The Info List - Italianate Architecture

The Italianate style of architecture was a distinct 19th-century phase in the history of Classical architecture. In the Italianate style, the models and architectural vocabulary of 16th-century Italian Renaissance
architecture, which had served as inspiration for both Palladianism
and Neoclassicism, were synthesised with picturesque aesthetics. The style of architecture that was thus created, though also characterised as "Neo-Renaissance", was essentially of its own time. "The backward look transforms its object," Siegfried Giedion wrote of historicist architectural styles;[2] "every spectator at every period—at every moment, indeed—inevitably transforms the past according to his own nature." The Italianate style was first developed in Britain about 1802 by John Nash, with the construction of Cronkhill
in Shropshire. This small country house is generally accepted to be the first Italianate villa in England, from which is derived the Italianate architecture
Italianate architecture
of the late Regency and early Victorian eras.[3] The Italianate style was further developed and popularised by the architect Sir Charles Barry in the 1830s.[4] Barry's Italianate style (occasionally termed "Barryesque")[1] drew heavily for its motifs on the buildings of the Italian Renaissance, though sometimes at odds with Nash's semi-rustic Italianate villas. The style was not confined to England and was employed in varying forms, long after its decline in popularity in Britain, throughout Northern Europe
Northern Europe
and the British Empire. From the late 1840s to 1890 it achieved huge popularity in the United States,[5] where it was promoted by the architect Alexander Jackson Davis.


1 Elements 2 Interior decoration 3 By region

3.1 England and Wales 3.2 Lebanon 3.3 United States

3.3.1 East Coast 3.3.2 Other U.S. regions

3.4 Australia 3.5 New Zealand

4 Image galleries

4.1 Great Britain 4.2 United States 4.3 Australia
and New Zealand

5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Elements[edit] Key visual components of this style include:[6]

Low-pitched or flat roofs; roof is frequently hipped Projecting eaves supported by corbels Imposing cornice structures Pedimented windows and doors Arch-headed, pedimented or Serlian windows with pronounced architraves and archivolts Tall first floor windows suggesting a piano nobile Angled bay windows Attics with a row of awning windows between the eave brackets Glazed doors Belvedere or machicolated signorial towers Cupolas Quoins Loggias Balconies with wrought-iron railings, or Renaissance
balustrading Balustrades concealing the roof-scape About 15% of Italianate houses in the United States
United States
include a tower[7]

Interior decoration[edit]

Government House, Melbourne. The Hall decorated in 19th-century Italianate style.

In interior decoration there were direct parallels to "Italianate" architecture with free re-combinations of decorative features drawn from Italian 16th-century architecture and objects, which were applied to purely 19th century forms. Wardrobes and dressers could be dressed in Italianate detailing as well as row houses.[according to whom?] The spur to such commercial designs can be found in the "free Renaissance" style that was espoused by Charles Eastlake. In 1868 he published Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and other Details which was very influential in Britain and later in the United States, where the book was published in 1872. Although the archaeology of Mr. Eastlake's volume was always careful, most of the principles in it are beyond question, and can be generally stated in a few words. The Italianate style would have no carving or molding or other ornament glued on—such work must be done in the solid; no mitered joints, but joints made at the right angle, and secured by mortise, tenon and pin; woods in their native colour, and unvarnished, or else painted in flat colour, with a contrasting line and a stenciled ornament at the angles; unconcealed construction everywhere, and purposes plainly proclaimed; and with veneering, round corners and all curves weakening the grain of the wood being absolutely forbidden. The furniture that he thus proposed has straight, strong, squarely cut members equal to their intention. Its ornament is painted panels, porcelain plaques and tiles, metal trimmings, and conventionalized carvings in sunk relief, a part of the construction entering into the ornament, also in the shape of narrow striated strips of wood radiating in opposite lines, after a fashion not altogether unknown in the time of Henry III. It has the honesty and solidity, but not the attraction, of the Medieval; and if it is stiff and somewhat heavy, and fails entirely to please, it has yet a wholesome and healthy air.[8] Today "Italianate" furnishings are often called "Eastlake" by American collectors and dealers, but contemporary terms ranged imaginatively, and included "Neo-Grec". By region[edit] England and Wales[edit]

Cliveden: Charles Barry's Italianate,[9] Neo-Renaissance
mansion with "confident allusions to the wealth of Italian merchant princes."[10]

Villa Emo
Villa Emo
by Palladio,1559. The great Italian villas were often a starting point for the buildings of the 19th-century Italianate style.

