Belcher, John, d. 1913, ed. (ed.) / Later renaissance architecture in England; a series of examples of the domestic buildings erected subsequent to the Elizabethan period, ed., with introductory and descriptive text, by John Belcher, A.R.A., and Mervyn E. Macartney
Introduction, pp. -12
Introduction. 7 As with a crowd of men, so with a heterogeneous collection of buildings. In both there is a dormant force, a potentiality which makes itself felt; but, to obtain a definite and satisfactory effect, b need order and system. There is no cohesion in a crowd; though the units of which it is composed form a compact mass and often have a general unity of purpose, they yet have separate ways and different ideas both as to the exact end to be attained, and the best mode of attaining it. So, too, a collection of buildings placed side by side, may yet be so diverse in form and character as to imply no common purpose. Like the crowd, they require to be brought under organization and system, so as to act, as it were, in unison. It is something of this which the ideal city should express. With order and rank there is no need for machine-like regularity, nor for the dreary and monotonous uniformity so often to be seen, where streets are formed to secure the largest frontage in the easiest and cheapest manner, or where roads are laid out without any thought of beauty or vista of centralization,-in fact, without any idea of combined action for the benefit of the community at large. Some of these essential features and advantages of common action for the common good Sir Christopher Wren would have bestowed on London after the Great Fire in I666, if only he had been permitted to take advantage of the opportunity thus presented. The massing together of buildings, the connecting together by colonnade, the forming of vistas, would have found an admirable exponent in the hands of such a master as Wren, whose large and noble conceptions have never been surpassed. It is impossible to attribute to any one architect the merit or responsibility of the development achieved during the later Renaissance. Although, as we have already seen, Inigo Jones is responsible for the introduction of the Italian form of plan and the adaptation of it to this climate, and also for the pronounced and definite departure from the mixed Gothic and Italian of the Elizabethan era, yet to Sir Christopher Wren, both by reason of the quantity and finished quality of his work, may be ascribed the honour of establishing the Renaissance in its national form. Neither of these men, however, great as their genius was, could have furthered his art as he did, had it not been for the support and patronage of the reigning monarch. Without attempting to deal with the works of the period historically, or even to mention all those of importance, it may be helpful to place in chronological order those architects who played an important part in that later development of Renaissance architecture which we have been considering. Inigo Jones (1573-1653) is recognized as the first in whose hands this development became in any way pronounced. His sojourn in Rome, his admiration of Palladio's works, and his study of Vitruvius,' equipped him for his own work, which, begun in the reign of James I., was continued under the patronage of the ill- fated Charles. He was about thirty-three years old when, in 16o5, he visited Oxford with King James, and carried out work there at St. John's College. Having already visited Italy once, he was recommended to the University authorities on the ground that, as a great traveller, he would have that knowledge of foreign methods which was always so appreciated in this country. According to Leland, his work at Oxford brought him the munificent sum of £50! He subsequently went to Denmark, on the invitation of King Christian IV, but was soon summoned back again by Anne, James I.'s queen, who appointed him her architect. The building known as the 'Banqueting Hall,' at Whitehall, formed part of that great design for a royal palace, which has been already referred to. It was built during James I.'s reign, in the years 16i9-i622. In the reign of Charles I. Inigo Jones's talents were in great request, especially for the purpose of designing scenes and machinery for the 'masques,' then so much in fashion. This no doubt influenced much of his subsequent work, for although the plans of his houses, such as Coleshill ' ' De Architectura,' first published in Latin in 1486.
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