1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > Modern English Architecture: Cinquecento Influence; Elizabethan Style.

(Part 107)

Modern English Architecture: Cinquecento Influence; Elizabethan Style.

We have already more than once had occasion to refer incidentally to the introduction of Cinquencento architecture into Britain; and in noticing it more particularly, and tracing its course, we are saved the trouble of keeping up a distinction, between the different parts of our triple nation, because at the time it actually crossed the Channel the union of the kingdoms had taken place.

When the Pointed style received its deathblow in England, in the reign of Henry VIII, it did not immediately cease to exist; nor as it immediately succeeded by the Italian when it became extinct. It was gradually declining through all the 16th century, during the latter part of which period what has been called the Elizabethan style became somewhat permanent. It consists of a singular admixture of the Italian orders with many peculiarities of the Pointed style, and in many examples the latter appears predominant. With such difficulty, indeed, did that fascinating manner give up its hold on the minds of men in this country, that the Cinquencentists appear to have relinquished the hope of effecting its destruction, unfortunately, however, not until the injury was done; and for some time we were left without a style of any kind, unless that may be called by the name which marks the edifices of the reign of James I, and of which the oldest parts of St James's Palace are a specimen.

The destruction of the Pointed style has been referred by some to the change in religion which took place under the Tudor line of English monarchs, but certainly without sufficient reason. It was the "Reformation" of architecture in Italy, and not that of religion in Great Britain, that effected it; and it may be doubted whether the change would not have taken place sooner in this country if its connection with Italy had not been so materially affected by the moral change here; for it was Germany and France that supplied us with architectural reformers during the reigns of Henry VIII and his children, and not Italy, whose professors might possibly have obtained more credit than their disciples did.

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