A late intimation of Nash's development of the Italianate style was his 1805 design of Sandridge Park
Sandridge Park
at Stoke Gabriel
Stoke Gabriel
in Devon. Commissioned by the dowager Lady Ashburton as a country retreat, this small country house clearly shows the transition between the picturesque of William Gilpin and Nash's yet to be fully evolved Italianism. While this house can still be described as Regency, its informal asymmetrical plan together with its loggias and balconies of both stone and wrought iron; tower and low pitched roof clearly are very similar to the fully Italianate design of Cronkhill,[11] the house generally considered to be the first example of the Italianate style in Britain. Later examples of the Italianate style in England tend to take the form of Palladian-style building often enhanced by a belvedere tower complete with Renaissance-type balustrading at the roof level. This is generally a more stylistic interpretation of what architects and patrons imagined to be the case in Italy, and utilises more obviously the Italian Renaissance
motifs than those earlier examples of the Italianate style by Nash. Sir Charles Barry, most notable for his works on the Tudor and Gothic styles at the Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
in London, was a great promoter of the style. Unlike Nash he found his inspiration in Italy itself. Barry drew heavily on the designs of the original Renaissance
villas of Rome, the Lazio
and the Veneto
or as he put it: "...the charming character of the irregular villas of Italy."[12] His most defining work in this style was the large Neo-Renaissance
mansion Cliveden (illustrated above). Although it has been claimed that one third of early Victorian country houses in England used classical styles, mostly Italianate,[13] by 1855 the style was falling from favour and Cliveden
came to be regarded as "a declining essay in a declining fashion."[14] Anthony Salvin occasionally designed in the Italianate style, especially in Wales, at Hafod House, Carmarthenshire, and Penoyre House, Powys, described by Mark Girouard as "Salvin's most ambitious classical house."[15] Thomas Cubitt, a London
building contractor, incorporated simple classical lines of the Italianate style as defined by Sir Charles Barry into many of his London
terraces.[4] Cubitt designed Osborne House under the direction of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and it is Cubitt's reworking of his two dimensional street architecture into this free standing mansion[4] which was to be the inspiration for countless Italianate villas throughout the British Empire. Following the completion of Osborne House
Osborne House
in 1851, the style became a popular choice of design for the small mansions built by the new and wealthy industrialists of the era. These were mostly built in cities surrounded by large but not extensive gardens, often laid out in a terrace Tuscan style as well. On occasions very similar, if not identical, designs to these Italianate villas would be topped by mansard roofs, and then termed chateauesque. However, "after a modest spate of Italianate villas, and French chateaux"[16] by 1855 the most favoured style of an English country house
English country house
was Gothic, Tudor, or Elizabethan. The Italianate style came to the small town of Newton Abbot and the village of Starcross
in Devon, with Isambard Brunel's atmospheric railway pumping houses. The style was later used by Humphrey Abberley and Joseph Rowell who designed a large number of houses, with the new railway station as the focal point, for Lord Courtenay who saw the potential of the railway age.

An example that is not very well known, but a clear example of Italianate architecture, is St. Christopher's Anglican church in Hinchley Wood, Surrey, particularly given the design of its bell tower.[17] Lebanon[edit] The Italian, specifically, Tuscan, influence on architecture in Lebanon dates back to the Renaissance
when Fakhreddine, the first Lebanese ruler who truly unified Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
with its Mediterranean coast executed an ambitious plan to develop his country. When the Ottomans exiled Fakhreddine to Tuscany
in 1613, he entered an alliance with the Medicis. Upon his return to Lebanon in 1618, he began modernising Lebanon. He developed a silk industry, upgraded olive-oil production, and brought with him numerous Italian engineers who began the construction of mansions and civil building throughout the country.[18] The cities of Beirut
and Sidon
were especially built in the Italianate style.[19] The influence of these buildings, such as the ones in Deir el Qamar, influenced building in Lebanon for many centuries and continues to the present time. For example, streets like Rue Gouraud
Rue Gouraud
continues to have numerous, historic houses with Italianate influence.[20]

United States[edit]

Blandwood Mansion
and Gardens in Greensboro, North Carolina.

