Archive | May, 2011

American Colonial: England

20 May

Architecture, interiors, and furniture of English settlers reflected the forms of things they where familiar with.

Like the houses and furniture from generation to generation.

Function before style. Classicism in any type of form was rare before the end of 17th century.

Fashionable furnishings wasn’t a concern. When people where struggling to just survive.

Many where just toooo busy growing and harvesting crops.

Soon William and Mary set the English styles.

The English mixed with other ethnic groups and got the gambrel roofs and pattern brick.

 Old State House           Boston, Massachusetts


Furniture Motifs – flowers scrolls, strapwork, or geometric shapes

Common in Connecticut where the sunflower, tulip, or Tudor rose

William and Mary motfis where C and S scrolls, baluster shapes, and balls


earliest shelters – primitive, consisting of dugouts, wigwam forms with chimneys, and small huts of wattle and daub with thatched roofs

[thatched roof]

earliest houses – small and funcational with little embellishment

medieval characteristics – steeply pitched gable roofs, casement windows, and framed construction

Floor Plan:

Southern Anglican Churches – long narrow with entrance on the west and alter on the east

New England meeting houses – single room square with pulpit in the center

Hall Plan – earlie houses where one story, with multipurpose room (hall) and a chimney on the end. Lofts provide storage or additional sleeping space

Hall and Parlor Plan – two rooms, chimney is center for heat distribution, door opens in small entry abutting the chimney and steep stairs lead to loft or upper story

Lean-to Plan – add two or three room to the hall or parlor forming a lean- to or salt-box form. rooms include kitchen, pantry, buttery, and chamber or two.


Floors- dirt, pressed clay, or random-width oak planks laid at right angles to floor joist

Walls- clay-daubed, plastered, or palisade

Distinctive Features- huge fireplaces with no mantels dominate rooms and used for heat, light, and cooking. wood lintel caps the opening. hooks inside to hang pots and utensils.

Lighting- artificial lighting is minimal. comes from fireplaces and few candels or oil lamps.


Colonists brough furniture from Europe with them.

Rooms may have alot of furnishes, mostly seating.

Most of the furniture was for the consumption of food like tables, chairs, cupboards, shelves, boxes, and chest.

Other types where beds, farm implements, and tools.

Banister-Back Chair

Butterfly Table


Connecticut Chest


English Renaissance

17 May

English Renaissance was eclectric.

Revealing French with Flemish styles more then the Italian influnce.

Mannerism refines the Renaissance in the Tudor, Elizabehtan, and Jacobeans periods.

England was the last Country to experience the Renaissance.

Highly eclectric and hardly classical designs.

Until Inigo Jones came along.

Italian intermingled with the French and Flanders to create a unique English expresstion.


Increase in order, regularity, and emphasis on propotions.

Silhouettes and rooflines remain irregular and picturesque.

Forms and Motifs from Italy, France, and Flanders mix together on roofs, facades, interiors, and furniture.

Tudo- late gothic mixed with few renaissance characteristics. some symmetry and order.

Elizabethan- regularity, symmetry, and mixed classical with mannerist elements. lavish decoration in the interiors and furniture. Foreign influnce dominate the design.

Jacobean- named after King James, Jacobean follows Elizabethan patterns. less individuality with more stylistic unity. interiors still lavishly decorated. furniture  was simpler.

Inigo Jones- introduced classicism to England. more as a method to building than merely decoration. he traveled and studied in Italy.


Heraldic symbols

Tudor Roses



Others are – strapwork, roundels, portrait busts, arabesques, grotesques, obelisks, caryatids, cabochons, columns, pilasters, arcades, linefold, and compostie.

Floor Plans:

Tudor and Elizabethan- rooms organized around one or more quadrangular courtyards

Elizabethan and Jacobean- courtyards placed  by more compact H-shaped, E-shaped, U-shaped, or rectangular plans.


Brick and Stone

Half-Timber houses

Most houses in the Jacobean where trabeated masonry construction.


