shop fronts with

bowed windows of many

glass

and pleasantly designed signs gave access

panes

to inte-

were geperaUy lined with shelves and

cases displaying

and containing the wares on

sale.

theater developed into an enclosed

auditorium with balconies on three sides facing

stage with a decorative proscenium.

"back streets" and

lesser

still

mews, small houses were

era also

variety of other functional building types.

The Georgian

not

in ancient times, did

the century.

spaces.

logical,

known

into wide use in England until the very

riors that

built for sale to middle-class owners, professionals,

level

Georgian Furniture and Interior Furnishings


Within Georgian houses, according to the wealth

and

status of the owner, the basically plain

dignified
ceilings,

rooms were given

"^'^'^'Vfntal

and

plffiari

decorated fireplace mantels, and furnittw*

and as ostentatious as the occupant?


Paintings and mirrors, elegantly
framed, might hang on the walls, while windows

as comfortable

might

prefer.

received increasingly elaborate draper)' treatments.

The

taste

for exotic

from the Far

imports, particularly th(*se

designee
and cabinets might

East, influenced furniture

that actual imports, teak tables,

mingle with Chinoiserie carving of chair backs

times.

of

convenience

remained the norm, however. Water came from

hand pump, or from the collection of rain


water. It was carried to pitcher and basin in bed or
dressing rooms. Hot water had to be heated in the
kitchen and similarly carried. A bath tub, a luxury
present only in some larger houses, was a small,
portable affair set up in a dressing room and filled
with water carried by servants
it was probably

well,

150

come

Back stairs made it possible for servants to move


through the house without intruding on the formal

from

that

began to

and create new group-

row houses were built, usually four or


five stories high. The basements were occupied by
kitchens, laundries, and service facilities. The
ground floor was used for formal reception rooms
and, sometimes, a dining room. The floor above
held the largest formal entertaining rooms of the
house. Above that, large bedrooms occupied the
third floor; smaller rooms for children or guests

servants,

candles

Facing on the squares and major

society.

On

on

depended

required constant trimming and replacement. Oil

streets, large

small

Lighting

century.

and eigh-

ings of houses planned to serve a socially stratified,


class

burned wood or, as it became available, coal.


Cooking was done in a fireplace, possibly improved
that

to

medieval times,
teenth

had

from streams

older houses,* often dating back fo

Less wealthy classes of English society

make do with

closets" (toilets), supplied with water

or springs, appeared. Heat came from fireplaces

and

table legs. Vyallpaper

from China, displayed

nature and scenic landscape themes

Imported porcelain

(called,

(fig.

8.25).

of course, "china") was

fashionable for dishes but also for ornamental

bowls and

vases.

Handsome Georgian

candlesticks, boxes,

and other

silver

bowls,

accessories, often of

very simple design, were also favorite objects for


display, along with the useful

ware

for table service.

and decorative

silver-

In addition to imported

number of

made

only rarely used. In a very few eighteenth-century

ceramics,

houses, basins with running water and even "water

porcelains in florid ornamental designs, but simple

English

factories

Renaissance to Georgian

in

the Low Countries and England

8.25 Thomas
Sheraton, an engraved
plate illustrating the
'

w^Tw.Wt^A^\^\^ylV,<^^;A^\^\^^._\A^fA''A^Tf ?vyA^^^j^ v^ ^^^^^


'

?iis

south end of the Prince


of Wales's Chinese

drawing room, 1793.


Chinoisene, a fondness
for decorative detail

derived from imports

from China, was a

phase

in eighteenth-

century English mtenor


design. In this plate

from The Cabinet-

Maker and
Upholsterer's

Drawing-Book

(1793-4) only a few


details-the wall panels

at right

and

left

and

the wainscot detail

below them, and the


ornamental candlesticks

and figure-do

not seem

to

have any

strong relationship to

actual Chinese design,

but they serve

to inject

novelty into an other-

wise typically symmet-

ncal eighteenth-

designs also appeared.

made

the

in

(1730-95)

is

The

plain Queen's ware

of

factory

Wedgwood

Josiah

model of classic simplicity and pracproduced and still appropriate for

ticality,

still

modern

users.

English clock makers took great pride in the

by

gravity

pendulum motion
to deal with

weights

so that

and

regulated

means had

to be

by

found

the hanging weights and swinging

had veneer banding, and often satinwood


veneer in the keyboard area. Wheruj|ig>iOS^ began to
retained. Beethoven owned

same case design was


a Broadwood piano. A

smaller version of the harpsichord was called a


spinet.

It

was made

in a

compact triangular case

and was a popular instrument in smaller houses.


Although pipe organs were most usual in churches,

chamber or cabinet organs

small versions called

was housed

in a large vertical case with

open. Tlwtafr t^grandfather" ) clock was an alter-.


native arrangement in which the weights and

opened up

to expose

pendulum could be enclosed. The cases of such


clocks were large and followed the fashions of other

surround. Even the smallest of such organs were

furniture styles.

small temple building, complete with pediment

Smaller clocks were

and columns.
spring drive mechanisms and

made with

cases ranging

from

restrained to ornate, intended as both functional

and decorative elements

to suit the style

of partic-

were often present

inevitably massive

major

and were often designed to be a


room, with exterior deco-

rative treatment to relate to the general style of

their surroundings.

Georgian

can

furniture

be

belonging to the three sub-periods,

and

late.

The

Queen

The major keyboard musical instrument' of the


Georgian era was the harpsichord. The main
London makers were Jacob Kirkman and the firm
of Schudi and Broadwood. Handel owned a fine

continued

in use,

mahogany,

classified
early,

as

middle,

early phase (1714-50) begins with a

of

makers'

doors that

keyboard and pipes. Other

visual element in a

carry-over

latter

A cabinet organ

in large houses.

designs displayed pipes in a decoratively carved

ular rooms.

double keyboard example of the

interior.

case

pendulum. Clocks were often made with a small


wooden case that could be mounted on a high shelf
or bracket, with the weights hanging below in the

clock case often resembled a

century

The mahogany

design of other Georgian furniture.

replace harpsichords, the

accuracy and quality of their products. Clocks were


driven

work. English harpsichords followed the restrained

first

but

Anne

after

practice.

Walnut

1735 the importation of

from Spain and then from Central


wood with its fine grain and

America, made that

reddish color increasingly popular. Cabriole

Ball and claw feet, carved

lions'

legs.

heads, and

151

Chapter Eight

8.26 Thoma&

other

general use.

Chairs," 1754.

decorative

fanciful

Chippendale, "Chinese

The

traced in the freer and

The plate fiom The

Some new

tion.

Cabinet-Maker's

double chairs (small

shows
design for an

more

of decora-

florid use

furniture types appeared, such as

Gentleman and
Director (1754)

came into
Rococo can be

elements

influence of French

appear to be two

settees that

chairs joined together)

and reading chairs with

eighteenth-century

book stand and candle

holders.

chair with details

chest with

a typical

intended

to

suggest

Chinese influences.
Illustrations
this

such as

sen/ed as a kind of

catalog from which a


client

might select

their

preferred designs for


legs, backs, stretchers,

and

arms.

many

The high

drawers was usually

chest or

made

in

two

parts to permit easy moving.

The middle Georgian period (1750-70) is


work of the famous
cabinet maker I'lMWIIUJ 01ii(.ipiiiulMle (1718-79),
whose influence came not only from his own fine
design and craftsmanship, but also from the impact
of his book of engravings and instruction. The
Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director, published
in editions of 1754, 1755, and 1762 (fig. 8.26). A
kind of catalog or style book showing typical
particularly associated with the

Chippendale designs,
design

known

to

it

many

England (and eventually


their

designs

Chippendale

on

style

also served to

make

his

other cabinet makers in


in

America)

Chippendale's

might be called

who

based

work.

The
form

a restrained

Fine books were


collected by wealthy
aristocrats,

had

and

they

be stored and

to

displayed

in suitable

bookcases. This large


unit

is

made up

of a

pedimented
element, which might
central,

be ordered alone

or,

should the client have


space, with the right

and

left

wings making

up an imposing unit
The urns (and the
broken pediment) on
top were optional
elements, available to
suit the buyer's taste.

152

and decorative. Simple square

cabriole legs, perforated back

Chinese or even Gothic

and carved arms' are

all

splats

style, ball

legs,

with carving in

and claw

feet,

used for chairs. Settees,

glass-fronted bookcases, and massive desks were

ences, particularly Chinese elements taken both

made

from Chinese furniture and from forms known

breakfront units were often topped with pediments

from Chinese landscapes as they appeared in wallpaper pagoda forms, carved dragons, and lacquer
work. Chippendale furniture has an underlying

suggestive of Baroque architecture. Broken pedi-

simplicity,

Hepplewhite, a library

also florid

of Rococo combined with various exotic influ-

8.27 George

is

is

well

made, sturdy, and

practical,

but

it

in

related

designs.

Massive bookcases or

ments (with an open space


central urn or other

at the center)

fmial are illustrated,

and a

along with

candelabra, stove grates, candle lanterns, cases for

Renaissance to Georgian

in

the Low Countries and England

8.28 Thomas
Sheraton, a library
table,

An

1793.

illustration

from

Sheraton's The

Cabinet-Maker and
Upholsterer's

Drawing-Book

(1793-4) shows an
oval table with inlaid
veneer surfaces. Slides

can be pulled out from


each end

to

open up

easel stands to support


the large

and heavy

books of illustrations
that

vi/ere

favored by

wealthy book

collectors.

The doors that open


from the knee-hole to
give access to spaces in
the base pedestals are

and even a few designs for chamber organs.


Chippendale was also a supplier of drapery window
clocks,

and framed mirrors

treatments, canopied beds,

related rich, even fantastic, decorative styles.

modest

was

furniture

who

craftsmen,

made by many
and

simplified

Chippendale vocabulary to

suit a

in

satinwood establish a

gadgetry and illustrates

other

such as dressing tables with pull-out compartments

the

and swinging mirrors, tables with lift-up storage


compartments, and a library table that opens into a

adapted
wider and

less

ladder

twin

Hepplewhite

and

1786)

(d.

Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806). Each of these men


developed a personal

book of illustrations

and each published

The

Guide (1788-94)

Upholsterer's

Maker and

Cabinet

illustrates

chairs

with perforated backs in shield or oval shapes along

with breakfront bookcases, and upholstered seating

and usually

pieces. Legs are square, often tapered,

carved

with

parallel

lines

of reeding.

Round

(fig. 8.28).

He

He

many complex

designs,

beds.

appears to be the inventor of

also

tastes. The writing table usually


House desk is a Sheraton develop-

according to his
called a Carlton

ment.

The Georgian

era of English design has

one of the most admired of all


a period in

and

logic in

become

historic periods.

It is

which consistency of character, order


concepts, and elegance and restraint in

became widely accepted by architects,


and craftsmen, so that a sense of unity
extends from the largest works to the simplicity of
modest terrace houses. In studying the beginnings
detail

builders,

Modernism

tapered legs with a carved ring detail are also

of

shown. Small tables and framed mirrors, pedestals

frequently suggested that a return to the consis-

draped beds, wash

tency of style (but not the specifics of detail) of the

topped with

vases, elaborately

stands and "night tables" (incorporating a space for


a

covered

chamber pot)

Hepplewhite

were

made

in

Cabinet Maker and

Drawing Book (1790-4)

illustrates

rectilinear style, with small scale

Upholsterer's
a

somewhat

and

delicate

in

eighteenth century

is

the twentieth

it

is

the logical starting point.

at the

beginning of the nineteenth century to

an era of technical innovation that upset Georgian


traditions

and presented challenges

that designers

struggled to resist or accept. Arkwright's invention

764 and Watt's successful

elements. Chairs have square backs and straight

of the spinning jenny in

cabinet pieces are veneered and often have

steam engine of 1769

laid

legs,

century,

Eighteenth-century order and consistency gave

way

style (fig. 8.27).

Sheraton's

more

also

detail.

illustrates
richly draped
windows, alcoves, and whole rooms decorated

that served to promulgate that

Hepplewhite's

style.

style,

an amusing

and colorful character.

More

The late Georgian period (1770-1810) includes


later work of Chippendale, but was dominated by
the work of the two other famous Georgian cabinet
George

light

use of the light yellow

Sheraton was an ingenious inventor of furniture

affluent public.

makers,

much

colored details, and

the foundations for

curved parts, creating bulging fronts, curved ends,

developments that were to make the nineteenth

and whole pieces such as desks of oval form. Inlays


of contrasting color, sometimes with painted and

century a time of sweeping change in every aspect


of life in western civilization.

153

Colonial and Federal America

The discovery of
the fifteenth and

the Americas by the explorers of

of possibiUties

variety

opened up a

sixteenth centuries
to

Europeans ready to

in

the

cathedral

Mexico City (1563-1667) follows

in

Spanish Renaissance and Baroque traditions

nave and

aisles are

its

of equal height, there are side

"New World."

chapels along both sides and twin towers flanking

Motivations varied from the hope of financial gain

an ornate Baroque facade. Polychrome sculpture

and

uproot

relocate

to the desire to escape religious persecution; there

was also the simple desire

for

new

experiences and

Beginning

the

in

seventeenth

American continents were

settled

the

century,

by colonists from

European countries. The new

had

themes

religious

rendered

is

Claudio

realism.

de

sympathy

settlers

gener-

Church of
at

of

Morelia
S.

with

Arciniega,

Spaniard, was the principal architect.

adventure.

several

illustrating

powerful

The Mexican

the Sanctuary of the Virgin

Guadalupe

similarly ornate.

The church

(fig. 9.1) is

Jose at Teptzotlan

1750)

(c.

an extreme

is

for the native

example of the use of Baroque Churrigueresque

populations they encountered, and either ignored

ornamentation, more florid and more dense that

or pushed aside (as in North America), or devas-

anything in Spain

ally

little

interest in or

tated in the search for plunder (as in Central

South America).
as

an

This view of the

that

had been

behind.

left

New World as an empty space best

with duplication of the old world

strange in view of the desire of

many

may seem

colonists to

Some

itself

sixteenth-century

churches in Peru also derive from Spanish practice.

colony was invariably regarded

effort to reproduce, insofar as possible, the

European environment
filled

and

In Brazil native craft skills were less developed,

forcing the Portuguese colonials to

more

heavily

on importation

depend even

not only of design

but of actual components. Stone carvings were

brought by sea

from sources

Francisco de Assis at

Ouro

Portugal.

in

S.

Minas Gerais

Preto,

escape from poverty or repression in their old

(1772-94), and the nearby church of S. Francisco at

homes. Desire for new freedoms or new wealth

Sao Joao del Rei are fine examples of the Brazilian

new design.
new houses and

Central America built churches in the Plateresque,

Baroque style, their twin towers and white walls


trimmed with a fantastic display of ornamental
carving and sculpture, repeated internally with the
addition of color and gilding. These churches are,
usually attributed to a sculptor-architect, Antonio

Baroque, and Churrigueresque

Francisco

rarely

found expression

Typically, the

new towns

in genuinely

aim was

to recall the

Spanish and

to build

European

Portuguese

settlers

Thus

past.

the

South and

in

styles

that

were

(1738-1814),

Louisiana followed the styles of

development

settlements

in

contemporary

memories of

their

realities
rials

Paris.

Swedish, Dutch, and

each developed a colonial

settlers

style

German

based on

their countries of origin.

The

of climate, the availability of certain mate-

and the

lack of others,

and the simple

necessit)^

of managing survival in remote locations did,

however, force colonists to make some modifications,

often grudgingly, to the old

ways of doing

and familiar

things.

known as
who was certainly a

Lisboa,

current in Renaissance Spain and Portugal. French

of

Aleijadinho

key figure

eighteenth-century

in the

Brazilian

church design. In contrast to the elaboration of


religious architecture, secular building

colonials in South, Central,

was

generally

plain

European vernacular

and

by Hispanic

and North America

functional,

following

traditions.

'The Palace of the Governors at Santa Fe, New


Mexico (1610-14 but much restored), is a simple,
unornamented adobe structure with a long porch
facing on the town square according to Spanish
traditions. Catholic missionaries, as they built their

convents or monasteries, adopted the native adobe

Colonial Styles

in

Latin

America

traditions as at

S.

Estevan,

Acoma, New Mexico

(1629-42), where an unornamented, twin towered


{opposite) Church

9.1

of the Sanctuary of the


Virgin Guadalupe,

Buildings of Hispanic settlers involved a mixture of

church stands adjacent to

European Baroque design

yard with surrounding pueblo-like structures. By

for

the

focal

points

Morella, Mexico,

(entrances and altars) of churches, with the vernac-

1708-16.

ular

The nave of this

Mexico these were Mayan and Aztec, based on the


use of sun-baked Adobe brick with wood pole roof

Mexican church has a

traditions

of native

(Indian)

building.

In

square monastic court-

1700, internal elaboration began, turned toward

the Spanish Baroque as in the church of

Laguna,

New

Mexico, of

c.

1700

S.

Jose at

(fig. 9.2).

The

sophisticated design of the church of San Xavier del

vaulted, Gothic form

and

IS

covered with

elaborate decoration.

154

support for simple forms suggestive of the ancient

Bac near Tuscon, Arizona (1775-93), with cruci-

Pueblos

form plan,

in the

North American southwest. The

domed

crossing with Spanish Baroque

Chapter Nine

some way

"regional" or in

"colonial," used without

universally

understood

word

special, while the

any modifiers,
as

meaning

is

almost

work

the

derived from English design from about 1610 to


1800.

Houses

Early Colonial
The

earliest settlements established

England were

Jamestown

at

Mayflower landing,
structures

built

wigwams,"

built

Plymouth

at

were

by

arrivals

from

in 1607 and, with the


in 1620.

temporary

The

first

"English

(sticks), mud, and


name, they were not based on

of wattle

thatch. In spite of the

native

American (Indian)

a sort

sometimes

None

has survived. Such huts were soon replaced

built

by wooden houses

practice, but

were huts of

by English peasant farmers.

built

according to medieval

English custom. These were half-timber houses,

Wood was
most available of materials, since clearing forest
land produced timber in quantity as a by-product.
with sturdy framing of massive timbers.
the

Sawing was, however,

a laborious process so that

the production of the neatly cut

times was not yet possible.

lumber of

Whole

logs

were

later

cut,

roughly squared up with such tools as the ax and

Adze, and then assembled into house frames with


9.2 Mission, San Jose,

Laguna Pueblo, New


Mexico,

c,

This interior

is

a simple,

made

rich

through elaborate decorative

ornamentation

and painting around


the altar and chancel
area.

the Spanish architect, Ignacio Gaona.

700.

rectangular room with


a wooden beamed
ceiling

facade detail, and altar reredos can be credited to

The Spanish missions in Cahfornia such as S.