See also: Mediterranean Revival architecture East Coast[edit] The Italianate style was popularized in the United States
United States
by Alexander Jackson Davis in the 1840s as an alternative to Gothic or Greek Revival styles. Davis' design for Blandwood is the oldest surviving example of Italianate architecture
Italianate architecture
in the United States, constructed 1844 as the residence of North Carolina Governor John Motley Morehead.[21][22] It is an early example of Italianate architecture, closer in ethos to the Italianate works of Nash than the more Renaissance-inspired designs of Barry.[22] Davis' 1854 Litchfield Villa in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Prospect Park, Brooklyn
is a splendid example of the style. It was initially referred to as the "Italian Villa" or "Tuscan Villa" style.[23] Richard Upjohn
Richard Upjohn
used the style extensively, beginning in 1845 with the Edward King House. Other leading practitioners of the style were John Notman
John Notman
and Henry Austin.[24] Notman designed "Riverside" in 1837, the first "Italian Villa" style house in Burlington, New Jersey
Burlington, New Jersey
(now destroyed). Italianate was reinterpreted to become an indigenous style. It is distinctive by its pronounced exaggeration of many Italian Renaissance characteristics: emphatic eaves supported by corbels, low-pitched roofs barely discernible from the ground, or even flat roofs with a wide projection. A tower is often incorporated hinting at the Italian belvedere or even campanile tower. Motifs drawn from the Italianate style were incorporated into the commercial builders' repertoire and appear in Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
dating from the mid-to-late 19th century. This architectural style became more popular than Greek Revival
Greek Revival
by the beginning of the Civil War.[25] Its popularity was due to being suitable for many different building materials and budgets, as well as the development of cast-iron and press-metal technology making the production more efficient of decorative elements such as brackets and cornices. However, the style was superseded in popularity in the late 1870s by the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival
Colonial Revival
styles. Other U.S. regions[edit]

The Italianate 1849 John Muir Mansion, in Martinez, California.

The popularity of Italianate architecture
Italianate architecture
in the time period following 1845 can be seen in Cincinnati, Ohio, the United States' first boomtown west of the Appalachian Mountains.[26] This city, which grew along with the traffic on the Ohio River, features arguably the largest single collection of Italianate buildings in the United States in its Over-the-Rhine
neighborhood, built primarily by German-American immigrants that lived in the densely populated area. In recent years increased attention has been called to the preservation of this impressive collection, with large-scale renovation efforts beginning to repair urban blight. Cincinnati's neighboring cities of Newport and Covington, Kentucky
Covington, Kentucky
also contain an impressive collection of Italianate architecture. The Garden District of New Orleans
New Orleans
features examples of the Italianate style, including:[27]

1331 First Street, designed by Samuel Jamison, the Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion
at 3029 St. Charles Avenue, and 2805 Carondelet Street (technically located a block outside the garden district).

In California the earliest Victorian residences were wooden versions of the Italianate style, such as the James Lick Mansion, John Muir Mansion, and Bidwell Mansion, before later Stick-Eastlake
and Queen Anne styles superseded. Many, nicknamed Painted Ladies, remain and are celebrated in San Francisco. A late example in masonry is the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Los Angeles. Additionally, the United States
United States
Lighthouse Board through the work of Colonel Orlando M. Poe
Orlando M. Poe
produced a number of Italianate lighthouses and associated structures, chief among them being the Grosse Point Light in Evanston, Illinois.[28] Australia[edit] See also: Australian residential architectural styles § Italianate

Government House, Melbourne
Government House, Melbourne
completed in 1876.

