The Ingenious Mr Flitcroft, Palladian Architect

Ingenious Mr Flitcroft

Andy Foster reviews a new book by Gill Hedley that explores the early eighteenth century world of architects, clients and building

Henry Flitcroft was an early Georgian architect; as the book’s title says, a Palladian architect. That makes him curiously contemporary, for two reasons. The first is architectural. Palladianism has enjoyed a revival recently among traditional designers and their clients.

In urban developments like Poundbury and Dickens Heath, it is mixed up with picturesque gestures and rather loud revivals of the Arts and Crafts. Eighteenth century lords were happy to live in plain London terraces behind fine classical doorcases, but now we require more personal expression.

In country houses, however, Palladianism has triumphed. The most celebrated recent example is Julian Bicknell’s Henbury Hall in Cheshire, a centralised, domed design in the tradition of Palladio’s Villa Rotonda and Colen Campbell’s Mereworth Castle; but there are others, such as Quinlan and Francis Terry’s re-creation of Kilboy House in Ireland.

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