Building England: Chiswick House

The gardens and the villa take inspiration from the architecture and gardens of ancient Rome, such as the Emperor Hadrians Villa at Tivoli.

Building England: Chiswick House

Chiswick House is a Palladian villa in Chiswick, West London and is one of the best examples of Neo-Palladian architecture in London. The house was built and designed by The 3rd Earl of Burlington and completed in 1729. The house and gardens occupy 65 acres of the leafy suburbs of West London. The gardens were created mainly by architect and landscape designer William Kent and are one of the earliest examples of the informal yet structured English Landscape Garden, popularized in the late 18th century as an alternative to the perfectly symmetrical and geometric gardens of the Stuart period.

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington

The gardens, like the villa, take inspiration from the architecture and gardens of ancient Rome, such as the Emperor Hadrians Villa at Tivoli, from which the three statues at the end of the exedra were alleged to have come.

Burlington and Kent experimented with new designs, incorporating such diverse elements as mock fortifications, a Ha-ha, classical fabriques, statues, groves, faux Egyptian objects, bowling greens, winding walks, cascades and water features.

Lord Burlington’s garden at Chiswick was one of the first to include garden buildings and ancient statues which were to symbolically evoke the mood and appearance of ancient Rome. Soon after other English gardens such as Stourhead, Stowe, West Wycombe, Holkham, and Rousham were to follow suit, creating a type of garden which eventually would become known internationally as the English Landscape Garden.

During his trip to Italy in 1719, Burlington had acquired a passion for Palladian architecture. Andrea Palladio was an Italian Renaissance architect active in the Venetian Republic and was heavily influenced by Roman and Greek architecture , primarily Vitruvius. While he designed churches and palaces, he was best known for country houses and villas.

According to British architectural historian, Howard Colvin: “Burlington’s mission was to reinstate in Augustan England the canons of Roman architecture as described by Vitruvius, exemplified by its surviving remains, and practised by Palladio, Scamozzi and Jones”

Chiswick HouseChiswick House

More information:

Read: The Getty Villa

Download: Pocket Guides – London

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