Classical Architecture in Britain:
The Heroic Age

Giles Worsley

Publicaton Date
May 1995
Standard Number
Yale University Press
364 pages

This comprehensive survey of British architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries offers a reassessment of the styles, of the major designers from Inigo Jones to Sir John Soane and of the influence of British architecture during that era. The author notes that architectural styles do not always supersede one another but can co-exist, although one style may be dominant. Focusing on the Palladian classical tradition, introduced by Inigo Jones in the 1610s, he shows that this tradition did not die out with Jones's death and revive only during the first half of the 18th century, as is commonly assumed, but remained viable until the end of the 18th century, rivalling the baroque and rococo styles. Worsley argues that neo-classicism, generally seen as a generic description of architecture in the late-18th century, was actually prevalent in British architecture in varying degrees of strength as early as 1615. Worsley examines the architecture of Scotland, Ireland and North America in the 17th and 18th centuries and shows how styles were influenced by English Palladianism. He also places Palladianism in a European context, pointing out that it was not an isolated phenomenon but was an important feature of Italian, French, Dutch and German architecture during this time. The book sheds light on British architecture and provides an outlook on European and American architecture as a whole.