Borromeo at Carmel (1793) suggest the
work of Plateresque Spain as modified by their
Carlos

development

Mexico.

in

Residential

interiors

follow the vernacular Mediterranean traditions of

wood beamed

white plastered walls,


tiled floors

motif

ceiling,

and

with a simple fireplace as the usual focal

living space

opening on

a patio in the

Palace of the Governor at San Antonio, Texas


(1749),
for a

is

a typical

example that might be mistaken

comparable space

wood

joints such as Mortise and tenon or


Pegged lap joints that could be produced with
simple hand tools. In England, such frames are
exposed on the exteriors of buildings (generating
the familiar half-timber appearance), but on the

American continent the plaster and brick infill


used in England was not at hand. The climate also
discouraged exposed framing because the variation

from cold

to hot

break frame and


leaks.

and from damp to dry tended to


infill apart, causing cracks and

With wood so

readily available, the natural

solution was to cover the frame with a skin of wood


that served as exterior wall. Planks could be nailed

in Spain.

to the framing

and then covered with an outer

surface of overlapping

Colonial Styles

in

North

made by

Internally, such

America

The
them

the styles that

were to become dominant along the eastern coast


of North America, and it is the design of these
settlers

that

Colonial. French
Spanish

156

stj'les

Shingles or Clapboards

logs

rather than

by sawing.

houses exhibit their structure as a

major element of their character.

English settlers brought with

English

splitting

are

has

colonial,

come

to

Dutch

generally

be

called

colonial,

thought

of

typical early colonial

American house was

simply an English medieval house with a

wood

often had overhanging upper stories

exterior.

It

typical of

medieval towns, and small windows with

leaded

glass.

Gabled roofs were invariably shingled,

or

while a chimney marked the location of the interior

as

fireplaces. Brick, at first

brought from England as

..

Colonial and Federal America

ballast in ships,

chimney

usual

but then

made in

material.

local kilns,

Foundation

on rough stones or even

rested

Many

ground.

early houses

purpose room with an

sills

was the

generally

directly

on the

had only one main

attic

all-

above, so that fireplace

and chimney were placed at one end


improved plan soon developed, with

wall.
a

An

center

chimney separating two main rooms, each with a


fireplace. A steep, winding stair in front of the
chimney
further

led to the upstairs spaces. This plan

improved by the addition of

was

a "lean-to"

Early Colonial Furniture

and

9.3 (above

Interior

Hoxie

left)

House, East Sandwich,

across the rear that

one with
have a

its

full

own

made

space for smaller rooms,

fireplace.

Such a house might

Furnishings

Massachusetts,

also

c.

second floor with rooms on either side of


Internally, early colonial houses

With

on the north, bringing the roof


down close to the ground helped to protect against
winter wind and storms and generated the typical
Salt-box shape. The much admired and imitated

functional.

Cape Cod cottage was

the floor planks above. Wall surfaces might be of

a house of this type, often

buUt by ships' carpenters entirely without foundations so that

it

"floated"

on

the sand dunes of the

The carefully preserved and


House (figs. 9.3 and 9.4; c. 1637) at

cape.

Massachusetts,

is

of this type.

It is

wood

The

frame

members

exposed, their diagonal braces often


floors

wood,

or,

wood

Split lath, that

is.

Lath made by

New

living space. Ftrmiture, usually of pine

England house on Cape Cod and inland has

windows on each side. It


may be one or two stories in height and usually has
a simple gable roof although roofs of more
center front door with two

complex form with gables facing to front or back


were not unusual. The Whipple House at Ipswich,
is

of

this type;

it

has an overhanging upper story which gives


clearly

medieval character.

also

as kitchen

sitmaily of cherr)', oak, hickory, or

native

and
iiigs

wood, might include

and with woven rush


wide hoards

together

with

seats. Solid

for tables

hand-cut

and

joints.

because there were only


a few, tiny windows.
This view

space

wood, often

for

a simple rope

bed. The spinning


'

wheel

in the

corner of

the space below

turn-

chests, ^vas

shows a half

attic loft, providing

benches,

made of wood

American

house was very dark

some other

a trestle table,

ladder-back chair or two

in ver\'

but occa-

Interior of

The interior of the


typical early

and all-purpose

room, which was used

of brick.

Hoxie House.

through

East Sandwich,

is

9.4 (above)

partly splitting

the splits to form "keys" holding the plaster in


place. A large brick fireplace dominated the main

Only the

chimney

between the frame members, plaster on

restored Ho.xie

earliest

hidden by the shingled


exterior

framing and underside of

of American colonial buildings. The more typical

Massachusetts (before 1669),

The

thin boards so that plaster can be forced

one of the

the braced frame are

were wide wooden planks; the ceiling was

simply the exposed

American

The massive timbers of

were

visible.

early

house on Cape Cod.

were rigorously

the chimney, sometimes with additional fireplaces.


the lean-to

1637.

An

"

the loft reflect the

put

iniN'Ts, dn\Ttails, or

was

dealt

Box -(singer)

textiles.

mortise and tenons. Storage

with by hooks and pegs for hanging

home

production of woolen

Corn and other

provisions are
it

and

the two wool-winders in

for

hung up

drying

157

Chapter Nine

9.5 Bedroom, Stanley-

combine some drawers below with a lift-lid blanket


compartment above. I^ost early colonial furniture

Whitman House,
Farmmgton,
Connecticut, from

is

1664

imornainented, but gradually, in actual imparts

troni

The heavy timber corner


post and timber ceilmg

and Restoration

are evidence of the

legs,

braced frame structure.


Plastered walls

spaces between

fill

the

is

round,

in

made

locally

and the

ornament appeared. TurneS


"bun" feet, and surfece

st)'le

ball-like

caFving served to

wood

members. The bed

England but more often

versions of English designs, simplified lacobean

show

off the

skill

of householders

tastes

of woodworkers

who

could afford

wooden frame with a

such Iuxuri5s. Highboy drawer chests and desks in

laced rope support for

William and Mary

the mattress.

bed (on

trundle

rollers) is

homes of the

stored beneath the bed,

and

it

style

were made

in

America by

1700 for use in the most spacious and comfortable


time.

can be pulled

out at night

to provide

extra sleeping

Churches and Meeting Houses

space

The cradle accommodates the newest baby.

Aside from houses, barns, and sheds, the only

There ore woven coverlets

common

on each bed. The

shuttered.

objects, a

few shelves, a box for

salt,

and possibly

cupboard. Various kinds of candlesticks,

small

and

holders,

augment the

lanterns
fireplace.

bed would have


hold a straw,

would supply
In bedrooms (fig.

wooden frame

leaf,

to

light

9.5), the

laced with rope to

corn-husk, or feather mattress.

Posts to hold a canopy were an occasional luxury.

sizes.
lid

There might also be

and possibly

wheel since

religious

of early American

expresses the austere

Puritan

settlers.

of the

Puritan

inhabitants,

found the display of wealth and

status

through ornamentation contraiy to the need for


simplicity, modesty,

and

a focus

on virtuous

living.

As time went on and the colonists became

and more prosperous, various


improvements were gradually introduced. Double
hung window sash gradually took the place of

better established

Casement windows
ventilation

and

(offering better control

or

with improved weather protection >,

larger panes of better glass

improved

light

and

view. Specialized trades developed so that there

were carpenters, weavers, chair makers, smiths,

and pevrter) to make


improved design and function. Windsor
chairs of the sort made in England came into use,

and

tinkers (workers in tin

objects of

some with arms; some


in inns

drink.

158

(called tavern chairs) for use

have a special wide arm to hold food or

Drawer chesU appeared, and


.

is

wooden

simple square

at

Hingham,

a rare exception (fig. 9.6).


hall

with windows

It is

at

two

main floor and


The exposed framing of the
be the work of ships' carpenters,

story levels corresponding to the

balcony on three
roof,

said to

sides.

resembled the interior of an inverted ship's hull

wood framing

reli-

gious buildings

philosophy of the

attitudes

beliefs

Massachusetts,

white walls and

austerity of such interiors accorded well with the

whose

Old Ship meeting house of 1681

all textiles

braided or "rag" rug would be

on the floor, and homemade quilts on


beds were a source of color. The functional

The dignified simplicity

and

churches

name). The framing supported a


on the Hipped roof. Inside, the

a luxury

Massachusetts, 1681.

were

belfry centered

a blanket chest with a

a spinning

were homemade.

House, Hingham,

types

lift

Cradles and trundle beds served children of various

9.6 Old Ship Meeting

building

meeting houses. Few early examples survive; the

windows are small and

chests that

(the source of

ornament.

its

central pulpit

arch-topped windows.

is

are entirely without

backed by

a pair of

Colonial and Federal America

American Georgian Houses

American Georgian
In the eighteenth century, colonial simplicity
to give

way

to

both brought

more

elegant

and luxurious

began
styles

from England by craftsmen and

The American Georgian house might be built of


either brick or wood, but it generally followed
Renaissance-based European models

symmetrical

planning

pediments,

and

in its

ornamental

and

use of
detail,

often

inspired by books that illustrated the architecture

including

and furniture of the Queen Anne and Georgian


eras. Ship owners, merchants, some tradesmen and

Palladian window. In a typical plan, a center hall

craftsmen, and affluent land owners

became

suffi-

ciently wealthy to be able to afford a style of

comparable

to that

life

of the "gentlemen" of England.

pilasters,

was entered from the front door, and often ran


through to a rear door. In the

would

hall a

handsome

lead to a matching second-floor

either side of the entrance halls,

hall.

stair

On

one or two rooms

and the Carolinas, vast plantations were established


(often by younger sons of titled English families)
that, with the help of slave labor, made their owners

would be placed as parlors, dining room and,


upstairs, bedrooms. Chimneys to serve fireplaces
were placed at the end walls and a hipped roof
(sometimes with dormers) became more common

owners began to

than the gable roof. Kitchens and service quarters

approach the "great houses" of England, although


none ever reached the extremes of their prototypes.

south, in outbuildings arranged in a formal plan.

In the southern colonies, particularly in Virginia

rich.

Houses

to

please

those

might be placed

in

wings

or, particularly in the

9.7

Room from

the

Powel House,
Philadelphia, 1765-6,

As wealth increased in
colonial America, more
luxurious houses with
interiors rich in

Georgian detail became

more common.

In this

room, which

now

is

installed in the

Metropolitan

of Art,
is

fine

New

Museum

York, there

wood paneling,

an ornamental plaster
ceiling, and, on one
wall,

imported Chinese

wallpaper The

tall

clock, Chippendale-style

furniture,

and

oriental

rug are indicative of the

comfortable status of
the owner.

159

Chapter Nine

Interiors

in

Georgian house became more

the

formal, with plastered waUs or

wood

and

wainscot,

inspired details

around

and windows and

have

and

classically

Cambridge, Massachusetts,

fireplace mantels, doors,

as cornice trim moldings.

Philadelphia

Metropolitan

been

and Boston, brick

1761-2.
In the central hall of

the upper floor of this

handsome house the


carved wooden detail
based on

prototypes

and

includes

a Palladian window,

pediments over door-

and Ionic
and capitals.
The woodwork is

ways,

pilasters

painted

in

a soft

grey-blue to contrast

with the white plaster

160

is

classical

beautifully

preserved

symmetrical plan

a parlor

It

miniature

has a simple

on one

room and

side of the

on

Museum of Art, one


Museum in New York; fig.

in

the

other side, with bedrooms symmetrically arranged

9.7)

and

above. Services were placed in small twin outbuild-

good

idea of

how

such rooms

A Chinese
room in New York

the eighteenth century.

(fig. 9.8), a

ings in front

on

dining

either side.

plastered over with corner

elaborate
Palladian

pedimented

window

preserved with fine

material

is

Quoins. There

entrance

above.

wood

The

stair

The

door

the

brick
is

an

with

interiors are well

paneling, pediments over

rug on the floor are appropriate

every doorway, and, in one upstairs room, twin-

reminders that imports from Europe, the Middle

arch top-doored cupboards with broken pediments

the

Park, Philadelphia,

is

version of the English great house.

center hall

was added by the museum, but such wallpaper and

Mansion, Fairmount

(1761-2)

the

hand-painted wallpaper in the

9.8 Mount Pleasant

in

good example of
the Georgian type, with its pediment and twostory-high pUaster order, all executed in wood.
Outside of Philadelphia (now within the city's
Fairmount Park) the house called Mount Pleasant
is

in

tive details, giving a


in

(later

of 1759

(one

reconstructed

furnished with appropriate furniture and decora-

appeared

England, the lohn Vassall House

occupied by the poet Longfellow)

row houses were built with Georgian detail in


much the manner of English city houses. The
Powel House in Philadelphia (1765-6) is a good
example of the type. Rooms removed from the
house

New

paneling,

moldings

In cities such as Philadelphia

In

wood

oriental

East,

and the Far East became

as

merchant shipping increased

its

available in

America

in importance.

above on either side of

No

marble-edged

fireplace.

architect or designer has been identified.

The

Colonial and Federal America

9.9 David Minitree,


Carter's Grove, near

Williamsburg, Virginia,

1751.
The spacious Georgian

mansion

reminiscent

is

of Its English precedents. The entrance hall

opens through an

archway

into a

broad

stairway. Walls are

paneled

natural

in

wood and

are nch in

classical detail, with

Ionic pilasters

and a

finely dentiled cornice.

The candle chandelier,

and rugs are


ofAmencan

furniture,

typical

eighteenth-century
practice.

9.10 Mount Vernon,


near Alexandria,
Virginia,
li/lount

from

c.

740.

Vernon was the

Washington family
plantation house. The
Palladian

window

is

in

the ballroom (or State

Banqueting Room as

was

it

originally called),

which was an addition


to the older

house

developed at George
Washington's request
the

780s.

for the

in

He asked

green wallpaper

and buff paint

for the

woodwork. The detail

is

not as classically
perfect as

some other

examples, but the


overall effect
fied

is

digni-

and pleasantly

decorative.

guest

mentioned window
curtains of "white

chintz" with "festoons

of green satin."

161

Chapter Nine

seem

details

to be derived

from English pattern

books, but they are used with extraordinary


Farther south, great houses were sited
tations. Stratford Hall
at

skill.

on plan-

1725-30), the Lee mansion

Westmorland, Virginia,

is

designed with an H-

rise up to
chimney clusters are linked by a central waist. The
plan seems to be based on Italian villas illustrated
in Palladio's Four Books. The low-ceilinged lower
floor houses a number of bedrooms, while the
main floor above is a sequence of more formal
rooms with rich classically based detail. Most of the

plan in which two square blocks that

furniture

is

English, imported to suit the taste of

the wealthy owners. Other houses, such as Carter's

Grove (fig. 9.9) in Virginia, are great brick


mansions suggesting awareness of Wren and his
followers in both plan concept

Mount Vernon,
Washington

family,

and

interior detail.

the plantation house of the


is

^inusual in having an eight-

columned portico running the length of the rear,


which faces the Potomac River. The house began as
a smaller farmhouse in 1732, but was expanded
over the years until
1799.

It is

treated

built of

with

9.1

kitchen from

Millbach. Pennsylvania,
c.

1752. (Preserved at

the Philadelphia

Museum

of Art.)

The spacious kitchen of

an American farm
estate has a

floor,

and tnm of
natural-colored wood
ceiling,

The walls are white


plaster.

The cabinets,

tables, chair,

and

child's rocking-chair are


all

of traditional

vernacular character,

although the large


storage pieces

show

evidence of a sophisti-

cated knowledge of the

ornamental detailing of
European prototypes.
The various containers

and

utensils are typical

of the period.

162

reached

its

present size in

wood block painted to


The window arrangement survives

nailed-on

simulate stone.

from the

it

wood, with the entrance facade

original

house and

is

oddly non-symmet-

of the pediment and cupola above.

rical in spite

added

ballroom

George Washington's

in

last

is a double-height room
window dominating the end
wall (fig. 9.10). The many rooms of the house
follow Georgian formula treatments with wood
paneling in some, ornamental plaster work in
others. The smaller rooms have fireplaces placed

expansion of the house


with

a large Palladian

diagonally on a cut-off corner, each with orna-

mental mantel and most with rich over-mantel


detail.

In the

deep south,

many-columned

and Mississippi,

in Louisiana

and porticos that


provided shade and outdoor living spaces were
typical

exterior

porches

of

features

plantation

house

mansions. French doors and windows opened up

surrounding

interior spaces to connect with the

verandas. Other regional differences derive from


the points of origin of the settlers.

New York
preferred
creates

House

built

the

more
in

houses

in

Gambrel

Dutch

wood

(two-slope)

usable attic space.

New York

(c.

settlers in

or stone but

roof that

The Dyckman

1783), built in stone, has a

gambrel roof that projects


width of the house

to

form

in front

the

full

An

idea of the interiors of

porch across

and

at the rear.

Dutch colonial houses


can be gained from the interiors of the Schenck

Colonial and Federal America

9.12 Ashley House,

House (1675-1730) now reconstructed within the


Brooklyn Museum. Heavy wooden frame members
with prominent corner braces,

wood plank

walls, a

and

floor,

Deerfield,

Massachusetts,

white plastered

a large

hooded

fire-

The

tiles

In Pennsylvania,

German

settlers

by

legs

(misleadingly

Cloister at Ephrata

is

around 1742 known

and

and white

their total simplicity.

Pennsylvania

German

residential

kitchen of 1752 from Millbach

preserved

in

A more

reflectors

would

have provided modest


nighttime

lighting.

typical

interior

(fig. 9.11),

Museum

is

now

of Art.

and simple wood furniture suggest

with designs using birds, flowers,

been only used

Newport

American Georgian and Queen

was

designs

(fig.

used in

Boston were also

Queen

9.12) with simple splat backs,

American

The

fully

upholstered wing-back chair

also popular in America,

made

probably
era,

much

is

Chair design followed English patterns

Anne

elaborate.

Furniture
Georgian

America,

New York and

and versions of Chippendale and Hepplewhite with


Rococo and Chinese-inspired detail. Windsor
chairs were made in many types from simple to

Europe.

In the latter part of the

in

furniture.

centers of fine furniture production.

and decorative

in the vocabulary of the peasant art of

Anne

the oriental rugs

metal

wooden
natural wood

furniture was often painted in bright colors

scrolls

backs.

candle holders with

as the

considerable level of unpretentious comfort.

Wood

and simple

overhead, a giant fireplace, white

plastered walls,
a

Philadelphia

the

Wood beams

Queen

have an impressive dignity that

plaster,

from

derives

all

corner

which are of

were imported. The

of severely plain

construction, but the interiors,

in the far

chairs,

The walls are paneled,

Dutch) built simple wooden

a religious sect

a tall
can be

the style called

houses and great barns. The group of buildings


built

"

chest,

Anne, have cabriole

Dutch elements of the second, more private room.


called Pennsylvania

"highboy,

seen

of the fireplace are characteristically

at the sides

1730.

drawer

dominate each of the two rooms. Two


enclosed box beds, a massive Baroque Kas or
place

wardrobe, and bands of blue and white Dutch

c.

its

where cold winters

enclosing

form

particularly

welcome.

craftsmen and cabinet makers became increasingly


skillful

and expert

able in England.

in

working

the styles fashion-

designs were both

much

used, sometimes even

The term Philadelphia Chippendale is


used to describe the work of cabinet makers

intermixed.
often

in that city,

1770s),

Late Colonial Public Buildings

Queen Anne and Chippendale

such as John Folwell (active in the

who was sometimes

called "the

American

As the American colonies prospered, the need for


more public buildings emerged. Churches were
built in

almost every town, and

number of

cities

often had a

churches. As the stringent beliefs of

Puritanism gave way to more varied religious prac-

churches tended to take on the character of

Chippendale," and William Savery (1721-88), best

tices,

known

The Carolean and


Wren and James
Gibbs became models for many American
in
1727)
Church (begun
churches. -Christ

for fine highboys.

