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Neoclassical architecture in England - Essay Example

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The essay examines the neoclassical influence on British architecture through the work of John Soane, one of the prominent names of the era. The essay also explores the impact of the neoclassical movement in Europe.
Neoclassical era, one of the more significant periods in the history of British architecture, was prevalent during the 1750s-1850…
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Neoclassical architecture in England
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Download file to see previous pages Soane's style is marked by clean lines, adherence to form, detail, excellent sense of mood and light in the interior, which can be attributed to his influence to classical architecture. His creations, which came to be known by the end of the Georgian era were overshadowed by the Romantic period and it was only in the 19th century that he was duly acknowledged for his contribution.
Though Soane's life is marked by controversies, his creations have left their mark and have been a source of inspiration for many. Born in 1753, this son of a bricklayer, trained under George Dance the Younger and Henry Holland before entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1771. His hard work was rewarded when he won a gold medal for his design for a triumphal bridge and a scholarship to France and Italy. This trip was significant since it not only shaped his opinions on architecture but also enabled him to form valuable contacts that would be of use to him in later years. It was during this study tour that he studied classical architecture in minute detail and worked on designs for many public buildings. He drew influence from the work of Ledoux, Boullee and Goindoin and got the chance to meet Piranesi in Italy. He later moved to Ireland in search of good prospects but had to return to England and set up a practice. His early career comprised renovations and additions to country estates and in publishing his designs. The turning point of his career occurred when he took over as the architect and surveyor of the Bank of England. A major task, which set the tone for his later creations, he was entrusted with the responsibility of enlarging and rebuilding the entire structure of the bank, a complicated task because of its form and structure. He reconstructed the edifice using the Roman Corinthian, a variety found in the temple of Sibyl at Tivoli, which, despite its shortcomings, was considered a great innovation in that era. His most popular work, The Bank of England embodies the values of Greek architecture and had a profound influence on commercial architecture of that time.
Soane served many posts many of which were controversial and it has been argued that his unconventional style flourished largely due to the security of his position. He undertook many public and private commissions such as public galleries and renovating country homes. He faced a lot of ridicule for his designs because though they were carefully planned, his later creations had a lot of faulty elevation details and ostentatious ornamentation. This did not affect Soane who gained membership to the Royal Academy in Britain and seven years later was elevated to first class, where he replaced late William Chambers. In 1806, he became a professor of architecture with a commitment to deliver series of lectures annually. He then began collecting various forms of art and books for the benefit of students of architecture, which were later, offered to the nation after his death.
A quiet and a withdrawn person by nature, his architectural affiliations were based on French theory and exuberance combined with the formal opulence of the English picturesque theory. He was deeply influenced by classical architecture as his lectures laid emphasis on "good taste" and "sound judgement". But along with these values, he also stressed on the need for character and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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