Tudor- largely medieval and somber in feeling. few classical details. as time goes by they grow with more colorful finishes and textiles

Elizabethan- brilliant colors, every surface decorated with carving, painting, gilding, or plasterwork. classical details (strapwork and grotesques are common)

Jacobean- continue Elizabethan traditions, Classical proportioned. Inigo Jones work rely more on architectural detail than color or surface decoration.

Lighting: artificial lighting is minimal, consisting of chandeliers or lanterns, wall scones, and candlesticks.

Floors: stone, brick, marble, wood

Walls: paneling usually oak

Windows: rectangular, bays, or oriels

Doors: panel doors


Tudor- have medieval trusses beamed or coffered

Elizabethan- pargework (plastering in patterns over beams) some with gothic ribbed vaulting

Jacobean- allover patterns of interlacing curved or geometric patterns with Tudor roses, cartouches, strapwork, and scrolls.


Tudor- similar to medieval furniture in form and decoration

Elizabethan- massive heavy proportions, rich carving, and inlay

Jacobean- continues Elizabethan traditions but simpler with more formal and naturalistic carving

French Renaissance

13 May

French Renaissance began thanks to the French invasions in Italy.

They took back with them the design ideas and used them to add the character to their homes and lives.

At first they just grafted the renaissance onto the Gothic styles they had present.

In the 16th century the Gothic elements fade away and classical ones assert themselves.

Characteristics: elaborate decoration and abrupt scale changes

French do not emphasize mathematical relationships like the Italians.

Chateau de Chambord


Include –

Plasters, columns, arches, pediments, figures in low relief, pinnacles, brackets, scrolls, linenfold, tracery, strapwork, grotesques, caryatids, fruit, flowers, heraldry, fleur de lis, stars, diamonds.


Crowns and initials where symbols of royalty and appeared at entrances and on ceilings, furnishings, and decorative arts.

French kings used animals.

Francois I Salamander

Louis XII Porcupine


Protection was still a big thing so Chateaux is a building that resembles a castle.

They have:

Large Entry Gates

Round Turrets with conical roofs

Central courtyards


Stone was the most preferred.

Following that was brick.

Roofs where usually slate.


Exteriors of Chateaux


Most rooms are rectangular.

Dimensions are not derived mathematically.

Doors, Windows, Stairways.

large chimney pieces are focal points.

Decoration is focused to the floors, walls, and ceilings.


Overlapping of styles.

Gothic —-> Renaissance

Beds where massive and highly embellished.

Italian Renaissance

10 May

Italian Renaissance designed based off of the classical antiquity.

They approched their designs with order, balance, symmetry, and direct observation of nature.

Buildings where large to impress.

They still where relatable to the human scale.

Classical elements and Attributes:






Motifs: Classical







geometric patterns

Floor Plans: Latin Cross church.

plan features

perfect square

16th century brought in the side aisles with small chapels

Started with central plans but they became unsuitable for the church.

Roofs: gabled or domed

Brunelleschi’s S. Maria Fiore shows the first use of orders. With terra-cotta roof tiles.


Rectilinear and massive

classical details

Most common decor:

Carvings, inlay, painting, and gliding

decorative Arts:

started with polished steel for mirrors

textiles where the most expensive than furniture

Gothic and Romanesque

4 May


Looks like Roman but its not!!

Mostly made of stone

With wooden roofs because building stone roofs wasnt mastered yet.

Very dark and heavy inside

Round Arches

Columns where the same as Romans only the capitals had people or animals carved in them



It all started with the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis

Northern France has the different types of Gothic styles.

Early Gothic, High Gothic, Rayonnant, Flamboyant

Gothic spread thanks to architects, masons, and sculptors.

Pointed Arches and Ribbed Vaulting

The ribbed vault helps support the weight evenly

Flying buttresses also help to bring support to the building. They allowed them to build higher.

Rose Window

Stained Glass Windows

Glass told stories.

Little furniture was used.

Furniture was very decortive. Many carvings.

Vault Differences