Highboys and

tall

secre-

had plain tops, but pediments,


broken pediments with S-curved scroll

tary desks often

particularly

on the most elaborate versions.


Rhode Island, a unique version of
the Queen Anne style developed in the workshop of
Goddard and Townsend, makers of greatly admired
tall secretary desks and low desks of the type called
Blockfront. a fluted semicircular form suggestive

shapes, were used

In Newport,

of a scaUop

shell, a

carved motif that seems to have

English

religious

buildings.

Georgian churches of Christopher

Philadelphia, variously credited to Robert Smith

and to an amateur architect, John Kearsley, is a fine


example of the Wren-Gibbs t|pe. It is built in
brick, with the upper part of the spire in wood;
inside,

white-painted

wooden

Roman

Doric

columns topped with square entablature blocks


163

Chapter Nine

9.13

Peter Harrison,

King's Chapel, Boston,

1749-58.
The Georgian church
interior

suggests that

Harrison

was aware of

English prototypes.

Paired Corinthian

columns support
sections of entablature

with a partly coved


ceiling above. There

Palladian

above the
fine

is

window
altar and a

metal candle chan-

delier.

Placing the

seating in enclosed

"box" pews was an

attempt

to

winter cold

minimize

and

drafts.

Other colonial public buildings tend to follow

support galleries and a graceful arrangement of

arches.

above the

Palladian
altar.

window forms

a focal point

Peter Harrison (1723-1805) was

the architect of King's Chapel in Boston

(fig.

9.13;

Wren

lished

by

London

red

and Georgian tradition estab-

at

1749-58) where paired Corinthian columns with

symmetry, and ornamental

doorways and, where there

forms of the plaster

New York

ceiling. St. Paul's

(1764-6) by the
is

Chapel

New York

in

architect

of similar design, but

is

of

special interest because recent restoration efforts

have discovered the original paint colors

not

the

Chelsea

the

Hospital

detail

in

woodwork,

brick with white-painted

entablature blocks carry the galleries and the coved

Thomas McBean

concentrated

at

one, in a spire.

building for the College of William and

in

Williamsburg, Virginia (begun 1716),

Mary
known

as

the

Wren

is

is

Building because of a tradition that the

design was actually provided in drawings by Wren.


Certainly the design

is

a fine

example of the Wren

both outside and in the great

conservative white, grey, or beige usually thought

style,

to be typical of the colonial church, but strong

modeled on the wood-paneled dining halls of


English university buildings. The Williamsburg
Capitol (1701-5) and Governor's Palace (1706-20)

shades of blue and pink that set off the whitepainted

wood

detail.

Waterford

imported from Ireland add

Many American

crystal chandeliers

to the sense of richness.

churches and meeting houses

are also

handsome examples of

the

hall v\athin,

Wren

with beautifully detailed interiors, but

it

style,

must be

follow similar patterns in brick or in wood, with

noted that these buildings were drastically recon-

the level of elaboration adjusted to the religious

structed in 1928-34

beliefs

164

the simple Carolean

and the wealth of their congregations.

on the
documents and remains.

basis of very limited

Colonial and Federal America

Federal Styles

of the greater difficulty of

explained,

Jefferson

carving Corinthian capitals


the

skills

beyond, one assumes,

of American stone cutters of the time.

the
signing
of
the
With
Declaration
of
Independence in 1776, the term colonial ceases to

Such

design for a totally unrelated

modern purpose can

be appropriate. Design produced from about 1780

be thought of as a

toward the develop-

1830

until

usually described as belonging to the

is

Federal period.

ment of

first

step

the stylistic revivals that were to follow

In stylistic terms, the tendency of

was

move toward an

to

increas-

on sophistipublished works of

ingly strict version of classicism based

awareness

of

the

At Monticello and

at the

University of Virginia

(1817-26), both near Charlottesville, Jefferson's


use of Palladian and

Roman

concepts

is

more

Serlio,
ings.

and domed octagon,

such

authorities,

Palladio

as

and

and on knowledge of actual classical buildBooks of detailed measured drawings made at

archeological

such

sites,

Antiquities of Athens

Revett

precedents

and

that

as

multivolume

the

by James Stuart and Nicholas

was

creative

is

sometimes said to have

been based on Palladio's

Villa

Greek rather than

Roman

rather the roof of a curious

Europe

also developing in

at

does not top an internal rotunda, but

upstairs

room. Although

it

and hard

story of

bedrooms

(fig.

reach

full

upper

and an extensive
extend outward in long

9.14)

lower floor of services that


wings.

to

is

appears to be a one-

story building, Monticello* actually had a

Jefferson

is,

was

full

It

of invention

and ingenious and


unusual arrangements.
His bed can be seen in
an alcove between the

study and the bedroom,

which

dome

this time.

It

house at Monticello.

other side of the bed.

toward

the

Rotonda.

(1743-1 826)
was the architect for his

Jefferson

however, very different and very original. The

movement

aided

(1762),

Neoclassicism

near Charlottesville,

1768-81 and
1796-1809,

early in the nineteenth century.

and imaginative. Monticello, his own


house (1796-1809), with its columned porticos

Renaissance

9.14 Thomas
Jefferson, Monticello,

Virginia,

the Federal period

cated

direct appropriation of an ancient building's

balcony overlooking the entrance

hall

IS

on the

visible

The colors and details


are simple The book in
the foreground

and

the

microscope on a stand
are reminders of
Jefferson's wide-ranging

intellectual

and

scien-

tific interests.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), although best


known for his role as a statesman in the creation of
the independent United States
ident,

was a strongly

and

as

its

third pres-

influential figure in the devel-

opment of American

architecture and design. In

the tradition of the Georgian English gentleman,

was

Jefferson

versatile

with wide-

intellectual

ranging interests in political theory, science, agriculture, music,

was

Jefferson

and the
in

arts.

France

From 1784

serving

as

to 1789,

American

ambassador. Direct contact with the classicism of

French

Renaissance

architecture

and with the

Neoclassicism developing there at the time was

augmented by

a visit to Nimes,

where the

best

preserved of ancient temples, the Maison Carre

(which Jefferson would already have


Palladio's engravings),

While

still

design for a

be built
fairly

at

strict

in

made

known from

a deep impression.

France, Jefferson developed a

new Capitol for the State of Virginia to


Richmond (1785-8). The design is a
version of the temple form of the

Maison Carrte, with

sbc-columned portico and

pediment facade, but with windows introduced

two story

levels to serve the practical

spaces within.

The columns have been changed

from the Corinthian order of the


an

Ionic

at

needs of the

order.

Roman

The four-sided

temple to

capitals

were

promoted by the Italian Renaissance architect and


author Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552-1616) because,
165

Chapter Nine

9.15 Harrison Gray

connects rooms on the upper

Otis House, Boston,

Massachusetts,

795.

The dining room shows

Adam

influences of the

known from

style

complex

while

floor,

stairs are

The main Uving floor has a


Many rooms are fitted with closets,

in alcoves.

plan.

and alcove beds including, in Jefferson's


alcove bed accessible from either his

fireplaces,

own room, an

England, possibly
derived from the

hidden away

Adam

study on one side or the dressing

room on

the

brothers' published

other.

There are many ingenious and curious

works. The delicate

details

such as the pair of double doors connected

paper and moldmg at


the top of wall surfaces,
the

and

window

drapery,

the fireplace

mantel design are characteristic.


is

The furniture

based on

Sheraton/Adam
dents.

prece-

Note that the

floor covering is

by an under-floor mechanism that makes both


doors open when either one is swung. White
woodwork, finely detailed fireplace mantels and
door frames, and a full entablature cornice in the
main hall are set off against generally plain wall
surfaces

pattern.

Wedgwood

a bright
in

blue in the

hall,

some other rooms.

At the -Wliwrsity of

wall-to-wall carpeting

with a strong repeating

simple wallpapers

Virginia-, a central mall

surrounded by small

buildings

college

is

(called

columned covered walkat one


end. In this case the rotunda is modeled on the
Roman Pantheon.^cduced in size by half, raised on
a base and with six rather than eight portico
"lodges") connected by

ways on either

columns. Jnternally
is

no

domed

Kiri;c

library

is

and a domed rotunda

side

it is

a surprise to find that there

space; instead,

its

function as a

served by smaller rooms, three of oval

designed by

on three floors into


The total concept is

at

shape, fitted

the larger circle of

owner, Morris Dyckmaii a

its

Palladio's villa schemes, expertly adapted here to a

some years in
became devoted

different purpose.

house has

the plan.

clearly based

on

grand central

much

Bulfinch

Adam

brothers' work. The


columned portico, a
with Palladian window, and

to the

double-level,
stair

delicate plaster

ornamental

Oval rooms appeared


Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844) was the architect of
the

Massachusetts

1795-7)

in

House

State

(State

Capitol,

Boston. Bulfinch had visited England

and become acquainted with the work of the

who were

brothers,

major influence
House,

rior design of the State

design

of

the

large

Representatives Hall.
this building

was the

architectural

symbolic

marker

as well as in the

galleried

and

The golden dome

first

element
for

Adam

in the exte-

domed
that tops

example of the use of thrft

as

virtually

the

capitol

loyalist

American Revolution, who spent


voluntary exile in England where he

the time of the

in

house of William Hamilton

some

detail.

houses, as

in the

in Philadelphia called

The Woodlands (1788-9), or in the central rooms


of Gore Place, a large Adams-like mansion at
Waltham, Massachusetts (1797), by an unidentified architect. Sweeping curved stairs became an
important feature of many houses and public
Such stairs appear in Bulfinch's 1807
town house for Harrison Gray Otis in Boston, for
example (fig. 9.15).
buildings.

obligatory

buildings

ot

Thornton and Latrobe

various states, as well as for the national Capitol.

The Adam

style,

with

its

Palladianism and awaqs-*

mess of French Neoclassicism, can be traced

many

Federal period buildings, especially in their

delicate

ornamental

The most

(1805), Garrison,

o^^fttBlf

Adam

style design,

internally, appears at

New York.

construction

The tangled history of the national Capitol in


Washington begins with a 1792 competition in
which none of the ten designs submitted was
entirely satisfactory. In 1793 an

detatl.

dutiful effort at

both externally and

166

in'

It is

built

Boscobe^

a spacious

and

huu^

presumably

a Dr.

amateur

architect,

William Thornton (1759-1828), submitted

design that, with favorable


lefferson

comments from both

and Washington, was accepted by the

Commissioners

for

Federal

Buildings

to

the

L
Colonial and Federal America

annoyance of Etienne Hallet whose competition


design had already been approved. Thornton's
Capitol was burned in the

War

of 1812 so that

extensive reconstruction was required, particularly


internally.

The

English-trained Benjamin Latrobe

(1764-1820) was largely responsible for the


of the two large legislative chambers
for the

many

smaller spaces that

detail

9.16) and

(fig.

make up

the intri-

cate internal plan of the building. His invention of

American variations on the Greek orders column


capitals using tobacco leaves and corn husks in
place of acanthus leaves

members of Congress.

was

much admired by

After 1819, the project was

taken over by Charles Bulfinch

who was

rotunda with

sible for the original

its

respon-

low dome.

The present dome and House and Senate wings


of

much

are

Thornton also designed the unusually shaped


Octagon House (1799-1800) in Washington and
the large house called
district

Tudor

Place (1816) in the

of Washington. Both houses

exhibit a reserved classicism based


dents,

triangular site of

Octagon House

and both use

on

Adam

prece-

single projecting curved

The

axis.

gives rise to an

interesting plan with a circular entrance hall (fig.

9.17)

and round bedrooms above acting

between the two wings that angle

as a pivot

to follow the

adjacent streets. Recent restoration has repaired

and recovered much of the furniture


that were originally in the
house. The round entrance hall has a grey and
white marble floor, with walls of light yellow and
interior detail

and

objects

related

grey woodwork.

The same

colors extend into the

adjacent stair hall, where the floor and stair


natural, dark

wood, the balusters and

stair

rail

are

trim a

dark grey-green. The walls of the drawing room are


a

warm

grey with darker trim; dining

room

walls

are green with a lighter green trim.

Although Thornton was

later date.

Georgetown

element to accent the center, entrance

a self-trained

amateur

architect and Benjamin Latrobe a London-trained


professional, the work of the two men is closely
parallel

in defining the Federal style at its best.

Latrobe had

many more commissions

for a variety

of building types. His Bank of Pennsylvania in


Philadelphia (1798-1800,

now

destroyed)

is

the

9.16 Benjamin
Latrobe, Old Senate

Chamber, The Capitol,


Washington, DC,
1

803-1

The semicircular room,

topped by a lialfdome
ceilmg, uses accurate
classical detail for the

Ionic columns, related

moldings,

and

the

coffered ceiling. Latrobe

was anticipating the


Creek revival when he
wrote:

"I

Creek

in

tion of

am a bigoted
my condemna-

Roman

architec-

ture

"

and

dignity of the

The simplicity

architecture

is

rather

overwhelmed by the
canopy with its nch red
and gold ornamentation, which IS draped
elaborately over the
chair

and desk of the

presiding officer

167

Chapter Nine

9.17 William
Thornton, Octagon

House, Washington,
D.C.,

1799-1800

circular entrance hall

opens through double


doors topped by a
lunette

window into a

central hall where

stair leads to the floor

above.

first

American building

order in

its

to

make

use of a Greek

six-columned front and rear Ionic

The banking room was a round chamber


a flat dome. The simple exterior
suggested the Neoclassicism of Ledoux in France or
porticos.

topped with
John Soane

in England.

Latrobe's

works

(c.

design

for

the

Philadelphia

1801), a square block with a

dome ornamented

with

restrained

Greek

included the design of the boilers and

machinery

168

inside.

It

was

water-

drum and
detail,

pumping

a focal point in the city's

Centre Square until

domed

it

was replaced

1827.

in

Baltimore Cathedral (181418)

is

The

monu-

mental Neoclassical church with a broad and open


interior

space quite

unlike

the

typical

galleried

Georgian churches of the eighteenth century.

It

combines John Soane's London Neoclassicism with


a hint of the Baroque grandeur of Wren at St. Paul's.
for Stephen
Decatur on
Washington (1817-19) is a
well-preserved example of a Federal town house. It
is an austerely simple square block of brick with a

Latrobe's

house

Lafayette Square in

Colonial and Federal America

low ground floor for services and two

floors of

ornament
windows and

living spaces above. Externally, the only


is at

the entrance

where there are side


window above the

\vide door.

a delicate fan-light

house has been changed many times

Internally, the

over the years, but recent restoration has been

based on available documentation. Latrobe's drawings for the entrance hall have survived,

domed

showing

and
and subtle ornamental detail throughout.
The original colors were a soft grey for the wall and
an ocher yellow for the woodwork. Ceilings are
treatment of the

his careful

ceiling

niches,

The

late

Federal period favored heavier,

more

massive forms with carved ornament, inlays, and

Claw and lion's paw feet,


lyre and Curule (Xform) chair backs, and chair and couch forms
suggestive of the images on Greek vases came into
use in accordance with Empire and Regency tastes.
The best-known cabinet makers of the period
were Samuel Mclntire (1757-1811) and the even
more famous Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854), whose
brass trim elements.

scroll-carved chair arms,

name

often attached to the sub-style credited to

is

him. Mclntire was an architect based in Salem,

who began

entirely white.

Massachusetts,

Church (1815), across Lafayette


Square from the Decatur House, was also a Latrobe
project. Originally with a Greek cross plan, its
lengthened nave, front portico, and spire are of

figureheads for ships. Houses that he designed for

John's

St.

later date. Like

many

of the educated professionals

of the time, Latrobe had wide-ranging interests.


served as the

first

organist

and choirmaster

He

at St.

John's, for example. His involvement in the engi-

career

his

wealthy sea-captains and merchants were generally


of simple form, ornamented by his carving outside

and

He

in.

often carved ornamental details for

other cabinet makers, making

it

uncertain whether

he ever designed complete pieces of furniture. His

name

attached to Hepplewhite- and Sheraton-

is

inspired furniture with details carved in his partic-

or flowers was a

neering of various waterworks, utilitarian struc-

ular style.

tures for the navy, canal building projects, even the

favorite Mclntire decorative motif.

introduction of a steamboat on the Ohio River are


evidences

of his technical

versatility.

Although

Thornton and Latrobe can be regarded as equal


leaders in the development of the Federal style, and
although the U.S. Capitol resulted from their
combined efforts, the two men became involved in
bitter disputes. Thornton's verbal attacks became
so excessive that Latrobe undertook a libel suit
against

him

in 1808. In

won

1813 Latrobe

and was awarded damages of one

his suit

cent!

carving

carved basket of

Duncan Phyfe was born

fruit

in Scotland, served

apprenticeship as a cabinet maker in Albany,

York, and then

moved

lish his successful

Although

to

New

York City

an

New

to estab-

furniture business around 1792.

his design incorporates the

Hepplewhite

and Sheraton influences that dominate Federal


style furniture, his work took on a unique character
that

made

his

name

known

widely

as a leading

American designer-craftsman. His career lasted


until he retired in 1847 and so spanned a time of
stylistic

readily

changes changes to which he adapted


and which he sometimes led. His early

work, close to Sheraton's models, included produc-

Furniture of the Federal Period

tion of tables with a three-legged pedestal base,

Furniture of the Federal period


fied as "early"

dominated by

sometimes

classi-

often with a folding top arranged so that the table

the late Georgian

could stand against a wall or be opened to make a

is

of Hepplewhite and Sheraton

styles

or

"late,"

showing the influence of French Empire fashions


interpreted

Regency
toward

by

English

cabinet

makers

as

and

design. Design of the early phase tended

the

delicate,

straight-lined

forms

of

Sheraton. Veneered surfaces often have decorative


inlays

and small carved details using shell, leaf,


and basket motifs. Legs are usually tall and
straight or turned. Mahogany remained the

free-standing dining table. Ornamentation varied

from simple reeding to elaborate carving, ranging


from spiral reeding to carved eagles. Swags,
pedestals, and pineapple Finials. Applied brass
ornament was common; legs of larger pieces were
often equipped with casters. Mahogany was the

wood most

used, often in the

flower,

matched

slim,

contrasting colored woods.

favored

wood,

with

banding

and

inlays

in

woods such as maple or satinwood.


