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Magnificence, Refinement, and Comfort

Continental Architecture in England

Seventeenth-century building was shaped by political power, changing social relationships, economic development, and new mentalities. Inigo Jones and other court architects and builders influenced both the London cityscape and country architecture. Magnificence, refinement and comfort were the most important aspirations.


Writers and publishers profited from the growing market for books on continental architecture in the early seventeenth century as builders increasingly borrowed elements of continental style. The English translation of Italian architect Sebastiano Serlio's work, The first book of architecture was extremely popular among those who wanted to build, or update, their homes in a continental style. Serlio's illustrations of antique buildings, modern churches, and secular architecture were frequently consulted for stylish details like these of ceilings and woodwork.


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Sebastiano Serlio. The first book of architecture, made by Sebastian Serly, entreating of geometrie. London, 1611

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