The Italianate style was immensely popular in Australia
as a domestic style influencing the rapidly expanding suburbs of the 1870-1880s and providing rows of neat villas with low-pitched roofs, bay windows, tall windows and classical cornices. The architect William Wardell designed Government House in Melbourne—the official residence of the Governor of Victoria—as an example of his "newly discovered love for Italianate, Palladian
and Venetian architecture."[29] Cream-colored, with many Palladian
features, it would not be out of place among the unified streets and squares in Thomas Cubitt's Belgravia, London, except for its machicolated signorial tower that Wardell crowned with a belvedere. The hipped roof is concealed by a balustraded parapet. The principal block is flanked by two lower asymmetrical secondary wings that contribute picturesque massing, best appreciated from an angled view. The larger of these is divided from the principal block by the belvedere tower. The smaller, the ballroom block, is entered through a columned porte-cochere designed as a single storey prostyle portico. Many examples of this style are evident around the government district of Melbourne, notably the "Old Treasury" Building (1858) and the fine range of state and federal government offices facing the gardens in Treasury Place. No.2 Treasury Gardens
Treasury Gardens
(1874),[30] in particular would not be out of place in Whitehall or Belgravia
in London. This dignified, but not overly exuberant style for civil service offices contrasted with the grand and more formal statements of the classical styles used for Parliament buildings. The acceptance of the Italianate style for government offices was sustained well into the 20th century when, in 1912, John Smith Murdoch
John Smith Murdoch
designed the Commonwealth Office Buildings as a sympathetic addition to this precinct to form a stylistically unified terrace overlooking the gardens. The Italianate style of architecture continued to be built in outposts of the British Empire
British Empire
long after it had ceased to be fashionable in Britain itself. The Albury railway station
Albury railway station
in New South Wales, completed in 1881, is an example of this further evolution of the style. New Zealand[edit] As in Australia, the use of Italianate for public service offices took hold, but using local materials like timber to create the illusion of stone. At the time it was built in 1856, the official residence of the Colonial Governor in Auckland
was criticized for the dishonesty of making wood look like stone. The 1875 Old Government Buildings, Wellington
are entirely constructed with local kauri timber which has excellent properties for construction. ( Auckland
developed later and preferred Gothic detailing) As in the United States, the timber construction common in New Zealand, allowed this popular style to be rendered in domestic buildings such as Antrim House
Antrim House
in Wellington
and Westoe Farm House in Rangitikei[31] 1874, as well as rendered brick at "The Pah"1880, Auckland. On a more domestic scale, the suburbs of cities like Dunedin
and Wellington
spread out with modest, but handsome suburban villas with Italianate details such as low-pitched roofs, tall windows, corner quoins, and stone detailing, all rendered in wood. A good example is the birthplace of the writer Katherine Mansfield. Image galleries[edit] Great Britain[edit]

The former headquarters of the Royal Southern Yacht Club
Royal Southern Yacht Club
in Southampton, England, built in 1846

United States[edit]

Italianate Victorian Painted Lady in San Francisco, California

Series of Italianate tenements in Over-The-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Boardman–Mitchell House
Boardman–Mitchell House
Located in Stapleton, Staten Island, NY.

The Bidwell Mansion, built in 1865, Chico, California

Robert Patrick Fitzgerald House, Milwaukee, 1876: potpourri of "Italianate" features

Annefield, Charlotte County, Virginia, built in 1858.

The Farnam Mansion
in Oneida, New York, built in 1862

The Posey County Courthouse in Mount Vernon, Indiana, completed in 1876

and New Zealand[edit]

Railway station of Albury, New South Wales, Australia

Eynesbury House, Adelaide, South Australia

Myrnong Hall, Acland Street, St Kilda, Victoria, Melbourne

Fitzroy Street in the suburb of St Kilda, Victoria
St Kilda, Victoria
has a high concentration of Italianate buildings

Old Government Buildings, Wellington

Antrim House, Wellington

See also[edit]