Tambour doors are often used for desk or sidecontrasting

board storage compartments.

veneers,

form of figured and

sometimes

Duncan Phyfe turned

to

with

inlays

imitation

of

of the

French Directoire and related English Regency


styles
style,

and then,
as

these

after 1815, to the

French Empire

became known

successively

in

169

Chapter Nine

America. Adoption of the Pillar

and scroll

style

known

as a

banjo clock. The bottom element was

using carved versions of classical columns and S-

usually glass-fronted

and C-shaped

scrolls

swinging pendulum within.

about

in

1830)

moved

period

was

a late

development

(after

provide a view of the

to

his

production. As the Federal

Makers of musical instruments who had begun

into

the nineteenth century, the

building harpsichords and spinets changed over to

development of

supplanted

Georgian influences, leading the

sequence of historical revivals

most often

the building of pianos

ments

in a flat, rectangular case

adaptable and commercially ambitious Phyfe into

along

the

production of designs suited to the interiors of

"square pianos"

late

revivalist architecture.

These

stylistic

developments

are dealt with in the following chapter.

Other

grew to support

cities

who

chair makers

local cabinet

and

established high standards for

John and Thomas Seymour were

experts in inlay work, while John Cogswell and

Badlam

Stephen

made

skillful

use

of sliding

tambour doors in cabinet pieces. Thomas Affleck,


Benjamin Randolph, John Aitken, and Joseph Bany
became well known in Philadelphia. Barry also
maintained a shop in Baltimore where John and
Hugh Findlay worked with marquetry decoration.
A highly individual style of chair design was
developed by Lambert Hitchcock (1795-1852) who
established
a
factory
at
Barhamstead (now
Riverton), Connecticut, to produce what he called
"fancy chairs" based on Federal or Regency styles.
They had turned wood front legs, a rush seat, and
simple ladder back, but were characterized by their
finish

black

paint with brightly colored, painted

(usually stenciled) decoration. These chairs

became

extremely popular in simple farmhouse interiors

where they introduced


otherwise

into

tors

a note of decorative fantasy

vernacular

plain,

Hitchcock chairs are

still

and are often made

interiors.

popular with some collecin

Such instruments,

side.
(fig.

some appearance

modern reproduction

unfortunately, of limited

but,

success.
later

They may be regarded

as ancestors of the

upright piano. Organs built for churches were

housed

simple cases with a frontal display of

in

main decoration. Tiny organs, often


harmoniums or melodeons, using reeds (like

pipes as their
called

those of the accordion) instead of pipes for sound

production, were built for use in small churches

and homes.
Framed mirrors,

sometimes

with

attached

candle brackets, were popular ornamental and


functional objects.

condensed

gives a

The convex, round mirror that


became a popular decora-

iriiage

with

usually

accessory,

tive

elaborate,

gilded

and often topped by the ever-popular


carved American eagle.
frames,

American

textile

fabrics, at first

solid

colors,

production included printed

hand-blocked but,

cylinder-printed.

Woven

narrow

woven
Jacquard loom.
patterns

textiles

the

were made

and

stripes,

with

after 1770, also

in

recently

in

complex
developed

Favorite colors were strong blues

and greens, golden yellows, and deeper shades of


red.

Woven

cover

horsehair

material:

was excellent

its

became
glossy
it

as long as

primary motive power

Other Furnishings of the Federal

form of a

secretary desk were also attempted, with limited

wearing qualities made

form.

called

were usually of hand-

9.18),

quality musically. Tall pianos built in the

both the design and the quality of their craftsmanship. In Boston,

long

small instru-

with the keyboard

popular upholstery

surface

and tough-

and availability
the horse remained the

practical,

for

farm work and trans-

port.

Period

Wood

paneling tended to be used for only one

wall of formal

During the Federal period,


were

locally

wide variety of objects

produced that had most often been

imported during the colonial


were clocks of

era.

Among

these

fine quality in various models, tall

and shelf size, with weight or spring drive. Eli Terry


and Seth Thomas became well known for the
development of a shelf or mantel clock with detail
based on Sheraton furniture. Simon Willard devel-

oped

a wall clock with a

vertical

170

round

face at the top of a

element and box-like bottom that became

chimney

wood

rooms

(the fireplace wall) or for the

breast alone. Other walls might display a

wainscot and cornice, or might be painted,

wallpapered, or covered with a

woven

textile

above

the wainscot. Direct trade with the Far East by

American

ships

brought

'OiiknBdk

wallpapers,

and small decorative objects to America.


These became popular accessories in affluent
households. Chinese dinnerware was often made
specially for the American trade, using pattern
porcelain,

motitis

such as stars and

eaglc^i tliat

made lefaeuce

Colonial and Federal America

9.18 Cardner-Pingree
House, Salem,
Massachusetts,

1804-05.

view from the dining

room

into

a parlor

stiowing wallpaper

and

decorative trim with

Adam style

influence.

The furniture

is

of

Hepplewhite character
(note the shield back
chairs) while

(the

woodwork

work of Samuel

Mclntirejis of related

design. There

is

square piano at the


front wall of the parlor

with a round framed


mirror above with

an

eagle crest a favorite


decorative ornament of
the federal period

Elaborate drapery at

each window
contributes to a sense

of opulence.

to

the

I>utch
?ilver

newly founded republic. Oriental


tiles,

and

and glassware

fully

made

imports were also

detail

used by Thornton and

Phyfe, always ready to adapt to

as well as taste. Fine

changes

in taste,

developed designs suggested by

many

eastern

American

the

furniture

usually given as an end-date

depicted

in

fNHMilii^iiaaiiaaHK

pw i wttng. In the 1820s and 1830s American architecture

is

and

Duncan

cities.

Although 1820

the Greek orders

Latrobe.

popular

equal to the quality of any


in

archeological correctness can already be detected in

imports

remained

glass

implying wealth and status


silver

rugs,

French scenic wallpapers, and English

to

and

interior design

found

G*eek modek, generating the

new devotion

first

of several

for the Federal period, the transition into subse-

nineteenth-century revivals of the historic past that

quent developments was gradual. Emphasis on

are dealt with in the following chapter.

171

The Regency,

Revivals,

and

Industria

Revolution
The nineteenth century encompasses some of the
most sweeping changes in human affairs since the

of fancifully ornamented rooms. Fantastically elab-

beginning of history. Life experience as

light

it

devel-

wallpaper and

combined with gradual change. Scientific development and the coming of industrialization in the

brass inlays

made modern

totally different from anything that preceded it.


The enormous growth of world population along
with the vastly improved nature of transportation
and communication that characterize the twentieth
century had their roots in the nineteenth century.
The world of design had enormous difficulty in
dealing with changes of such depth and magnitude.
The nineteenth century is, therefore, a study in
contradictions
in change and in the efforts to
life

(top right) John

Nash, Royal Pavilion,

restrain change.

Brighton, England,

1815-21.
In the

music room of

the Royal Pavilion the

wall coverings

and

Regency

the

gilded mirror surround

above the

make

In 1811, George

fireplace

reference to

Chinese decorative
elements- The hanging
lights

add

to the festive

quality of the room,

which should be

1820,

all filled

with gilded ornament

father, he became George


The design of this period,
between the end of the Georgian era

and

nineteenth-century

followed,
its

is

10.2 {bottom

The

that

style

has

origins in the Neoclassicism of the late eigh-

teenth century

right)

developments

given the term Regency.

is

character

of England was succeeded by

on the death of his

and looking more


French than Chinese

III

served in his place as Prince Regent. In

IV, reigning until 1830.


transitional

visual-

ized with piano, harp,

and seating,

who

his son

and draws

its

form from Greek and

Roman

precedents with a mixture of elements

drawn

from

more

exotic

sources

Egyptian,

London, 1812-1813.

The impact of the colonial


holdings of England, France, and Belgium, and the
newly extended knowledge of remote and varied
civilizations made awareness of and fascination
with the exotic an available theme. The most

The small breakfast

curious aspect of Regency design

Exterior of the Royal


Pavilion.

10.3

[opposite) iohn

Soane, Soane House,

room

in his

own

house,

offered

Soane the

chance

to experiment

Chinese, and Moorish.

seemingly

is its

inconsistent vacillation between the restraint of


classicism

and the exuberance of fantasy.

with architectural form.

flattened

dome

is

supported by slim

Nash

columns around the


edges, but the walls of

the

room are

in

square larger than the

dome. The space

The most
period

and

is

spectacular building of the

Regency

the Royal Pavilion at Brighton (figs. 10.1

10.2; 1815-21), a residence

and pleasure palace

between the dome and

designed to please the whims of the Regent.

the walls allows hidden

designed by lohn Nash (1752-1835) in a mixture

windows to add light


appear over the

of oriental

mantel and

dominating the exterior and giving

it

Moorish

aspect. Internally the Royal Pavilion

is 3*

sequence

Mirrors

in rondels

at the dome's edges.

172

styles

It

was

with great onion-shaped domes

new
bamboo

introduce a

oped through the Renaissance and into the eighteenth century had a continuity of quahties

nineteenth century, however, has

10.1

orate chandeliers using the newly developed gas

in reds

greens,

and

level

of brilliance. Chinese

furniture, elaborate drapery

golds, gilded

and carved furniture with


in exotic pinks and

and trim, carpets

and strongly chromatic wall colors make

the Brighton Pavilion representative of the playful,


fantastic,

and decorative aspect of Regency design.


restrained and classical aspect is repre-

A more

sented by the work of the same architect

they are called in


plain white walls,

when he

terraced houses
England with simple forms,

designed groups of row houses

and

details often

as

based on Greek

precedents. Houses arranged in a sweeping curve

J ft

)
....


Chapter Ten

or crescent such as Park Crescent (1812) at the

are intricate in

entrance to Regent's Park or the grand arches and

rooms within

Ionic

columns of Cumberland Terrace (1827), both

London,

in

with

white-painted

stucco

detail

form but simple

where paired Caryatids stood in the high center


drum the Old Colonial (or Five Per Cent) Office,

covering simple brick, are typical of Nash in his

the Consols Office

most monumental phase. Ornamental iron railings,


bow windows, and small hood roofs over porches

rotunda were large public

or projecting bays

were

set off against

typical of the

Regency

white stucco walls

style

groups built

London and many other English


formal groupings were speculative

cities.

in

These

real estate devel-

(fig. 10.4),

and the great

halls, dignified,

central

spacious,

and remarkably imaginative.

own house

Soane's

at 13 Lincoln's

London (1812-32) served

Inn Fields

in

kind of laboratory

as a

for architectural experiments

and

house

works and architec-

his vast collection of art

opments made up of individual houses owned or


leased by occupants who treated the rooms within
however they chose most often in some version of

tural fragments.

the rich but reserved Georgian manner.

boundary

in detail. The
Old Dividend Office

called the

remarkable

The house

interiors.

room

the breakfast

flat

as a gallery to

is now a museum with


dome over the center of

(fig. 10.3) is

bordered by higher

with clerestory windows that

spaces,

admit daylight from hidden sources so that the

dome seems

Soane

be a

to

floating

canopy.

Round

mirrors inserted into ornamental details here and


Sir

John Soane (1753-1837)

esting designer of the


individualistic

work is
way

times austere in a

in other

parency,

at

is

once Neoclassical, some-

that

seems to point toward

fantastic

and

personal

Soane's

highly

complex. His interiors for the London headquarof the Bank of England (1788-1823), arranged

prison interiors of Piranesi's engravings, and from

ters

and

sometimes

decorative

around columned courtyards, now mostly altered


or demolished and so only known through drawings

and photographs, used arch forms, windowed

drum
10.4 John Soane,

of objects.

collection

way of putting together concepts drawn


from ancient Greece and Rome, from the fantastic

modernism,

Consols Office, Bank of

rooms produce surprising effects of translight, and illusion. The gallery space is a
three-story-high
chamber crammed with a

a particularly inter-

Regency era whose highly

clerestories,

and domes

to create spaces that

the Neoclassicism of Claude-Nicolas

Ledoux and

make him a key


movement toward the Romanticism

Etienne-Louis BouUee in France


figure in the

of the later nineteenth century.

Regency Furniture

England, London,

Furniture of the English Regency era was strongly

1798-9.

by

French

The various working

influenced

spaces of the bank

design, borrowing, as

(now demolished) used


monumental architec-

and Roman

tural elements to lend

an

air

of grandeur

to

utilitarian functions.

dome on pendentives
with a ring of

rises

statues below the

Directoire

it

did,

Empire

and even from Egyptian, Indian,

styles,

and medieval Gothic models. Mahogany and rosewood were favorite materials, usually in the form
of veneers, and often with decorative inlays and

ornamental

details

in

gilded details were also

brass.

Black finishes and

common. Table and

skylight windows.

Reserved classical

and

from ancient Greek

legs often carried carving in fanciful,

chair

even bizarre,

detail edges the

motifs such as a leg in the form of a lion or winged

elements of the wall

griffon with a

and

ceiling surfaces

head and body tapering to a single


Monopodia). Round and octagonal
dining tables with pedestal bases became commonplace. Thomas Hope (1770-1831), a banker by
foot (called a

profession,

was

also

an

enthusiastic

furniture

book Household Furniture and


Decoration illustrated his designs for what

designer. His 1807


Interior

was then generally


ture (fig. 10.5).

174

called "English

Empire" furni-

The Regency,

Revivals,

and

Industrial Revolution

10.5 Thomas Hope,


from

illustration

Household Furniture

and

Interior Decoration,

1807.

Hope was a banker


whose friendship with
the French designer

Charles Percier (see

p.

127) led him to an


interest in design His

book promoted what

was sometimes

called

the "English Empire

a Regency era
development drawing

style, "

on

French

Percier's

grand
room Hope suggests
work. In this

built-in

couches with

winged sphinx
armchairs,

motifs,

and a

table

with other decoration

of supposed Egyptian
origin.

The basic form

of the room

is

simple,

with framed pictures

and ceiling
ornament

Revivals

Greek peninsula, the

to the

availability

surface

of books of

and
and the exhibition of

beautifully engraved drawings, such as Stuart


Revett's Antiquities of Athens,

The Romantic
past

desire

sometimes

very time

modern

much

life

always

developed

the

in

when

the

It

to a

peak

peak

from

beginnings of the

technological world were displacing so

of

Sir

Walter

Scott,

the

poetry

of

Wordsworth, the music of Schubert, Beethoven,


Schumann, and Brahms, the art of Gericault,
Delacroix, Constable, and Turner all moved away
from the logic and restraint of classicism toward

more

emotionally

expressive

directions.

an increasing interest

Romanticism

in design led to

in recreating

or "reviving" the styles of the past.

From

the earliest Renaissance beginnings, there

had been an

interest in learning

from the past and

in borrowing elements to be used in a

new

context,

but the idea of reproducing past design quite literally for

modern

uses

is

museums

in

of what had gone before. The Romantic

novels

artifacts in public

of

rich

came

Greek vases and other

and private collections encouraged enthusiasm for


the idea that Greek art and design represented a

in every aspect

eighteenth century.

art in the late

the

but

frightening,

emotional content

at

experience

to

seen as wonderful, beautiful, perhaps

a past

a nineteenth-century idea.

human

in

aesthetic achievement.

with

Neoclassicism,

Renaissance

respect

for

its

ancient

Greek revival with

its

Greek precedents

Romantic

fitted

The

step

in

the

roots

Rome,

awareness

the

to

of ancient

ideals of perfec-

tionism very well.

Germany
The Greek Revival in Germany is usually associated
with the work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel
1781-1841). Schinkel worked in a variety of styles
ranging from Neoclassicism to Gothic, often
(

providing designs for a particular building


several styles to permit a client a choice. His

in

most

successful works were adaptations of ancient classi-

cism, using an order, entablature, and often a pedi-

ment, but

his use

imaginative.

He

of this material was quite free and

never attempted a

literal

reproduc-

any Greek building. Schinkel's best-known


work is the museum in Berlin now known as Das
Altes Museum (Old Museum, 1824-30). The
tion of

Creek Revival
The design of ancient Greece was the material

for

of a series of revivals. Visits by travelers to

the

first

the

Greek ruins

at

Paestum

in Italy, as well as visits

facade

is

columns

simple

portico

of eighteen

Ionic

that stretch across the entire width of the

building, supporting an entablature band.

A simple
175

Chapter Ten

10.6

Karl Fnedrich

Schinkel,

Upper

Gallery, Altes
Berlin,

station in 1846-9, also

It

included a

up to
columns a glorious space, but
spirit. The difficulty of devising
appropriate to Greek exterior

vast "great hall" (fig. 10.7) with stairs leading

1824-30.

a screen of Ionic

The engraving shows

scarcely

how

Greek

the Greek revival in

Greek

architecture

Schinkel's skilful

may have been

Greek Revival

adaptation of Greek

in

interiors

Germany was advanced


by

by Hardwick.

Stair

Museum,

to

a factor in bringing the

an early end

in England.

architectural elements
to this

monumental

United States

building. In this

In

engraving, based on
Schinkel's

the

many

own

drawing,

Ionic

columns

to declare itself a

building externally can

block

attic

above

rises

of the building.

at the center

four-columned entrance
opening. The stair
ings, floor,

In this building, Schinkel faced a basic

problem of

rail-

and ceiling

designs are Schinkel's


effort to extrapolate

Creek practice into the

the

Greek

Greek temples,

Revival: the interiors of

only ancient Greek interior spaces of any

the

importance, were relatively small and dark spaces

forms of a nineteenth-

not suited to any modern use. The Greek Revivalist

century building.

had to invent a Greek approach to interior design


and was thus driven to originality. This was at the
time often criticized as unauthentic, but
appears

10.7

Philip

Hardwick

stair

Hardwick, Great Hall,

In

interesting.

it

the

now
Altes

behind the facade portico, an outdoor

hall

domed

Philip Charles

and

creative

Museum
and

loggia gives access

dome

rotunda, the

the attic story and so

is

to

a great central

of which

is

fitted into

invisible externally. Stairs

Euston Station, London,

lead to an upper-level gallery (fig. 10.6) in the

1846-9-

A new building

rotunda where exhibition

galleries are placed in a

type,

rectangle with

the railroad station,

brought forth

many

monumental

projects.

are

two inner

of rich

full

detail,

light courts.

The

interiors

paintings, sculpture,

and

motifs

arranged with

end, where stairs rise to

In England, the Neoclassicism of

Regency design

give access to the doors

slipped easily into the

This dignified hall

(now

demolished), which
lit

is

Neoclassical
great

architectural

skill.

by high windows,

makes use of the Greek

England

Ionic order at the far

and surrounding
balcony.

of a revival.
Sir

more specifically neo-Greek


The British Museum, begun in 1823 by

Robert Smirke (1780-1867), has a pedimented,

eight-columned portico using the Ionic order of


the Erechtheum in Athens, which continues as a

colonnade wrapped around the two side wings that


project forward to form an entrance court
are forty-four

columns

in

all.

there

The Greek Doric

order was also put to use in England in ways that

now seem

surprising. The London terminal of the


London and Birmingham Railway, Euston Station

(1835-7), was approached through a pedimented

Doric

pavilion

(1792-1870).
screen

designed

The

station

by

Philip

Hardwick

behind the entrance

was an arrangement of outdoor sheds,

destined to be replaced by a

176

United

States,

Greek

independent nation was the

that surround the

be seen through the

the

Revivalism

was

supported by an element of ideology. The newly

more monumental

just as ancient

Greek names
Ithaca

democracy

first

modern country

(actually a republic),

Greece had been. Towns were given

Syracuse,

in a flurry of

literature, architecture,

Utica, Schenectady,

enthusiasm for Greek

and
art,

and governmental system.

