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Burlington, Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of, and 4th Earl of Cork

Burlington, Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of, and 4th Earl of Cork (1694–1753). Succeeding to the Earldom in 1704, Burlington was immensely rich, and from c.1716 took up the cudgels on behalf of Palladianism, a movement of which he was to become the undisputed leader and arbiter of taste. In 1719 he studied Palladio's work in and around Vicenza, returning later that year with William Kent, whom he retained as a painter of historical scenes. Burlington had employed Gibbs to transform his town-house in Piccadilly in 1716, but he replaced him with Campbell, while Kent was to be responsible for the interiors. From the early 1720s Burlington began to do his own architectural designs, assisted by Flitcroft, and in 1722 he commenced his first public building, the dormitory of Westminster School, intended as an exemplar in his campaign to restore to England Vitruvian principles of architecture, as embodied in the works of Palladio, Scamozzi, and Inigo Jones. His sources were Palladio's drawings and published works, and drawings by Jones and Webb. Now Jones's first Palladian Revival was associated with the reigns of the Stuart James I and VI (1603–25) and Charles I (1625–49), so the second Palladian Revival provided an element of continuity after an interruption, perhaps associated with the need to give legitimacy to the Hanoverian succession that was not universally popular, and had received a jolt as a result of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. To further his campaign, Burlington produced a collection of drawings by Jones and Webb and arranged for their publication by Kent as Designs of Inigo Jones (1727) with some ‘few Designs’ by Burlington himself. He also published drawings by Palladio in Fabbriche Antiche disegnate da Andrea Palladio (1730). In the 1720s and 1730s, virtually all the motifs of English Palladianism recurred in Burlington's designs: at Tottenham Park, Wilts. (from 1721), the pavilion-towers based on Wilton were pierced by serlianas; the villa (influenced by Palladio's Villa Capra near Vicenza) at Chiswick, Mddx. (c.1723–9), had serlianas set in semicircular-headed recesses; and at York, the Vitruvian Palladian Egyptian Hall was recreated at the Assembly Rooms (1731–2). The rusticated lower storey, the taller and more important piano nobile (complete with portico and windows with dressings set in large expanses of wall) became common, and not only for country-houses, but in public buildings as well. By the 1730s, in fact, Anglo-Palladian conventions had become de rigueur for English country-houses, and Burlington, high-priest of absolute standards and architectural rules, was consulted to ensure that Good Taste was not contravened. His protégés were given influential posts in the Office of Works: for example, Kent became an architect in his own right, designing the Horse Guards Building, the Royal Mews, and the Treasury Buildings, as well as the great Palladian house, Holkham Hall, Norfolk. Burlington was one of the most potent influences on the development of English architecture in its entire history, and was the key figure in the rejection of Baroque in favour of a more austere Classicism. As a catalyst for the evolution of English Neo-Classicism he should not be underestimated.


Dana Arnold (ed.) (1994);
T. Barnard & and J. Clark (1995);
Burlington (1730);
C. Campbell (1728–9, 1967–72);
Carré (1994);
Colvin (1995);
Corp (ed.) (1998);
J. Curl (2001, 2002a);
J. Harris (1981, 1994);
Kingsbury (1995);
Summerson (ed.) (1993);
D. Watkin (1979, 1986);
M. Wilson (1984);
Wittkower (1974a)

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