Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 3

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXII.

ARCHITECTS IN THE REIGN OF GEORGE II.

IT was in this reign that Architecture resumed all her rights. Noble publications of Palladio, Jones, and the antique, recalled her to true principles and correct taste ; she found men of genius to execute her rules, and patrons to countenance their labours. She found more, and what Rome could not boast, men of the first rank who contributed to embellish their country by buildings of their own design in the purest style of antique composition. Before the glorious close of a reign that carried our arms and victories beyond where Roman eagles ever flew, ardour for the arts had led our travellers to explore whatever beauties of Grecian or Latin taste still subsisted in provinces once subjected to Rome; and the fine editions in consequence of those researches have established the throne of architecture in Britain, while it languishes at Rome, wantons in tawdry imitations of the French in other parts of Europe, and struggles in vain at Paris to surmount their prepossession in favour of their own errors—for fickle as we call that nation, their music and architecture prove how long their ears and eyes can be constant to discord and disproportion. 1


GIACOMO LEONI,

a Venetian, who had been architect to the Elector Palatine, settled in England, 2 and published a fine edition of Palladio

____________________
1
With whatever degree of just criticism this remark is made upon the style of architecture then prevalent in Paris, candour will attribute their due meed of praise to St. Geneviève, St. M. Magdalene, and the Bourse, upon which France may indeed pride herself; and all of which have been erected since the compilation of this volume.—D.
2
Leoni was patronised by Lord Burlington, who probably brought him to England for the purpose of superintending the edition of the works of Palladio, (2 vol. fol. 1725.) He afterwards published Alberti's Architecture, to which he added many of his own designs. The principal of these, dated 1726, was one for a mansion, never executed, at Carshalton, Surrey, for T. Scawen, Esq. of which eight plates are given. His largest undertaking was of a house at Moor-park, Herts,'

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