The aim was to recreate the glory of the Periclean


age on the North American continent. In architecture and design, the Federal style, already inclined
toward the use of Greek detail, moved into a
Revival phase in which the aim was to create whole
buildings that would appear to be Greek.

The Regency,

including the Old Patent Office

(now

Revivals,

and

the National

Industrial Revolution

10.8 Town and Davis


with John Frazee, U.S.

Portrait Gallery) with

Doric portico, and the

its

Treasury Building (1836-42) with

The Patent

endless Ionic colonnade.

many

Office has

simple and dignified stairways and vaulted

Greek

spaces, with only restrained efforts at

William Strickland worked


creative version of the

bank

seemingly

its

in a freer

Greek idiom

detail.

temple

building (1832-4) uses the Corinthian order for a


semicircular portico that

topped by

is

Lysicrates in Athens.

The Second Bank


(1818-24)

Philadelphia

(1788-1854)

is

the

in

by William Strickland
American building to be

first

designed in the form of

United States

the

ot

Greek temple;

it

has an

eight-columned pedimented portico on the model


of the Parthenon

at front

introduced along

all

and

Windows were
make the interior

rear.

four walls to

spaces functional. In the interest of

fire safety as

well as monumentality, the building

is

and

entirely of

building

masterpiece,

block

with

It

is

be

to

Tennessee

the

Nashville (1845-59).

of

similar tower motif tops the

considered

usually

tower

Monument

imitative of the ancient Choragic

State

Strickland's

Capitol

at

without pediments

at the center

monument-topped tower makes

of each

government encouraged Greek

number of

buildings in the increasingly popular

Davis

official

New

style. In

(Ithiel

Town,

1784-1844, and Alexander lackson Davis, 1803-92)

produced another Parthenon-like temple to be the

Customs House (1833-42; now

Federal Hall).

It is

also

called

the

an all-stone building with

Doric porticos front and back and windows along

The interiors
work of John Frazee (d. 1852), who
was the designer of the main public room, a
rotunda with a circle of Corinthian columns and
the sides alternating with pilasters.

were

largely the

pilasters

the

supporting a coffered

main gable roof

(fig.

Greek interior space

is

dome

fitted

10.8). This totally

all

for

residential

with

building,

under
non-

another reflection of the

The Lee Mansion

at

original owner, G.

its

Custis, in simple Federal style,

as

dignified

design for the


architect for a

and impressive.

known for his 1836


Washington Monument, was the
number of government buildings

Robert Mills (1781-1855), best

columns, the effect

is

Creek.

that

W.

P.

was transformed by

the addition of a massive Doric portico

and pedi-

ment by George Hadfield (c. 1764-1826). The


wood paneling, fireplace, and window and door
trim are typical of Federal

style,

although there are

and a triple-arch separation


between parlor and dining room that give these
rooms a special character. The Greek portico gives
the building the form that became known as a
Temple house. Hundreds of such houses were
built,
often with designs developed by local
arched

openings

who found their Greek details


One such was the Modern Builder's

carpenter-builders
in

books.

Guide,

by

Minard

Lafever

(1798-1854),

vocabulary.

Greek temples.

Greek Revival buildings that made freer adaptations of Greek precedents were often functionally
well

by Creek Corinthian

Arlington, Virginia (1802-26),

largely the design of

what appear externally

as

skylight.

a favored

results

successful professional practitioner in the

successful

an oculus

Although surrounded

use Greek details in ways that are

and handsome.
The Greek Revival quickly became

continuing problem of dealing with interiors of


to be

round domed hall with

into the mid-west as far as the Mississippi River.

the simple barrel-vaulted ceiling.

U.S.

approached the
problem by inserting a

The

side.

spread from the northeast states into the south, and

Town and

ancient

one of the few


American state capitol buildings without a dome.
Internally, lobbies and stairs and the legislative

along each side supporting an entablature below

York, the firm of

in

Greece. Frazee

this

style

Revivalism by commissioning a

something not

developed

pedimented Ionic
and six-columned porticos

restrained

federal

rior,

eight-columned

porticos at each end

chambers

The new

was

simple, rectangular

manner unknown to ancient Greece. The main


banking room that occupies the center of the
building is a handsome chamber with six columns

interior

all

large public hall

more Roman than

spaces are vaulted in a

stone,

1833-42.

revival, temple-like exte-

Exchange

in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, his

New

Federal Hall),
York,

required within a Creek

and more

after his

Customs House (now

Small

entirely of wood,
detail of

material

houses were

and the

skill

generally

Greek
built

with which the stone

Greek temples was reproduced in that


is
remarkable. Temple houses often

exhibit strange

compromises

in the elTort to

fit

complete with
windows and chimneys where needed into Greek
reasonable

dwelling

plans

177


Chapter Ten

Merchant's House Museum),

remarkable for

is

having quite well preserved interiors

From about 1820


was

design

building.

(fig. 10.9).

Greek Revival

until the 1850s,

almost

every

kind

Greek churches were

built

in

applied

to

of

great

numbers. Some, such

as St. Paul's in Richmond,


add a quite un-Greek tower to a

Virginia (1845),

temple plan
13th

Corinthian columns

writh, in this case,

in a semicircle

behind the

Others, like the

Church

Presbyterian

Street

altar.

in

New York

(1847), are simple brick meeting houses

Greek by the addition of

made

Doric portico, weU

executed here in wood. There are Greek college


buildings (Amherst, Washington, and Lee), Greek

insane asylums (Raleigh, North Carolina), Greek


courthouses, and Greek hotels.
In the south,

Greek porticos turned out

to be

genuinely functional for the great mansions built

on plantations where
comfortably

riors

Nashville

their

shade helped keep inte-

The

cool.

Hermitage

near

Oak Alley (also called Bon


Madewood, an Ionic temple house

1835);

(c.

Sejour, 1839);

both near New Orleans in Louisiana


and D'Evereux (1840) near Natchez, Mississippi,
of 1848

are

examples of the

all

houses

tion

many surviving great planta-

of simple

symmetrical

plan

with

porticos rich in Greek detail.

Gothic Revival
United States
10.9 Row house, New
York, 1832.

The typical

city

house
is

Merchant's House

Museum. The dining


room and front parlor
are separated by an
opening with sliding

columns flank the

and plaster

detail uses Greek-

inspired elements. The

Duncan

Phyfe,

and

patterned carpet

is

by

the

is

typical of the period.

The elaborate window


drapery would be usual
in the

houses

in the large cities

home of wealthy

people. The hanging

were

doorway porticos such as


handsome row along
Washington Square North in New York. Within
such houses, major rooms were made Greek with
woodwork and plaster details, egg and dart or
Greek key moldings, and even pilasters or columns
using one of the orders
Ionic was a special
favorite. There is a fine rendering of such a room,
thought to be designed by Town and Davis for a
New York City tovm house, showing two pairs of
Ionic columns separating front and back parlors in
surviving

on

the

city

house.

Greek-inspired furniture, klismos

Impatience with the

less practical aspects

of Greek

Revivalism, criticism of departures from archeological

accuracy,

with the

and probably simple boredom

monotony of such wide

use of a limited

design vocabulary eventually began to undermine


the Greek Revival. Also, the taste for Romanticism

turned toward more varied and more flexible


sources. After

all,

although ancient Greece could be

seen in a Romantic light by a Lord Byron viewing


ruins by moonlight, Greek art

were

at

Romantic novels longed


Sir

and architecture

base classical and disciplined. Readers of

Walter

Raphaelite

Scott's

painters

for settings evocative of

Ivanhoe.

with

The English

their

Pre-

rediscovery

of

and a sofa with upholstery embroidered in


Greek motifs are set beneath Greek cornice moldings and a plaster ceiling rosette. Even the wall-to-

another connection to the Gothic

wall carpeting of the floor uses a vaguely Greek

only through verbal description and the engravings

chairs,

gaslight fixtures are of

a somewhat later date

pattern.

than the house.

for

178

could

doors. Greek Ionic

furniture seen here

Row

into temple houses, but they

often fitted with small

those

called the

opening,

made

not be

in Creel< revival style

now

temple forms.

The modest row house

Joseph

Brewster

in

1832

built in

New

(now

called

York
the

medieval art as a precedent for their work offered

Medieval Gothic design,

in

era.

known

in

America

European books, was inherently exotic and

appealed to a public satiated with ancient Greece.

The Regency,

Revivals,

and

Industrial Revolution

10.10

Richard

Upjohn, Trinity Church,

New

York, 1846.

The Gothic revival

produced

this carefully

detailed version of an

English parish church

of medieval date.

Upjohn had wanted

to

design a church with a

simple timber

but

roof,

his client's building

committee wanted
vaulting, here executed
in plaster in imitation

of stone. With

its

colorful stained glass,

the intenor gives

an

impressive illusion of
the Gothic of the

Middle Ages, despite

its

nineteenth-century
origin.

Richard Upjohn (1802-78) was born and trained as


a cabinet
(fig.

maker

in England. His Trinity

10.10; 1846) at the

York

is

end of Wall

Street in

New

a convincing version of an English Gothic

parish church;

it

stands only a short distance from

the Greek temple Federal Hall by

completed only four years


stained glass,
a first

Church

and

earlier.

recreation

of English

Renwick's most important

was

St.

Patrick's

would

restrain the thrust of

may

phase of architecture and interior design, including

Jr.

Gothic

(1818-95),

York (1843-6), a
and accurate

church building.
in

New

York

have a certain appropriateness in the

to

many
design.

Gothic revival work

Cathedral

flying buttresses that

stone vaulting are absent. While Gothic forms

design of churches, the style quickly spread to every

in its sensitive

Gothic

papier-mache, with the result that the external

nave,

specialists in

New

glass.

actually

Americans

competition with a Gothic design for Grace


in

is

The vaulted

lames Renwick,

Church on Broadway
rival to Trinity Church

be stone

seem

already being revived in England.

won

to

Davis

rich Gothic detail gave

Almost immediately, other

The vaulting which appears

Town and

view of medieval design of the sort that was

design emerged,

ambulatory, clerestory, and stained

aisles,

of public buildings and residential

sorts

Renwick's design for the original Main

Building

of

the

Smithsonian

Washington (1844-6)
although in this case
in inspiration,

is

it is

also

Institution

medieval in

in

style,

Romanesque or Norman

with picturesque towers externally

and Gothic detail internally.


Town and Davis, alert to the shift in popular
taste, abandoned their Greek enthusiasm and,
particularly in the contribution

(completed 1878). This was modeled on French

became Gothic

Gothic examples, complete with cruciform plan,

looking the

Revivalists.

Hudson

of A.

J.

Davis,

The mansion

River near Tarrytown,

over-

New
179

Chapter Ten

10.1

Town and

Davis, Lyndhurst, near

Tarrytown,

New

York,

1838-65.
The

interiors

of this

mansion, which
Cothic revival

in

is

style,

have some Cothic

match the

detail to

building's ornate exterior.

Pointed arches,

paneling, tracery,

and

crockets executed in

wood

relate to the

leaded glass of the

windows. Statues stand


in

niches to the right

and

left

of the window

bay. The furniture

attempts

to offer

related style with

carved

wood

detail.

York, called Lyndhurst (1838-65)

by

essay

Davis

in

the

remarkable

application

of Gothic

is

elements, including a grand tower, to the design of


a country house.
built

The plan of the house

was symmetrical, but when

1864 (by Davis) for a


converted

it

as originally

was enlarged

new owner,

in

the changes

one of picturesque
Asymmetry. Most of the rooms are filled with
Gothic

plan

the

detail

to

ceilings with plaster ribs suggestive

of Gothic vaulting, pointed windows with tracery

and stained
mental

glass inserts,

and much carved orna-

detail (fig. 10.11).

The

billiard

room-art

gallery has a

wooden roof

baronial

Davis designed furniture in what was

hall.

supposed to be

Gothic

structure suggesting a

mode

for the house: chairs

books

Cottage

Residences

(1842)

and

The

Architecture of Country Houses (1850), with their

many engravings showing plans and perspectives


houses

in a

influential.
styles,

of

became popular and


Designs were shown in a variety of
range of

sizes,

including a simplified version of Gothic

intended for

wood construction. The kind of


Carpenter Gothic, produced by
cutting pointed-arch forms in wood

building called
local builders

with the aid of the widely used Scroll saw,

became

many

a staple of

American house building

years. Exterior walls given vertical

for

emphasis

with board and batten siding and pointed-arch

windows, often with leaded

glass,

were favorite

elements for houses and small village churches.

with carved backs (called Wheelback), suggesting

Gothic rose window tracery, an octagonal dining


table with

Gothic carving, and beds with massive

Gothic pointed-arch head- and foot-board

details.

Davis was friendly with the landscape gardener

Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-52). Downing's


180

England

The Gothic

Revival in America was at least in part

stimulated by a comparable revival in England.

Even

in

the late eighteenth centurv' there were

English forays into the Romantic implications of


The Regency,

medievalism, with the building of country houses

such as Strawberry

Hill,

near London, a modest

1750 by Horace Walpole

cottage remodeled in

(1717-97) with interiors that are

and
mode. It is a
was among the

lacy, delicate,

playful interpretations of the Gothic

surprise to learn that Robert

Adam

professionals that Walpole employed, working here


in his

notion of a Gothic vocabulary. Beginning in

1796,

wealthy

English

William

eccentric,

and Gothic approaches

classical

design problems

always

seem

much

foolish or absurd.

of his arguments

set off

battle of the styles" in

Revivalists aired

what

is

mansion on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, designed


by James Wyatt (1746-1813) and given the name
Fonthill Abbey (fig. 10.12). It was an astonishing

work

in either style as their clients

battlements,

and

pinnacles,

tower above an octagonal vaulted chamber


conceived as a kind of stage

set

on which

all

the

many of the
intensity of

often called "the

opposing views with considerable

Many

of

in

The

which Greek and Gothic

heat.

towers with vast Gothic halls and a 276 foot high

to similar

Pugin's attack on classicism and the moralistic tone

Beckford, commissioned the building of a huge

agglomeration

architects

and designers were happy to


might request.

Pugin not only propagandized

in favor

of the

Gothic mode, he also urged a true or pure Gothic

would

that

the

first

above the decorative

rise

Gothic Revivalists.

When

trivialities

of

came

to

the time

build the Houses of Parliament (the

New

Palace of

Westminster) in London, the architect chosen was


Charles Barry (1795-1860), whose previous

dramas of medieval life could be replayed. Fonthill


Abbey is known only from paintings and engravings; built largely in wood and stucco, the tower
collapsed in a wind storm, turning the entire struc-

work had been in a sedate


logical and orderly plans for

ture into a suitably romantic ruin.

brought (probably generated by Victoria herself)

The emotional and

aesthetic leanings

toward

Gothic medievalism were soon backed up by a

body of
gave

criticism

way

and philosophy. As the Regency


movement toward

to the Victorian era, a

a sternly moralistic religiosity developed.

Queen

Sir

building were

Neoclassical style. His


this large

but

received,

well

and complex
was

pressure

an English Gothic treatment, outside and

for

in.

Barry turned to Pugin for direction, and the two

men

together produced the famous building that

became
its

symbol of

British strength

and power

at

Victorian peak.

spirit

Houses of Parliament display


symmetry and formal organization of a classical
building, except for the variations introduced by
towers and the presence of the genuinely medieval
Westminster Hall. The surface detail, however, is
Gothic, representing Pugin's knowledge and skill
marred only by a certain mechanical repetitiousness, more modern than medieval. Iron joists,

urge

products of the Industrial Revolution, were used,

Gothicism as the only virtuous and acceptable

hidden behind the seeming Gothic detail. Pugin


was the leading designer of the interiors, which

model of

Victoria, herself a

became

piety

symbolic leader for

desire for a Christian

mode

and

rectitude,

toward

this turn

of design, in contrast to

and Rome which were,


after all, pagan civilizations. The era in which
Christianity dominated Europe was, of course, the
Middle Ages, and its Gothic design had an obvious
the classicism of Greece

connection with the church. The romantic

and

moralistic

style.

theories

Several writers

joined

thus

to

became polemicists

for this

Externally, the

the

some of the finest work of the Gothic


The Peers' Lobby, the Victoria Lobby, St.
Stephen's Hall, the Central Octagon, and St.
Stephen's Porch added at the end of the genuinely

Ruskin

include

(1819-1900), in his Seven Lamps of Architecture


(1849), sets forth a highly moralistic theory of

Revival.

philosophical

architecture in

line

of

criticism.

lohn

which "good" design is not merely


a matter of moral virtue as

an aesthetic matter, but


well.

According

to

Ruskin,

return

"Christian" style was the only proper and


able direction for art

Ruskin was

and design

to

the

accept-

not himself a designer, but his

themes were advanced with

parallel

force by a

highly professional architect, Axisus tus

Pugin (1812-52), the author

oif

medieval Westminster Hall

Gothic Revivalism

House of Lords

Welby

Contrasts (1836),

True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture


(1841), and a number of other works in which

all

(fig.

10.13)

demonstrate Pugin's

The chamber

at its best.

is

for the

probably the most

rooms the chamber for the


House of Commons went through several alter-

spectacular of these

to take.

Industrial Revolution

to the disadvan-

which was made

tage of the classical


plates to

and

used to make direct comparisons

illustrations are

between

Revivals,

ations that

left it

Barry or Pugin

not to the satisfaction of either

(or, for that matter,

of the

Members

who met there).


Pugin designed

many

churches in the Gothic

idiom, but their very correctness in imitation of

181

Chapter Ten

10.12 James Wyatt,


south end of

St.

Michael's Gallery,
Fonthill

Abbey,

Wiltshire, England,

from 1795.
This extraordinary

shown in a
1823 engraving, was
built for an eccentric
house,

English

client,

Beckford,
early in

William

who was

demanding the
was to domi-

style that

nate the Gothic revival


Despite

Its

name,

it

was

not an abbey, but the


stained glass, tracery,

and fan

vaulting, simu-

lated in plaster,
typical of the

was

many

grand spaces with


subtle coloring. Red
carpet, curtains,

and

chair cushions set off

the more delicate pink

and grey of painted


surfaces. In 1825 the
building was destroyed

when a wind storm


blew over

its

276

foot

high wooden tower.

10.13 Charles

Barry

and Augustus Welby

New

Pugin,

N.

Palace of

Westminster (Houses of
Parliament),
Lords,

House of

London,

1836-52.
Barry's orderly

plan for

the extensive cluster of

was clothed
a Gothic ornamental
treatment, which was
urged by Pugin who
buildings
in

had primary

responsi-

bility for the interiors.

This great chamber,

with

its

traceried

stained glass, Gothic


arches,

and paneled

ceiling,

could easily be

mistaken for a medieval


interior,

was

although

it

built during the

early Victorian era.

