Jacobean style (jăk´əbē´ən), an early phase of English Renaissance architecture and decoration. It formed a transition between the Elizabethan and the pure Renaissance style later introduced by Inigo Jones. The reign of James I (1603–25), a disciple of the new scholarship, saw the first decisive adoption of Renaissance motifs in a free form communicated to England through German and Flemish carvers rather than directly from Italy. Although the general lines of Elizabethan design remained, there was a more consistent and unified application of formal design, both in plan and elevation. Much use was made of columns and pilasters, round-arch arcades, and flat roofs with openwork parapets. These and other classical elements appeared in a free and fanciful vernacular rather than with any true classical purity. With them were mixed the prismatic rustications and ornamental detail of scrolls, straps, and lozenges also characteristic of Elizabethan design. The style influenced furniture design and other decorative arts. Jacobean buildings of note are Hatfield House, Hertford; Knole House, Kent; and Holland House by John Thorpe.
See M. Whiffen, An Introduction to Elizabethan and Jacobean Architecture (1952) and J. Summerson, Architecture in Britain, 1530–1830 (rev. ed. 1963).