GEORGIAN ARCHITECTURE

Many different regions used the same basic characteristics of an architectural style, but each added its own unique twist. Each region had different materials available, and each had a different history and culture. These facts contributed to the slight variations of major styles from region to region.

Georgian architecture developed in England out of the Classical Revival which dominated Europe during the Renaissance and Enlightenment. The Georgian style's name comes from the kings of Great Britain who ruled England while Georgian architecture was popular. From 1714 until 1820 England was ruled by George I, George II and George III.

English Georgian architecture differed from Classical Revival buildings elsewhere because it blended different regional variations. The English used the common Dutch practice of contrasting reddish brick with white window trimming. England's distance from Italy and its Protestant majority also resulted in limited ties with the Italians who dominated Renaissance design.

King George III
George III, King of Great Britain during the American Revolution, painted in 1767 by Allan Ramsay (Royal Collection)
Palladian windows in Independence Hall
For example, Andrea Palladio was an influential designer in Italy in the sixteenth century. His famous Palladian windows, like the one at left on Independence Hall, do not appear in England until the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The windows became popular in America not long after showing up in England.
Georgian architecture even differed between England and America. The most experienced building designers did not want to leave Britain, where they could make more money and work on larger projects. For Americans, the result was simpler buildings. Although many of the same elements of Georgian architecture exist in American and British buildings, American structures usually have less elaborate elements and fewer elements over all. For example, compare the two pictures below.
Georgian home in England Georgian Home in America
This Georgian home was built in England. Notice its grand steps and the enormous pediment and columns at the entrance. A closer look would reveal carvings inside the pediment. The English home is also made out of brick and contains more than twice the number of rooms as the American home. This Georgian home was built in America. Notice that the four columns on the front are attached to the house itself. They are false columns called pilasters. Also look at the small pediment in comparison to the large one in the English home. Brick homes did exist in America but the cost of bricks forced many people to construct their homes out of wood.
Return to Architecture | Take the Quiz
[Information | [Kids Corner] | [Material Culture] | [318 Market] | [Franklin's Life] | [Urban Archaeology] | [Urban Landscape]