182

The Regency,

their

Revivals,

and

Industrial Revolution

medieval protor)T?es makes them seem some-

dull. The small country church of St. Mary's


West Tofts, Norfolk (1845-50), is one of the
most successful. Although many examples have
beautifully detailed furnishings and ornament, the
vitality that came from slow building with contributions of carving and ornament from generations

what
at

of craftsmen,

is

missing in these works that were

produced from drawings made by (or at the direction oO one architect working in a modern professional way.

Pugin had few opportunities to apply


to

ries

residential

projects.

He was

his theo-

and

active

successful as a designer of furniture, textiles, wall-

paper, decorative

and published

tile,

stained glass,

illustrated

and metalwork,

books of designs

in these

exerted strong influence in the develop-

fields that

ment of design

in the Victorian era for

many

years

after his death.

The work of William

Butterfield (1814-1900)

is

not as archeologically correct as the Gothic of


Pugin, but
that

make

interesting even

All

ugliness.

(1849-59)

cramped

has qualities of originality and strength

it

it

is

site

Saints,

when

Margaret

its

may border on
London

in

squeezed on to a

a brick building

along with

it

Street,

vicarage

school together with a massive tower.

and a church

The red

brick

and patterned with bands of darker


simple Gothic forms are covered with

walls are striped


brick. Inside,

glazed brick,

tiles,

and marbles

in various colors

forming strong geometric patterns


Butterfield's intention in his use of

not romantic or even aesthetic;


the conviction that

it

it

(fig.

Gothic

10.14).

style

was

grew rather from

was the only structurally

valid

system of building. His ornament was an original

tion of the processes of industry in the eighteenth

sound structure
a foretaste of the emphasis on "honesty" and structural
expression that would develop in the

century.

modernism of the twentieth

of other trades. Virtually

approach to expressive

The

detail for

century.

Industrial Revolution

The term Industrial Revolution is used to describe


the complex of developments that transformed
Britain, then other western European nations and
the United States, into
It is

modern

nology was available


French

in

encyclopedist

produced

in his

Denis

by four horses walking

wood even

to consider

Diderot

(1713-84)

many-volume work documenta-

show

the techniques of glass

work is hand work


not, of course, without tools and equipment, but
the tools are simple and the equipment is hand
made. There is no assembly line, no machinery.
The most advanced machinery shown by
Diderot is the wooden gearing of a mill grinding
hops for the making of beer. The power is supplied
of the mill.

10.14 William
Butterfield, All Saints,

Margaret

blowing, shipbuilding, cabinet making, and dozens

change

what techthe eighteenth century. The

two centuries,

with wonderfully

articles, illustrated

detailed engraving,

industrial nations.

helpful, in trying to grasp the extent of

in the last

The

windmill

all

in a circle in the
is

shown, entirely

to the wheels

sources of power are

basement

and

human,

gears.

horse,

Street,

London, 1849-59.

Although

Butterfield's

work can be viewed as


belonging to the Gothic
revival, it

and

has an energy

originality that

goes beyond historic


imitation.

arches

The great

and

buttress

half-arches have

almost harsh
ness,

which

is

accented

by the generous use of

built of

The only
water, and

floor

and

which are

wall

tiles,

in the

strongly contrasting
colors typical of

wind,

all

Through

of the
all

of

last

three only used in limited ways.

human

history

an

forceful-

much

Victorian work.

from the stone age


had been

until the late eighteenth century, these

183

T/l

Chapter Ten

used to build more factories, making their owners

quick survey of the possessions of any modern

wealthy and, eventually, making the countries that

the only ways in which things could be made.

family will reveal few,

The plumbing

if

any,

hand-made

objects.

lamps, the stove, and

fixtures, the

refrigerator; the telephone, radio, television,

computer;
clothing

the

not

to speak of the car, the

even the children's toys:

most would be

pumped

the

lawn mower,

made, and

are factory

useless without the ready supply of

water, electric current, gasoline, and spare

which are

parts

all

and

bedding,

the

fiarniture,

turn products of industrial

in

and

Early Industrialization

Inventions
wave of

first

industrialization

was based on a

few key inventions. The steam engine, the


great "prime

mover"

first

to be turned to use as a source

of power for pumping water and running the

machinery of

mills,

textile

was developed by

of inventors culminating with James Watt

series

(1736-1819) of Glasgow. His stationary engines of


1769 to 1788 offered the
to

first

practical alternative

hand, horse, wind, and water as a source of

power. Steam engines and the boiler that fed them


required metals for their working parts. Iron had

been known and


special

purposes

blades)

since

needed

for

steel

made

steel

and

knife

engines

mines and

required

and

steel

mills.

blast

Transport of

from mines, of iron from foundries, and of


from mills to the shops where engines could

muddy

pulled along

roads.

Making a road of metal


no longer pulled by

a "rail road" with cars

horses or oxen but by the special mobile version of


the steam engine, the locomotive
to build

for

more

factories

more steam
railroads,

and take

engines, to

and

to bring

made

it

easier

make more

rails

raw materials

their products to markets.

to

The

States, and, eventually, other

countries rose in wealth and status as the process of


industrialization progressed.

While

happening, the world of design paid

all

of this was

little

attention

except to offer a few complaints about the noise

and

dirt associated

revivalists,

with the

new

Greek or Gothic, took

inventions.

little

The

notice of the

Nash used iron columns in the Brighton Pavilion,


Huston Station had a Greek entrance gate, Latrobe
designed a steam-powered water pumping station
with Greek detail. Steam engines often incorporated structural parts of cast iron in the form of
classical columns. Locomotives sometimes had
domes shaped like Roman temples or curiously
squat versions of Greek columns. Wealthy clients
were less often titled aristocrats and more
frequently self-made industrialists or the managers
and professionals who served industry. The
segments of populations who would have been
"peasants" working in agriculture and living in
farm houses became the "mill-hands" who worked
in factories and lived in cities, most often in grim
slums made up of squalid tenements.

Industry and Interiors


The impact of the early phases of the Industrial
Revolution on interior design was more technical
than
aesthetic.
First
toward modern
steps
plumbing, lighting, and heating appeared, making
some important elements of earlier interiors obsolescent. Cast iron became an inexpensive and practical material for the making of stoves. Stoves
heated with wood, and then coal, had major advantages in terms of efficiency and convenience over
the open fireplace (fig. 10.15). Ready availability of
coal resulted from improved mining and rail transport. For cooking, the special form of stove called a

building of iron ships powered by steam engines

kitchen range, also of cast iron,

introduced similar improvements in sea travel and

places obsolete. Kitchen ranges were developed,

inter-continental transport of goods. The


power loom of Joseph Cartwright (1785) and the

with water reservoirs kept

steam engine together made possible a

water

the

textile mill

capable of producing cheap cloth in quantity.

The
required

products

of

engine-powered

factories

hand labor and so could be inexpenearned by mills and factories could be

less

sive. Profits

184

Germany, the United

ancient times, but the quantities

be made called for something better than ox carts

rails,

in small quantities for

weapons,

(armor,

furnaces, foundries
coal

rich and powerful.


dominant world power. France,

industrialization

England became

great changes taking place in their world. John

processes.

The

turned to

systems

began

to

pumps

kitchen

warm by the

provide hot water as needed. In

provided by steam

made

cities,

stove

fire-

fire to

central piped

appear,

the

that could

lift

pressure

water to a

high reservoir or water tower so that gravity would

make water

bathrooms on the upper


Running water, flush toilets.

available to

floors of buildings.

The Regency,

Revivals,

and

10.15

and the drain trap that blocks the escape of sewer


gases were all introduced into general use in the

were placed

in cellars to heat

Revolution brought
workers into parts of
cities

and

pipes

called

grilles

"registers."

The

warm

workers

and

their fami-

often were crowded

lies

larger

warm

living

expensive. Factory

into tiny quarters, such

spaces of churches, theaters, schools, hospitals, and


public buildings could also be heated by

where

space was scarce and

through

living spaces

1892,

c,

The Industrial

of central heating gradually replaced stoves. Coal-

which was circulated to

flat,

building,

Glasgow,

and showers were luxuries at first


but eventually became standard in city houses and
at least sometimes in rural houses as well. Systems
fired furnaces

Restored

tenement

1800s. Bath tubs

air

Industrial Revolution

as

this

room, where

cooking stove, alcove

air

systems. Furnaces were also arranged to heat water


so that piped hot water could be available in bath-

bed,

and

lines

share the

clothes drying

same

small space The


restoration has prob-

rooms.
Artificial lighting,

ably

confined to candles until the

less

end of the eighteenth century, was improved


through a

series

burned

fuel

colza

(made from

oil

this

room

would have been

it

in its

original state. The

of inventions. Oil lamps that

called

made

squalid than

wall clock

neat

and small

objects introduce

an

vegetable seed) were developed with wick holders

improbable touch of

and feed mechanism. That could be factory made

elegance. The radio

in

quantity and provided better light than candles

with
oil

less

inconvenience. Whale

as

"mineral

is,

of course, modern.

replaced colza

oil

and was eventually replaced by

fuel

oil," that

is,

petroleum and

its

derivative,

kerosene. Various improved burners such as those

Iron

and Class

using a mantle, a curtain of ash that produced a


bright incandescent glow, gave better light than a

The development of oil lamps with


functional advantages and varied appearance

direct flame.
their

The

Industrial Revolution brought

as

many

produced

applications.

The invention of illuminating

made

possible the gradual

introduction of piped gas for lighting supplied by

The same

centralized city systems.

gas

was

also

new

needs and

displaced candlesticks, sconces, and chandeliers in

gas, originally coal gas,

new ways of
new

building that resulted from the interaction of

technology.

new

The

availability

of iron

of great strength and low cost,

material

and railroad

rails,

introduced

wood and masonry

as building

for engines

alternative to

At the same time the need for great

materials.

bridges to carry railroads and great train sheds for

new

usable for cooking ranges and for various heating

stations

devices such as the gas grate which could be placed

Engineering emerged as a technological profession

make an open

in fireplaces to

The

visible

fire

teenth century.

in a utilitarian

or colorful

in the early nine-

The bathroom emerged

kind of space, but


place in house

which had

unnecessary.

evidences of these technological

developments remained minor

it

as a

new

was usually given a minor

and other building plans and treated


way, perhaps with some marble trim

tiles

in

luxury examples.

Kitchens,

by default since

they were not given any particular aesthetic attention. In living spaces, the role

of the fireplace and

mantel diminished, giving way to a small coal


grate, a "parlor stove,"

register inserted

have been.

and

where the

problems.

connection with the gentlemanly

had been the bases of earlier

architectural practice.

Although early engineering

first had little impact on the designers


and
Gothic Revival buildings, they
of Greek
demonstrated new techniques that were destined to

structures at

bring about basic changes in design comparable to


those developing in every other aspect of life.

The
span

first

the

iron bridge was built in England to

Severn

River

Shropshire, in 1779,
the

foundry

of

its

at

Coalbrookdale,

arches cast in sections in

Abraham Darby

III.

Thomas

Telford (1757-1834) was the designer of a major

air

aqueduct, Pont-Cysylltau in Wales, built in 1805 to

opening would

carry a canal across the River Dee. Great stone piers

finally to a

fireplace

little

engineering

aesthetic concerns that

viewed as the workplaces of servants, were often


early exercises in functional design

presented

hot

support nineteen arches

made up

of cast-iron

185

'

Chapter Ten

segments bolted together. Telford designed

a great

suspension bridge to carry a carriage road from the

mainland of Wales to the island of Anglesey across

Menai

the

of 579

Strait.

This opened in 1826:

level to

pass underneath.

span

for

suitable

elaborate, too expensive, or otherwise impratical.

the

that

The bridge

is still

are not

chain could hang in the


all

such bridges.

in regular use carrying

Kingdom Brunei

of 1851 designed by Isambard

(1806-59), was powered by two sets of steam


engines,

one driving paddle wheels and the other

turning a screw propeller.

Its

luxurious passenger

accommodations were decorated

The Public's Perception of Crystal Palace

modern

giant ship built of iron, the Great Eastern

in the prevailing

The

radical nature of

Joseph Paxton's design

for

London drew sharp condemnation


from many quarters, adding to criticism of the very
Crystal Palace in

notion of a "Great Exhibition." The writer and art

John Ruskin dismissed

it

While the building of engines,

and bridges may seem to have

railroads, ships,

little

connection

critic

as a "cucumber frame

between two chimneys," adding,


In

the year 1851,

when

all

that glittering roof

built in order to exhibit all the petty arts of

taste.

was

own

our

fashionable luxury-carved bedsteads of Vienna,

glued toys of Switzerland and gay jewellery from


France-in that very year, say, the greatest
I

with interior design,


use

it

was the techniques

for the

of industrial materials developed in these

projects that

made new ways of constructing build-

ings possible. Railroad terminals

protect trains, passengers,

a scale

would reach across many tracks. Wood and


masonry were not ideal materials for the purpose
and engineers designing railways found it logical to
apply their knowledge and build in iron. Glass,
that

now

factory

made

in quantity in large sheets,

was

and transparent material for filling in


iron frames to make train sheds. The two side by

an ideal

light

side that covered King's Cross Station in


(fig.

pictures of Venetian masters were rotting at Venice


In

the rain for want of a roof to cover them.

Politicians followed suit:

needed sheds to

and baggage on

10.16; 1850-2) were designed

London

by Lewis Cubitt

(1799-1883); here the masonry facade reveals the

Are the elms [of Hyde Park] to be sacrificed for one


of the greatest frauds, greatest humbugs, greatest
absurdities every known
[T]hey are going to
expend 26,000 on this building when the Irish
poor are starving. '
However, when Paxton's design was completed, and
the exhibition opened,
following entry

in

Queen

Victoria

made

simple clock tower. There


other

historically

no Gothic, Greek, or

is

inspired

detail.

Paddington Station (1852-4) has


train sheds

glass

The glimpse of that transept through the Iron


gates, the waving palms, flowers, statues, myriads
of people filling the galleries and seats around,
with the flourish of trumpets as we entered, gave us
a sensation which can never forget, and felt
much moved .... The sight as we came to the
I

greatest

and iron

touchlng-a day to

In

vast, so glorious, so

live forever.

Even The Times, an early

critic,

conceded:

There was yesterday witnessed a sight the like of


which has never before and which In the nature of

nineteenth-century glass and iron

building was built in

was maglcal-so

front

England: Paxton

The

middle, with the beautiful crystal fountain just

London's

by Brunei.

the

her journal:

iron sheds within in two great arches separated by a

London

in 1851.

It

had been

decided to hold a "Great Exhibition," what would

who were

so

knew what most

to

things can never be repeated. They


fortunate as to see

It

hardly

admire or In what form to clothe the sense of


wonder. .the edifice, the treasures of art collected
.

now

be called a World's

brate

the

greatness

Fair, in

London

to cele-

of Victorian England. The

nations of the world were invited to send exhibits

of their finest products in art and industry to be


in

Hyde Park

in a

huge exhibition

Victoria's consort. Prince Albert,

hall.

was put

in

charge of organizing the project, and turned his

186

Above them

therein ....

more

lofty

cathedrals.

rose a glittering arch far

than the vaults of our noblest


''

John Ruskin, The Opening of the Crystal Palace. 1 854, p.


2
Hansard Parliamentary Report, June 8, 1 850; 3. Patrick Beaver, The
Crystal Palace (London, 1970) 4. The Tmes. editorial. May 2, 1851
1

shown
Queen

It

was reported that a chief gardener (really an estate


manager) for the great estate of Chatsworth, loseph

permit large sailing ships to

The suspension elements

graceful catenary curve typical of

ornate

proposals

finding

to

but chains made of great iron bars bolted

together so

traffic.

had

and the roadway was held high enough

feet,

above water
cables,

it

attention

building. Various architects presented schemes too

1 ;

The Regency,

Revivals,

and

Industrial Revolution

10.16

Lewis Cubitt,

train shed, King's Cross

Station, London,

1850-2.
The two parallel train
sheds (one of which

shown

is

here) that Cubitt

designed are typical of


the engineenng

achievements devel-

oped

to

meet the

demands of the
Industrial Revolution.

The semicircular arches


supporting glass
skylights were onginally

constructed in lami-

nated wood and


replaced with

later

iron.

Victorian ornamen-

way

talism here gives


to

a functional

emphasis that points


toward the modern

era.

10.17 Joseph Paxton,


Crystal Palace, London,

1851.
The famous building,
seen

in

a contemporary

lithograph,

housed the

Creat Exhibition, a

showcase of Victorian
prosperity

and

taste

It

occupied one of the


first

buildings of truly

modern concept Its


iron frame and the
glass walls and roof,
with their functional
simplicity, contrast

strangely with the


display of flond,

overdecorated goods

and sentimental
uary.

The great

stat-

trees in

predated

this intenor

the building

and

remained after

its

removal.

187

Chapter Ten

10.19

(ng^t) Pierre-

Paxton (1803-65), had constructed

Francois-Henri

Labrouste, Bibliotheque

Nationale, Pans,

for tropical plants

glass.

meeting was

1859-67,

proposed

square reading room

similar construction

is

topped by nine

domes, each with an


iron

frame supporting

panels of tile Light

comes from the oculae


in the

domes. The

extreme thinness of the


columns, permitted by
the strength of the iron,

makes

for

on open and

a conservatory

all of iron and


where Paxton

arranged

greenhouse of

to Prince Albert a vast

for

the exhibition.

Despite

and protests, Paxton's proposal was


finally accepted and constructed with the aid of the
engineering firm of Fox and Henderson.
uncertainties

The

known

building, soon

as the Crystal Palace

was made up of iron frames, columns,


and girders produced in quantity at a foundry,
bolted together on site, and glazed with sheets of
(fig.

10.17),

factory-made

beautiful space.

greenhouse

glass.

It

was unlike anything ever


(it was 1851 feet

built before: a vast internal space

10.18

Pierre-Franfois-

Henri Labrouste,

Bibliotheque

Genevieve,

feet)

almost negligible, glass walls and roof.

mam space of the


has one of the
structural

systems to be put to
architectural use. The

outer walls are stone,

but the support

struc-

with the

ture

IS iron,

slim

row of columns

down

the center of the

space supporting the


iron arches

of the

roof.

The detail of the arches


IS

giant

elm

on the site was left undisturbed within the


building. The beautifully simple and airy interior
was greatly admired by the crowds that attended
the exhibition so that, when the time came to
remove the building, it was decided to dismande it
and reassemble it at Sydenham, then on the edge of
London. It stood there until 1936 when it was
destroyed by a fire.
We can see from the many engravings and color
tree

The reading room, the

first all-iron

with structural elements so slim as to be

St.

