Indian style

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Indian style. The architecture of India influenced the West in a lesser way than did the architecture of China (see chinoiserie), and was most evident during the Regency and Victorian periods as a variation on the theme of Picturesque eclectic orientalism. The vogue for the Hindoo style was partly prompted by Thomas Daniell, his nephew William Daniell (1769–1837), and William Hodges, who published views of India. Hodges's Travels in India (1780–3) also came out in a French edition, while his Dissertation on the Prototypes of Architecture, Hindoo, Moorish, and Gothic (1787), and Select Views in India (1785–8) revealed the ‘Barbaric Splendour’ of Indian buildings to the West. Hodges proposed that Egyptian, Hindoo, Moorish, and Gothic all derived from a common visual memory of stalactite and rock formations. His theory suggests the longing for the Primitive and the Natural that was a feature of late-C18 Romantic sensibility. One of the first fruits of the linking of Indian and Gothic forms was Dance the Younger's south façade of the Guildhall, City of London (1788–9). The Hindoo style appeared in Sezincote, Glos. (early 1800s, by S. P. Cockerell), complete with onion-domes, chattratopped pinnacles, and multifoil arches, while Porden introduced the Hindoo style into the stables, riding-school, and coach house, the Pavilion, Brighton, Sussex (1804–8). Nash's Royal Pavilion, Brighton (1815–21), promiscuously mixed Chinoiserie and Hindoo styles. Daniell produced a capriccio of Hindu and Islamic architecture for Hope's ‘Indian’ room at Duchess Street, London. After the Great Exhibition of 1851 the Indian style became influential, given the importance of the Subcontinent in the British Empire, and Owen Jones in his Grammar of Ornament (1856) praised the contribution of India. The style was used in numerous interiors, including smoking-rooms and Turkish baths, especially after Queen Victoria was declared Empress of India (1877). A good example is the Indian Hall, Elveden Hall, Suffolk (1890s), by William Young and his son Clyde Francis Young (1871–1948), added to the house designed by John Norton (1823–1904), who had also incorporated certain Indian features in the work of 1863–70.

Earlier, the Indian style had appeared in the USA, notably at P. T. Barnum's house at Bridgeport, CT (1846–8), designed by Leopold Eidlitz and based on Nash's work at Brighton. This clearly influenced Henry Austin when designing the New Haven Railroad Station (1851). Samuel Sloan's The Model Architect (1852–3) included designs with Indian flavours (e.g. the ‘Oriental Villa’), clearly the model for his Longwood Villa (Nutt's Folly), Natchez, MS (1854–61), a polygonal house crowned with an onion-dome. The published design may have influenced the New York Crystal Palace (1853–4) by Carstensen and Gildemeister, a polychrome structure of iron and glass.

In the C20 Lutyens's Viceroy's House, New Delhi (1912–31), combined an essential Classicism with many themes derived from Indian architecture.


Conner (1979);
Handlin (1985);
Lewis & and Darley (1986);
Stamp (1976)

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Indian style

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