Summer Series: Bonus, Post Renaissance France and the English Renaissance


French Baroque – 1643-1700

At this time the French were ruled by the notorious Louis XIV (14), he was dubbed the Sun King and thought himself god on earth. This time in France is known as the Golden Age. (architecturally at least this is true)

During this time there was an extensive use of classical orders and proportions. Columns, entablatures and pilasters were gilded in metal and carved in ornamentation. Walls were of stone and marble, floors in wood and patterned. The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles was added to the Chateau when Louis XIV was king and marks the Baroque style in the palace.

English Early Renaissance 1500-1620

Coinciding with what has been called the Age of Oak, the Early Renaissance in England comprised the Tudor, Elizabethian, and early Jacobean styles. Gothic forms and ornamentation still dominated.

Hopefully, you recognize the gothic features in Westminister Abbey. Pointed arches, clustered columns, rose window, etc. But is considered by most to be of the Tudor Style.

Next came the Elizabethian Age, and during this time the Hardwick Hall was built. Not so much of the gothic presence penetrated the exterior of the building but a more simple classic style is beginning to emerge.

Symmetry and Simplicity reign supreme in design of the exterior of this building. Think of how far we have come in the engineering of our structures for a moment. When in the Gothic we were beginning to add stain glass at the top of the structure with flying buttresses designed to help hold the structural dead load of the building to the Hardwick Hall were there are several windows on a single elevation! The interior of Hardwick Hall is still strongly Gothic influenced. But would it surprise you that a popular jingle for the day was “Hardwick Hall more window than wall” ?

Early Jacobean: began the introduction of the Palladian Influence through one man whose name was Indigo Jones. After traveling Europe he returned to England with knowledge in architecture and stage coaching. He designed the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall.

English Mid Renaissance (1660-1714)

This era of  English Architecture consists of the Restoration, William and Mary, Queen Anne and Early Georgian Styles. The Restoration began after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Overall this is an era of Palladanism and French Baroque meshed together. Architects and designers were traveling and had seen structures such as the Roman Pantheon, the Hagia Sophia, Notre Dame and so forth. Here ideas were coming together to create new structures. Such as St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.

French NeoClassic – 1760-89 & the English Late Renaissance (1714-1800)

(back to France) Louis XVI is now reigning. After the Classical order of the Baroque, Louis the XV brought forth what is called the Rocco style in France. This was a very curvy and free flowing style and very popular with the Provincial French.

With the discovery of Pompeii in 1752, the Classic order was in style yet again. (These Kings and Architects sound like they can’t make up their minds but it was the way of the world!)

Once again, Classical order ruled but this time in a smaller scale. Symmetry is revived and classical arabesques make their way into Interior Designs.

Our image up top and below is the Petit Trianon.

Notice the embedded classic columns and the simple symmetry. It isn’t over decorated as it would have been in the Baroque but quiet simply a beautiful structure. Interiors at this time grew to the simple and lightly decorated, comparatively speaking to the Baroque and the Rocco.

In England’s Late Renaissance this is known as Georgian. Notable designers include Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Adam, and Sheraton. Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton were furniture designers.


Above to the Left is a Chippendale with the traditional Ball and Claw foot.

Above to the Right is a Hepplewhite Chair with a Tapered Leg in the front and a klismos in the back. This chair has a shield back.

To the Right are Sheraton Chairs and their variations. The one to the far left is a take on the Chippendale.

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