Paris,

1844-50.

library,

long and had an area of more than 800,000 square

prints that
ingly

were made of the building

modern

Crystal

how

the vast interior space was

appears

Palace

in

every

strik-

indeed,

architectural

ornamental but also

suited to the

history as the

wrought-iron structure

what much

first

later

fully realized

came

to be called

achievement of

modernism. The

exhibits that filled the Crystal Palace during the

Great

were

Exhibition

mented

also

thoroughly

in well-illustrated publications.

docu-

They form

a strange contrast with the building, as they are

generally of the decorated or over-decorated sort


that

became the norm of "high Victorian" design

(see

Chapter

1 1 ).

and

Iron

were

glass,

used

increasingly

as

building materials in the second half of the nineteenth century, most often for buildings that were

thought

market

of as

utilitarian

strictly

train

sheds,

and other factory buildings, and


all structures where the economy

halls, mills

exhibition halls

and ease of iron construction were more important


than monumentality.
France: Labrouste, Baltard,

The

French

and

Pierre-Fran(;ois-Henri

architect

Labrouste (1801-75) was trained

Beaux-Arts in Paris and

Rome

that gave

His

Italy.

Genevieve
is

first

him

Eiffel

won

at

the

the Ecole des

Grand

Prix de

a five-year period of study in

major work was the

library of St.

in Paris (fig. 10.18; 1844-50). Its design

forward looking in

way

quite independent of

the teachings of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

building has a simple exterior of stone,

its

The

rows of

arched windows framed with Neoclassical detail so


restrained as to be hardly noticeable. Carved into

the stone panels below the upper

names of 810 authors, arranged

windows
in

are the

alphabetical

A central entrance door leads to a large hall


where square Neoclassical columns support iron
order.

segmental arches that in turn support a plain,


ceiling.

and

On
room

hall passes

188

flat

either side of this vestibule are stacks


for special collections.

through the building

The entrance

like a

tunnel to

The Regency,

reach a grand double stair at the rear; this in turn


gives access to the great reading

room

that occupies

The walls are lined with


bookshelves with windows high above. A row of
thin iron columns on the center line of the room
supports the two simple barrel vaults, made up of
the entire upper floor.

grid stairs

and

permits

and

all

of the

levels.

glass wall

view from the reading room into the

A high, open central space runs through the


room, with bridges for easy access from one
to the other. Ornamentation is minimal,

stacks.

stack
side

room an

iron arches, that support the curved plaster ceiling.

giving the stack

The ironwork is perforated in a decorative pattern


with no historical precedents. The provision of gas

therefore surprisingly

entirely functional,

modern,

Other iron structures

and

aspect.

for various uses gradually

Paris (1859-67), also designed

became more common in the nineteenth century.


The great wholesale food markets of Paris, Les
Halles Centrales, begun in 1853 by Victor Baltard
(1805-74), were a virtual neighborhood of iron

more complex

pavilions with covered streets until their demoli-

light

made

library to

it

possible for this to be the

remain open

The much

larger

first

French

after dark.

Bibliotheque Nationale in

by Labrouste, is a
main reading room
(fig. 10.19), sixteen thin iron columns support
interconnecting iron arches to form nine square
bays. Each is topped by a dome made up from
building. In the

curved plates of earthenware ceramic.

window
with

at

light.

the center of each

The outer

dome

An

oculus

floods the space

walls are of masonry, inde-

1964. Exhibition buildings, such as the

tion in

Machines

des

Galerie

for

built

the

Paris

International Exhibition of 1889, used giant trusses

with pivot points

and

at their bases

at a center

point where the trusses meet to form a "three-

hinged arch" with a span of more than 480

feet.

movement

pendent of the iron structure, and are lined with

The purpose of the

three tiers of bookshelves with balconies for access.

thermal expansion and contraction occur in the

Adjacent to the reading room, the nmgasin central


or stacks occupy an equally large space
four tiers of stack shelving,

all

filled

by

of iron with open

Industrial Revolution

permitting daylight from roof

floors,

skylights to light

Revivals,

pivots

is

to allow

metal of the trusses. The French desire to

demon-

engineering as

equality or superiority in

strate

as

compared to English achievements is demonstrated by these stuctures and, close by, for the
same exhibition, by the famous tower by Gustave
Eiffel

(1832-1923).

It

was

for

The

structure ever built.

made

years the tallest

elevators that serve the

tower were evidence that

on

many

tall

buildings could be

The restaurants
combined the engi-

useful to the general public.

the platforms of the tower

neering vocabulary of iron with the fashionable


taste for decorative clutter. Eiftel's earlier

work had

10.20

touis-Charles

Boileau and Custave


Eiffel,

Bon Marche,

Pans, 1876-

Grand stairways lead

to

the upper levels of this

Pans department store,


in an engraving.

seen

The slim and elegant


iron structure permits

included several great iron railroad bridges and the


iron-structured interior of a large Paris department
store,

Bon Marche

(fig.

10.20;

1876),

where the

spectacular views of the

open central space and


supports the roof of
glass skylights. The

iron structure and glass roofs above open courts

crowds of fancily

allow daylight to flood the interior.

dressed shoppers found

The Regency and

the several revival styles that

the store a source of

entertainment as well

followed

it

sequence of

can be thought of
stylistic

as

ending the

developments dating back to

as a place to purchase
goods.

The changes brought about by the

antiquity.

Industrial Revolution upset this long continuity in

design

history.

and

Social

economic

production

created

new

changes

many aspects

relating to the mechanization of so

circumstances

designers struggled to deal with.

of

that

The Victorian

era in the second half of the nineteenth century, the

subject of the following chapter,

successes

and

terms with

is

marked by the

failures of the efforts to

come

to

new realities.
189

The Victorian Era

Until the nineteenth century, European society had

functionalism

been made up of

developments. Victorian design thus seems to be

"upper

and wealthy

a small, powerful,

class" of titled aristocrats

whose wealth was

tion

generation to generation, and a very large class of

worlds of

owned by

on

the land

The middle class of


tradesmen, skilled craftsmen, and professionals
was so small as to be a minor factor in the social
and economic order. In the nineteenth century, the
aristocratic upper class began to lose its domination for both political and economic reasons. The
the titled class.

class

of agricultural peasants decreased in

work

in mills, factories,

size as

and mines supplanted farm


work. The growing middle class was made up of a
stratum of society that learned to turn the

rising

Industrial Revolution into a source of

The

and powerful who

rich

new

wealth.

lived in great houses,

chateaux, and palaces had always been surrounded

by
11.1

richly

decorated

(be/ow) Catalog

page, Great Exhibition,

draperies,
skilled

London, 1851.
Despite the logic

and

simplicity of the Crystal


Palace, where the exhibition took place, the

all

rugs,

and

hand made of costly materials by


The new middle class could

craftsmen.

afford such things

produced

sively

ornate

objects,

now

that they

and the

ornamental became the dominant theme of

home

the riot of meaningless

ornament

demonstration of

striking

chimneypiece (bottom).

{opposite) Franl<

Furness, Pennsylvania

of Fine Arts,

Philadelphia, 1871-6.

The Victonan-type
institution incorporated

an art school on the


ground floor and a

museum on

the second

documentation of the Great Exhibition of 1851


the

Crystal

stration of the possibilities of the

reached by the grand


stainvay shown here.

and

original

version of Victorian
style

made

glass.

Within, however, the

were

frosting, each exhibitor

frequent use

competitors in an excess of tastelessness that

all

now seems

generate interiors that

depart from any


historic precedents.

The

make

lithographs

patterned wall surfaces

in

lively

an era that the

Lewis

Mumford

possible to study these curious

it

contrasts in considerable detail

background

the

In

wonderful

illustrated

a fine set of colored

(fig. 11.1).

and

overhead,

the

can be

simplicit)' of the great structure

H.

&

haldathii blgli

Pnmm,

The Roots of Victorian

'

wignTiog:

ll

up-

lun
I

nequlnd

pttHloi)

npuUUuoBhlclLthiHgTDlIwi
In til fmiU of Ean>\t
T

lietagut

'

aiiulniEtiiML

tnu

tna uobhuvj artir

ID oulluii, Li(til muil ien|>l~

Style

The

long

of

reign

Britain's

Queen

Victoria

(1837-1901) overlapped the period of revivals and


the "battle of the styles," and coincided with a

major part of the Industrial Revolution and the


Arts and Crafts or Aesthetic movement in
England. As a style, however, "Victorian" has come
to mean an aspect of nineteenth-century design in
England and America (and parallel developments
other

Ttiia

Lmch

luuu

ThsCniHiiTr

TlHa pwU nrra ifai pur

t Son. of Lobli

Inos

Putt

bjr

BruBali

llMm UOLLini
'

dciuK tloH

ID EnoluiiL

tlidul" J>>*.'

Of

Thm

it,

oa

Ihll at Ibi

TTit

iBirli !

cuiqnonaK

Miiuuiltlj

Ith > (n*

mnml

in

tdapUtUa

wilnul-oBl.

lottei

ulnngouL Tbs)

fM

UuJ

aboul Ihrno

iitlu

cDninDfUachiirMnria

In blight

European countries) characterized by


sometimes over-deco-

proliferation of decorative,
rative,

design

ornamentation.
historians

and

Many

twentieth-century

critics

have

dismissed

a riot of tasteless excess verging

on absurdity.

a vitality,

and

freedom that the more

"tasteful"

design of the preceding and following years some-

much

One

neglected

aspect of Victorianism has been

the development

of a simple

vernacular vocabulary in areas dealing with tech-

critic

called

the "brown decades.

190

complete

and

TnE WDnSTRY OF ALL NATIOSS.

times lacks.

and

and

ludicrous.

catalog of the exhibition

However, Victorian design often has an energy,

pointed arches to

are unusual

of decorative

riot

seemingly trying to outdo

Victorian design as representing a nadir of quality,

of stubby columns and

strong colors

demon-

industrial

and

A. HouiBi, caniagf-biiililniv qf
Ikriir. cDntribuU i Liost FiiiE
at

Furness's highly

personal

new

exhibited

materials, iron

materials

at

This famous proto-modern

Palace.

building (see pp. 187-8) was a dramatic

,1.

in

which was

floor,

seemingly

this

to beautify

Academy

of

all

Park Phaeton" (top) to

11.2

in

fields

inconsistent design view can be studied in the

varied from the "Light

intended

growing

in the

and technology.

science

developed

tradition

and

industry, transport,

and government,

religion,

life,

functional

the

design.

objects on display

architectural

florid decora-

dominating the formal and "respectable"

while

were inexpen-

in quantity; the decorative

two worlds, with

strangely split into

based on feudal land holdings inherited from


"peasants," mostly agricultural workers

a precursor of twentieth-century

is

"

nical, practical,

rative elements

and functional design where decowere restrained or absent. Such

'

iMrfcrsM

bm^ ud

*U

ili*

iu>ntl>

v*

of

Biitiali

'aecbjilunMB

fast h|(i,

ctgnt* oel^ tbtt

ot

wiil

Chapter Eleven

That the quality of ornamentation declined so

glimpsed. The hoop-skirted ladies and stovepipe-

dramatically

and one assumes admiring, chairs and tables,


mirrors, and pianos, stoves and mantels, china and
glassware, all encrusted with an amazing variety of

pre- industrial world, design was produced by a

ornamentation. In general, the ornament

not

is

based on any historic precedents. Greek columns

and Gothic arches are rarely to be seen; instead


forms borrowed from human and animal figures,
leaves and flowers, and complex florid arabesques
having no discoverable sources cover almost every
object. Here and there a locomotive, a

pistol,

an

astronomical telescope, or the gears of machines


offer

some

contrast, but these functional objects

are almost lost amid the plethora of "artistic" deco-

There were tables supported by

rative works.

cast-

small

calls for

number of creative people

art and
The weaver was the
he wove and had a knowledge

of the time.

architecture

designer of the cloth

of and respect for the materials and patterns that he

produced. The

silver smith, the glass

clock maker, the

craftsmen

wood

worked

all

carver,

the mill

The pianos

printing

are barely visible

upright,

beneath their overlay of orna-

When

weaving became an industrial operation,


hand had no role in the design of the
produced.

textiles that the factory

to

became

reasons behind this typically Victorian

frenzy of decorative excess seem to be based in the

congruence of two

related

Industrial Revolution

and

be printed was no concern of the workers


cloth. Factory-made furniture was

developments.

The

impact on manufac-

its

produced from machine-made parts that were


who had no role in design.

assembled by workers

Design became increasingly separated from the

and control of design passed into the hands


who had no
tradition of involvement in such matters. They

crafts,

of the factory owners and managers

once
for making ornamental carving
molds were made, repeating an elaborate design
was cheap, easy, and cost effective. In fact, ornamentation could conceal minor defects in castings

became the norm of Victorian

would be objectionable in plain surfaces. The


scroll saw and more complex carving machines
could produce details in wood reminiscent of hand

of decorative elements in

made

it

easy,

material

that

carving of the past.

Industrial

production also

generated wealth. The owners of factories and mills

for

rich,

new

accountants,

while their industries created a need

class

and

textile

producing the

and therefore
cheap, to produce ornamentation that would
previously have required slow and costly skilled
handwork. Power looms could weave elaborately
ornamented textiles and carpets as easily as plain
and simple equivalents. Cast iron was an ideal
turing had, by 1851,

became

When

mechanical process, the design

not constructed by cabinet makers, but instead

mental carving.

The

plaster

clientele that respected excellence in aesthetic as

winged thoughts," carved


bed "with details of
sideboards and
produced
industrially
Renaissance,"
the French

AxMiNSTER
of Collard and CoUard, one grand and one

blower, the

and the

in related traditions for a

well as materialistic terms.

carpets, flowery chintzes.

artists, architects

of his period in relation to the best

detail

iron swans, chairs of papier-mache decorated, the

cradles, a metal

and craftsmen-designers who


worked within traditions that had developed slowly
over long periods. The cabinet maker learned his
trade as an apprentice, and learned the ornamental
(often self-taught),

catalog states, with "two

of managers, salespeople, and


the

supporting

related professions that

make up modern

knew only

maximum

that

the

buying

public

wanted

production could deliver what was wanted


cheaply,

and

virtually a universal

at

tive,

classification.

the ever-

design

fi-om

for free

all

combinations

styles finally defeats

The

term

many sources,

"eclectic,"
is

descrip-

but that term has become so attached to a

more formal
its

style,

made such

norm.

The Victorian fondness

meaning borrowing

easily,

As garish ornamentation

profitably.

present desire to be "in style"

efforts

of ornamentation and that industrial

practice of the twentieth century that

use for Victorian examples creates confusion.

The

interior design of Victorian buildings

is,

if

the

mixture of styles

The
and the use of invented ornament

business.

having no clear

stylistic

systems

banking, securities markets, insurance, and

all

of

anything,

even

more

difficult

to

classify.

bases were typical of the

became
increasingly affluent, and so able to afford to buy
the products of industry that would make for a

design of furniture and other objects of the time,

comfortable

whim.

People

192

further explanation. In the

hatted gentlemen in the illustrations are viewing,

who worked

life.

in

these fields also

while the owners and occupants of buildings

felt

free to mix, aher, and redecorate according to

The Victorian

mented

Britain

and clock towers

defenses,

Era

visible for miles

around were favorite external features. In Cheshire,


lohn Tollenmache commissioned his architect,

The Gothic

Revival,

itself

a highly professional

exercise in historicism, lasted until well into the

1880s as one of a

competed

number of stylistic

the

for

directions that

patronage of newly wealthy

merchants,

manufacturers,

"self-made"

men who were

bankers,
all

and

other

anxious to have

great houses comparable to those of the titled aristocracy. The great houses of Tudor, Elizabethan,

Anthony

Salvin (1799-1881), to build Peckforton

Castle (1844-50), a surprisingly convincing imitation of an actual medieval castle, complete with

round tower keep, stone-vaulted great


the

and

children,

master's chamber. Tyntesfield in Somerset, a

more

typically Victorian

models, and castles could sometimes be bought in

with

some

with

states,

sham

so that real antiquity could combine

extensions.

Mansions
Architects and interior decorators

who worked on

houses for the English nouveaux riches were generally

quite knowledgeable about historic styles they


to

reproduce, although the results always

seem to

reveal their synthetic qualities. Victorian

tried

England were

mansions

in

buildings

with

great

halls,

large,

work

of John Norton (1823-1904), was built in 1863 in a

Jacobean, and Carolean times were at hand as

ruined

and

hall

room, a school room for


bathroom adjacent to the

chapel, but with a billiard

windows,

relation

muddle of styles,

to

Gothic,

generally

bay

with

but

and towers unlike anything built


in medieval times. The interiors, full of carved
pseudo-Gothic woodwork and harshly colored
turrets,

crowded with furniture

polychrome

tile,

every

while walls are covered with orna-

style,

are

in

of pictures, vases and


and Japanese origin, all in
picturesque confusion (fig. 11.3). Dozens of such
mansions dot the English countryside, inviting

mental

displays

detail,

pottery of Chinese

confusion with historic buildings of earlier times.

even gigantic,

chapels,

dozens of

Middle-class Houses and Public

bedrooms, and service wings to house the small

army of

servants that were needed to staff them.

Buildings

Half-timbered, gabled blocks, keeps with battle-

Town
want

houses of the sort that wealthy owners might

to live in

were usually parts of rows, or even

11.3 John Norton,


Indian Hall, Elveden

whole neighborhoods,

that

adhered to restrained

design based on Georgian traditions of classicism,


Internally,

however, restraint often gave way to

acquisition

and display

hard to imagine

walk about or

sit

Interiors of

how

in

ornamental chaos.

the occupants

It is

managed

to

also clut-

and decorated with patterned materials on


every surface, but some restraint seems to have
been applied either through taste or through finantered

cial constraints,

so that the effect

is

often one of

cozy charm. The front parlor of the house in the


Chelsea neighborhood of London that was

owned

by the writer Thomas Carlyle has been carefully


preserved as a museum and gives an idea of what
this
like

kind of middle-class residential interior was


in

the mid-nineteenth century

c.

The

sometimes

hall,

known as

the Marble

of the Victorian

mansion was remodeled into what was


thought to be Indian
of a

style for the benefit

new

owner, an Indian

maharajah, who

wanted

to create

marriage

new

gift for his

wife, the

half

Abyssinian, half

German Bamba
It IS

Muller.

only the overhead

plasterwork detail that


justifies the stylistic

designation The
ture

(fig.

England,

1870.

