The Georgian Period dates between 1714 with the accession of George I and 1830 when William IV or Sailor Billy as he was known succeeded his brother George IV.
The Regency Period which often dominates popular knowledge because of it influence on culture, fashion and architecture only lasted nine years from February 05 1811 when George III was deemed incapable of ruling and his son became Prince Regent in his stead.George III had suffered from periodic bouts of madness caused, we think, by porphyria that had alarmed Parliament since 1788 but the death of his youngest daughter Princess Amelia aged only 27 in November 1810 sent him spiralling into insanity. The Prince Regent, “Prinny” or George Augustus Frederick to give him his full name ruled in his father’s stead for the nine years until George III died in Windsor Castle on 29 January 1820. The Prince Regent then became George IV.
Just to confuse things slightly further the Regency era is usually seen as incorporating the reigns of both George IV and William IV as well coming to an end only with the reign of Queen Victoria.
Essentially Regency Architecture is Neo-Classical. Its about symmetry, balance, columns, pastel shades animist importantly breaking the rules of proportion. It associated with Robert Adam amongst others. I should add that I’ve by-passed the earlier Georgian Palladian Architecture completely. Palladian Architecture was bound by the rules of proportion as a result tends to look heavier than Neo-Classical buildings – but as with all these things it is probable that you wouldn’t have had one without the other.
Aside from Bath’s famous and very beautiful crescent Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire springs to mind as being very Neo-Classical and its a hall – so that’s where my advent image for today is coming from. The lion can be found in the Long Walk rather than in the hallway! He’s a reproduction of a sixteenth century lion in the Villa Medici in Rome. The ball doesn’t not represent the lion’s desire for a game of football but is representative of the Earth. The lion is about power and, of course, royalty. Nathanial Curzon commissioned the piece in 1759 – which is somewhat before the Regency Era.
Curzon, like many other men of the period, was influenced by his Grand Tour of Europe – the Seventeen and Eighteenth Century equivalent of a gap year. Essentially the idea of the Grand Tour was to broaden the mind and apparently to collect classical stuff if half the stately houses I’ve ever been to are anything to go by. This discovery of ancient architecture and artefacts was one of the things which influenced the Palladian and Neo-Classical styles. Men wished to emulate the ancient civilisations.
If you’re feeling grieved by the fact that the only hall aspect of this post is the name Kedleston Hall all I can do is offer you some examples of Neo-Classical staircases such as the one in Somerset House or the impressive spiralling staircase in the Greenwich Naval College.