Tuscan order


^ a b Wilson, Richard Guy (2002). Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont. Oxford University Press. p. 517.  ^ Siegfried Giedion, Space, Time and Architecture 1941 etc. ^ "John Nash Biography". BookRags.com. 1928-06-13. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ a b c Turner, Michael. Osbourne House Page 28. English Heritage. Osbourne House. ISBN 1-85074-249-9 ^ Kibbel, Bill. "The Italianate Style". Old House Web Blog. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ "Italianate Architectural Elements". Middleburgh Elementary Library Information Center [self-published source]. Middleburgh Telephone Company. Archived from the original on October 3, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ McAlester, Virginia & Lee, A Field Guide to American Houses, Alfred H. Knopf, New York 1984 p. 211 ^ "Elizabethan and later English furniture". Harper's New Monthly Magazine. 56 (331): 18–33. December 1877.  ^ "Historic Houses In Buckinghamshire". Touruk.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ Direct quote from: Walton, John. Late Georgian and Victorian Britain Page 50. George Philip Ltd. 1989. ISBN 0-540-01185-1 ^ Photograph of Cronkhill
The house is still more a picturesque cottage than great Italian Villa or Palazzo ^ Girouard, Mark. Life in the English Country House Page 272. Yale University ^ Walton, John. Late Georgian and Victorian Britain Page 58. George Philip Ltd. 1989. ISBN 0-540-01185-1 ^ Direct quote from: Walton, John. Late Georgian and Victorian Britain Page 58. George Philip Ltd. 1989. ISBN 0-540-01185-1 ^ Girouard, p. 415. ^ Girouard, Mark. Life in the English Country House Page 272. Yale University ^ "St. Christopher's Church, Hinchley Wood
Hinchley Wood
(C) Dr Neil Clifton". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 10 March 2018.  ^ Carter, Terry; Dunston, Lara; Humphreys, Andrew (2004). Syria & Lebanon — Google Books. books.google.com. ISBN 978-1-86450-333-3. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ Dib, Kamal; Dīb, Kamāl (2004). Warlords and merchants: the Lebanese ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. ISBN 978-0-86372-297-4. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ "Premium content". The Economist. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ Salsi, Lynn; Salsi, Burke (2002). Guilford County: Heart of the Piedmont. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7385-2367-5.  ^ a b Sheridan, Ellen M.; Lentz, Marlene H. (December 15, 1987). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form" (PDF). Greensboro Preservation Society. National Park Service. Retrieved January 15, 2010.  ^ Downing, Andrew Jackson, "Victorian Cottage Residences", Dover Architectural Series, 1981, a reprint of "Cottage Residences: or A Series of Designs for Rural Cottages and Cottage Villas and their Gardens and Grounds Adapted to North America", 1873 p. 152 ^ Whiffen, Marcus; Koeper, Frederick (1984). American Architecture, 1607–1860. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-73069-3.  ^ Hamlin, Talbot, Greek Revival
Greek Revival
Architecture in America: Being an account of important trends in American architecture and American life prior to the War Between the States, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1944, a 1964 edition pp. 334–337 ^ Clubbe, John. Cincinnati
Observed: Architecture and History, Ohio State University Press, Columbus 1992 p. xxi ^ "Self Guided Garden District Tour - Things to See". Free Tours by Foot. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.  ^ Terras, Donald J. (1998-08-03). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Grosse Point Light
Grosse Point Light
Station" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-20.  - "Accompanying 9 images" (PDF).  ^ "Historic Buildings in Berry". The Age. Melbourne. 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2010-01-18.  ^ Fishlock, Sean. "State Government Offices - 2 Treasury Place. EAST MELBOURNE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]". Walking Melbourne Forum. Retrieved 10 March 2018.  ^ "Search the List - Westoe". Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 10 March 2018. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Italianate architecture.

Italianate, 1850-1890 The Old House Web Italianate (1850-1900) Ontario Architecture The Picturesque
Style: Italianate Architecture Blog on Italianate architecture Italianate Architecture Arthemia 1840-1885: Italianate Picture Dictionary of House Styles in North America and Beyond Italianate in Buffalo – 1840-1885 Victorian Italianate, c. 1840-c. 1890 Sydney Architecture Images Italianate and Italian Villa (1850-1890) Architectural Styles of America Italianate Architecture flickr The Pah Homestead, Auckland, New Zealand

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