Hall,

down.

more modest houses were

Hall, Suffolk,

seems

to

be

furni-

stolidly

11.4).
English-

Suburban neighborhoods grew up around English


cities during the Victorian era. Here houses were
built in rows for those of modest means, and
"villas"

in

pairs or free-standing for those

who

could afford more. The design character externally

193

Chapter Eleven

11.4 Robert

Taft, /I

Chelsea

Interior,

Carlyle's

House,

London, 1857,
This painting of the

parlor of the house

occupied by Thomas
Carlyle

shows

comfort at

its

Victorian

best This

simple but handsomely


detailed in tenor
typical

is

of a

London row

house with the

moderate ornamentation that a literary

couple might find

comfortable

and

pleasing.

is

usually

some version of Regency or Gothic

sometimes with touches of decorative

Revival,

detail in the Victorian

arranged whatever

mode.

level

Inside, the

occupants

of Victorian detail that

painted

wood

trim are the primary materials, while

many small panes of glass.


common. There is a hint of Gothic
along with some reference to Dutch

windows are
Bay windows
Revivalism

large with

are

Most public spaces, clubs,


restaurants, theaters, hotels, and railroad stations
were carpeted, padded, and stuffed in order to

original. Interiors in his houses, rich in decorative

achieve a special comfort typical of the "gas-light"

bays,

appealed

to

them.

era that provided the settings in

Conan

which Arthur

Doyle's famous fictional detective, Sherlock

Holmes, conducted

Renaissance work, but Shaw's work

detail, are full

in his

irregularities that favor

(fig. 11.5).

own

house,

Shaw's
filled

clients,

objects,

furniture so beloved by Victorians

Shaw and the Queen Anne

Shaw was

Revival

Norman Shaw

(1831-1912), in a long and

London

is

number of
(New Zealand Chambers of 1871-3

the best known), banks, and churches.

productive career, produced a large body of work

New

quintessentially English Victorian in character. His

1887-90.

work belongs to the Gothic Revival, using, for


country houses, a mix of half-timber and masonry

Gothic Revival mode, so carefully correct as to be

often called "Old English;" but by about 1870, he

ings.

developed a more creative and individualistic

matters,

such

chimney

flues

early

which came to be

style

Queen Anne. This design


has little to do with the Queen Anne style of the
early eighteenth century. Shaw's Queen Anne
country houses and London town houses are based
on

called

asymmetRed brick and white-

intricate internal plans that generate

rical,

194

in

interiors with

and the ornate

also the designer of a

office buildings

Richard

comfort and

and Shaw himself

Queen Anne

framed pictures, ornamental

his practice.

unique and

of asymmetrical spaces with nooks,

and other

charm

is

irregular exteriors.

Scotland Yard, London,

Shaw's

churches

virtually indistinguishable

is

are

Shaw

structural

the

in

from medieval build-

He was much concerned


as

design of

invariably

with

technical

arrangement of

efficient

and bathroom drains; he used iron


elements where they seemed advanta-

geous and was the designer of the

first

English

house to be entirely lighted by the recently devel-

oped Swan
were

electric

usually

lamp. Shaw's country houses

rambling

in

plan,

their

rooms

"

The Victorian

Era

1.5 Richaid Norman

Shaw, drawing room,

Swan House, Chelsea


Embankment, London,
1876
The photograph, which

was taken

in

884,

of a Victorian

is

interior

with a pleasant variety

Anne
and Crofts
and even

of objects: Queen
chairs. Arts

decoration,

a Georgian

(at left)

spinning wheel William


Morris's influence

be seen

in

paper, which

used on the
in the

can

the waif
is

also

ceiling,

and

ornamented

grand piano from


Morris

Co.

Shaw was

not enthusiastic about


Morris's patterns,

he

felt

which

should be "of the

simplest kind, quite


unobtrusive.

arranged for both convenience and picturesque


external effect;

some were

much American
Although

staggeringly vast in scale.

Victorian design.

Americans

aimed

for

classless

Revolutionary War, the same

Shaw remained aloof from the Arts and Crafts


movement (the subject of the following chapter) in
a way that emphasizes the gulf between Queen
Anne and the Aesthetic movement. At the end of
his career, Shaw turned toward classicism, antici-

society

pating the twentieth-century reaction against the

prosperous merchants, and the plantation owners

norms of Victorian

created an appetite for the fancy and the elaborate.

design.

after

the

processes operated as in Victorian Britain. Simple

became

farmers

managers,

middle-class

professionals,

city

and

dwellers,

businessmen.

Awareness of the mansions of the wealthy, the

Ornamentalism was supported by an increasing


flow of imports from Europe. The American

United States: Victorian

clipper

ship,

the

McCormack

Variations
Victorian design in America produced

from such functional concerns

similar elaboration, although English

the

period tends to be
disciplined,

perhaps

more

reaper,

the

Colt

and the Waltham watch represented a


strain of Yankee ingenuity, honesty, and simplicity,
but architecture and interior design turned away
revolver,

work ot
work of the

somewhat more ordered and


and therefore

"professional"

less creative,

than the free improvisation of

other,

more

pretentious

in

order to embrace

and ostentatious,

aspect of Victorian taste.

There are several sub-species of Victorianism


often referred tp

by

historians.

They

include:

195

Chapter Eleven

11.6 Richard Up|ohn


with later additions by

McKim, Mead and


White, Kingscote,

Newport, Rhode Island

1839, additions, 1881.


The entry hall with
simple parquet
stained glass,

its

floor,

and

red

walls carries the love of

Gothic pointed arch

forms forward into the


Victorian era.

Carpenter Gothic: the term apphed to the vernac-

railroad stations as well as for houses.

ular adaptation of the Gothic Revival style in

General Grant

(fig. 11.6). The material used is usually


wood, often with board and batten siding.

America

somewhat

village

in spiky decorative patterns.

are

Leaded

common, sometimes

churches were often built in

Queen Anne

Revival): This

is

Victorian design that uses a

late

application

sophisticated

of orna-

with

mental

detail

and

parallel

with the Arts and Crafts movement.

as

it

developed in England

in

Typical features are the asymmetrical arrange-

this style.

ment of elements, bay windows, mixtures of

low-sloping hipped roofs, porches, and loggias

brick, terracotta, shingles,

with columns, bracketed roofs, and cornices, and

of bas-relief ornamentation and stained glass in

Windows and doors

are often

topped with semicircular arches.

Mansardic: These designs take


the mansard roof (see p. 113).

their

name from

A mansard

roof

has a steep, visible front surface, usually of

slate,

visible
is

from the

street.

Cast-iron decorative trim

often present, along with as

as the

owner could

afford.

much

carved detail

Mansardic design was

often used for public buildings, courthouses, and

196

The term

often given to mansard-

Italianate: This term describes designs using

often a tower.

(or

woodwork

colorful stained glass. Small railroad stations

Queen Anne

term applied to

windows

is

roofed Victorian buildings.

Pointed-arch forms are used along with applied

glass

style

and decorative

some windows.
The Centennial Exhibition

inserts

in Philadelphia in

1876 was a showcase for Victorian design

America,
England.

in

much as the Great Exhibition had been in


A number of halls showed off machinery,

horticulture,

and

art,

while various industries and

individual states erected smaller buildings in a

chaotic variety of styles.

An

actual

pagoda was

brought from Japan and stimulated interest in

The Victorian

more element

Japanese design, adding one


Victorian

One

to the

by the

built

Works to power a city pumping


was shown in operation and drew crowds

It

admire

impressive functional beauty. At the

its

same time, exhibitions of products

for

household

use leaned toward excesses of decorative detail.

Mason and Hamlin organ


parlor
ings,

suitable for the Victorian

encrusted with ornamental inlays, carv-

is

and

was described by Walter

crockets, but

Smith, a contemporary

critic, as "free

from

all

the

abortions in the shape of ornament with which

many pretentious instruments


The

style

the time
the

is

often called

and

designer

are disfigured."

of the organ and of much furniture of

aesthetic

values

Eastlake
advanced
Charles

writer,

in recognition of

by

an

Locke

English
Eastlake

(1836-1906). His book. Hints on Household Taste


(1868),

was widely read

considerable influence
simplicity

and

accompany the

(fig.

restraint,

text

in

Mansions

of the most impressive

Iron

Corliss

to

mix.

was a giant steam engine

exhibits

station.

stylistic

Era

America and exerted


11.7). Eastlake

urged

but the illustrations that

seem only additional examples

of the Victorian taste for excess elaboration.

Those made rich through factory production of


newly invented products usually chose to build
mansions

in which ornamentation in any and all


crowded every available space, inside and
out. Colonel Samuel Colt, the inventor of the
revolver, had a house (named Armsmere) built
styles

close to his factory in Hartford, Connecticut, in

an

amalgam of styles vaguely Italian with Moorish


domes in prominent locations. Frederick E.
Church,
his

a landscape painter, built his

dreams into

house called Olana, overlooking the Hudson

River

(fig.

1.8).

He was

his

own

designer, working

what he believed to be the "Persian" style, with


some assistance from the professional architect and
in

Vaux (182495).
by birth, but made his repu-

landscape designer Calvert

Vaux was
tation in

English

America

(in

parnership with Frederick

Law Olmstead) designing


including

New

great

public

parks,

York's Central and Riverside parks

and South Park in Chicago. In 1857 he published


Villas and Cottages, a manual based on his architectural

work with

A.

J.

Downing. The book begins

11.7 Charles Locke


Eastlake, dining room
sideboard, 1874.

Eastlake was

an

active

arbiter of Victorian

using his worl< as

taste,

a journalist

to

moke

suggestions to his

and promote
own designs An
Arts and Crafts orientreaders
his

ation

is

evident in his

work, but

it

shows an

urge toward extra elaboration. The craftsmanbuilt sideboard


in this

shown

plate from Hints

on Household Taste

in

Furniture, Upholstery,

and Other Details


(1868)

modified by

IS

the extensive display of

ceramics rich

in "art"

ornamentation.

11.8 Calvert Vaux and


Frederick

E.

Church,

Olana, near Hudson,

New

York,

1874-89.

This hallway displays

love of Victorian
fantasy, incorporating

elements intended to be
"Persian"

and

romantic and

therefore
artistic

Curtains edge the


raised landing from

which

stairs

move up

to

Moorish arches with a


stained glass

window

lighting the area.

197

Chapter Eleven

with highly practical suggestions for logical, func-

and

improved water closets. It then proceeds to illustrate the ornamental details, both exterior and inte-

pants was well recognized. Books and magazines

and then presents thirty-nine designs for


houses ranging from modest cottages to gigantic

ornamental

bought from

mansions. Given such

house.

with

Wing and

with

Tower"

counting the

designs

Attics"

(with

attic

titles as

"Picturesque Villa

and "Irregular Stone


twenty-nine rooms

and tower;

cost $30,000),

Villa

it is

York City row

shows how the


owners assembled a

Street

The Gothic Revival

Victorian interior with

wallpapers,

and

profusion of dra penes,

carpet

and

fabric-

covered furniture

to

generate the sense of


richness through orna-

mentation that was the

norm of late
taste.

Victorian

The elaborate

newel post at the base


of the

stair baluster sets

the tone for the space.

of

ornament in scroll-sawn wood


Thus a simple wooden house could

or in cast iron.

turn into a Victorian house fully decorated with

such

houses,

wallpaper

flowery

The American farmhouse of the Victorian era


moved away from its colonial and Georgian predecessors to give up symmetry and classical detail in

trim.

more

ings,

from

stove might be a fantasy of decorative elements in

favor

of

"picturesque"

vertical proportions,

and

irregular

plans,

detail that varied

Inside

covered the walls; patterned carpeting covered the


floors.

Woodwork was

the severe plainness of the houses of the settlers of


the mid-west to the ornate

by more affluent families

Around

Gingerbread favored
in the east

and south.

the factories of mill towns, districts of

small houses were built to

accommodate workers

and mid-level managers, somewhat in the manner


of modern suburbia. Houses varied from minimal
rows or groups of two (twin houses), built to house
workers, to

more generous

standing on their
together.

own

lots

iron,

cast

full

of carvings and turn-

The parlor

usually finished in dark tones.

characteristically late

dark woodwork, dull

mode

slipped into the

tion of gingerbread

Vernacular House Styles

house on West 45th

to introduce a level of

occupants could then amplif)' with

carpenter Gothic, which in turn led to the produc-

The contemporary

New

and moldings served

rails,

to a basic

paneling, fancy mantels, stair

wallpapers, drapery, and furniture to taste.

New York,

stairhall of this typical

lumber yard, and added

Internally,

not

taste.

photograph of the

that could be factory

details

not

Hall

1896.

and designs incorporating


made,

offered "ideal" plans

clutter that the

surprising that the designs express ornate Victorian

House,

and the value

of fashionable decorative detail to attract occu-

homes,

of

rior,

11.9 Blakely

lators or developers for sale or rental,

for

planning

tional

the parlor organ

comparable

fantasy

harmonium)

(or

wood.

in

Furniture

was

crowded into every room, filling up space with


carving and upholstery. Oil lamps, now the usual
source of

elaborate shapes

artificial light, invited

and colorful decorative shades. Any otherwise

unused spaces could be

with such newly

filled

developed furniture types as the

What-not,

a shelf

single family houses

unit intended to hold a display of generally useless

even when placed close

ornamental objects. Blank wall spaces could be

Such houses were usually

built

by specu-

hung with

"artistic"

while

small

the

produced

vast

in

prints in decorative frames

groups

sculptural

by

quantity

in

plaster

John

Rogers

(1829-1904) illustrated sentimental themes of love

and sadness.

curious Victorian fad favored the building of

octagonal houses. The idea was generated by Orson


Squire

Fowler (1809-87), an eccentric theorist

known

for the invention of the pseudo-science of

phrenology (the discovery of

human character by
A particularly

exploring the shape of the skull).

ornate octagonal example

house

(1860)

surrounded

columns and

by

ornamented
to

fit

Armour- Stiner

the

New

with

and has

cupola and

York.

florid

It

is

cast-iron

huge mansardic
spire.

The

richly

interiors include such oddities as a

triangular library

need

porch

railings,

dome topped by

is

Irvington,

at

and music room, created by the

the octagonal floor plan.

town housing was provided by


row houses (fig. 11.9). The unifor-

In large cities,
solid blocks of

mity of such rows

198

the

Brownstones of New

The Victorian Era

York,

the

Baltimore,

rows

brick

and

Philadelpliia

ot

example

for

produced

overall

monotony, but had the virtue of establishing visual


order which, when streets were planted with trees,
created attractive neighborhoods that can

admired where they have survived

mode was

Italianate

favorite

still

be

The

intact.

Minimal
windows by day;
walls.

daylight

entered

the

narrow

and gas lamps provided light at


night. Colors of brown, black, olive green, and
mauve made such interiors seem cluttered and
gloomy more quaint than beautiful by modern
oil

standards.

brownstone

for

rows, while mansardic roofs ami veranda porches


raised the status of free-standing houses that often

were intermingled with the rows. Internally

showed evidence of

all

of

Shingle Style

Queen Anne style, developed in Britain by Shaw,


was taken up with considerable enthusiasm in
and

America

alongside

Gothic,

Italianate,

Mansardic

alternatives.

A book by

the architectural

(usually hot air) heating, gas lighting, bathrooms,

historian

Vincent

Scully,

and kitchens. These were improved with the

these house types

progress

through

duction of running water,


years later, gas ranges,
tion. Built-in closets

central

intro-

coal and, then, a few

first

and

technical

of

introduction

the

ice

boxes for refrigera-

and cupboards were worked

house plans, along with extra dressing spaces

into

1971

),

I.

The

Sliingic

St)'le

has led to that term being used to describe

American country and suburban houses that


echoed the Queen Anne of Shaw and his followers.
Wood was the dominant material of such building,
the basis of Carpenter Gothic,

and the simplified

adjacent to bedrooms, often with wash basins with

version of that style that Scully calls "the stick

running water. Larger houses had such luxuries as

style"

marble top surfaces and built-in mirrors. Long

which featured external frame members. Shingle

flights

of ornamental

(often three or four)

stairs

led

to

upper

and narrow "back

floors

stairs"

were

usually provided for the use of servants.

Victorian taste favored vertical emphasis in

proportions so that ceilings were often unreason-

and windows were made


and narrow. Ornate overmantels above

a reference to

board and batten exteriors

style buildings often use


larly for

sometimes of rough

some masoni-y

ground-floor walls

particu-

rubble stonework, but otherwise exterior walls and


roofs are generally covered with cedar
gles left to

wood

shin-

weather to a natural grey. Exterior orna-

ably high while doors

ment

both

forms are often complex, with gables, projecting

the

tall

now

largely useless fireplace (often with a gas

up to the high ceilmoldings ran around the tops of

grate or hot air outlet) reached


ings

where

plaster

is

usually sparse or absent, but building

wmgs, porches, dormers and rounded bays, turrets,


and occasional towers.
Most Shingle style buildings are houses, but
11.10 Henry Hobson
Richardson, Watts

Sherman House,
Newport, Rhode

Island,

1876^
The drawing of
interior

this

was probably

by Stanford White who

was often the

interior

designer for Richardson


projects The paneled

and elaborate
woodwork with its typiwalls

cally Victorian Cothic

references typify the


early work of

Richardson and White.

199

Chapter Eleven

11.11 Camp Cedars,


Adirondacks,

New

York,

idiom as
at

The "camps" built as

1882),

houses

vacation

the

made a
rusticity

through the

and

the style of interior

bed

is

built of

wood members
The lanterns, fans, and

similar

curios are typical of

Victorian taste.

and

turret,

paneling,

small-paned

and nooks with

built-in settees

Queen Anne mix of complexity

H. H. Richardson (1838-86) worked in the


Shingle

and

c.

its

and cozy charm.

is

trimmed with
the

fireplaces,

generate a typically

decoration. The rough

logs,

type, with

through a wing of

a drive passes

Inside,

building.

windows,

choice of furniture

where

great arch

the

but they

stone fireplace

good example of the

rambling layout, picturesque porches,

point of

rough-hewn

is

moun-

tains were often quite


luxurious,

built in this

Kragsyde, a coastal private mansion

well.

Manchester-by-the-Sea (Peabody and Stearns,

1886.

summer

and clubhouses were

hotels, casinos,

Forked Lake,

when

style

designing

W. Watts

the

Sherman House at Newport, Rhode Island (fig.


11.10; 1874). The firm of McKim, Mead, and
White was responsible for many examples of the
style, such as the seaside mansion at Elberon, New
for Victor Newcomb, and casinos
Jersey ( 880-8 1
at Newport and Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island
1

) ,

(1879-84). These are architects better

more formal works mentioned


but these

most

and

lively

among

formal buildings are

less

works.

original

known

for

in later chapters,

The

their

"artistic"

lamps.

Elberon shows off

clutter of the great living hall at

mix of informality, complexity, pretension, and


comfort that was characteristic of Queen Anne at

the

Shaker Design
A

flowering in America.

its full

and lodges filled with rustic furniture, rugs


and cloth wall hangings, hunting trophies, and oil
cottages

drastically

excesses

Adirondack Style

A minor

modest and,

sub-style of Victorian design has been

recently given the

name Adironback

tion of its development in that

of

New York.

in recogni-

mountainous region

As railroad networks developed and

train travel

became reasonably

able, those

who

could afford

and comfort-

fast

summer

vacations

sought out locations in unspoiled natural regions

where

mountainous

the

summer

and

landscape

summer houses and

built as

hunters

and

fishermen.

lodges tended to
latter part

grow

as lodges for

Although

camps and

and comfort

in size

life.

and camps

In the Adirondack mountains, cabins

were

cool

climate provided an escape from city

in the

of the nineteenth century, the rustic

alternative

the

to

religious

florid

the

in

in their day, obscure,

communities of

known

The

sect

as

Shakers.

first

Shakers came to America from England in 1774

from

freedom

seeking

persecution.

religious

Shaker communities were villages built


center of agricultural lands where

had been

nism. By 1800 a

villages

established.

dwelling

dence

houses

men an