Palladianism was a movement in architecture based on the writings and work of Andreas Palladio, an Italian architect of the 16th century who tried to recreate the style and proportions of the buildings of ancient Rome.
Palladio himself was heavily influenced by the Roman architect, Vitruvius. And while not all of his ideas were true to the ancient ideals he was trying to imitate (due to working from ruins and partial documents), still his ideas and philosophy were widely imitated throughout Europe, and particularly in England during the 18th century.
The Englishman who popularised the Palladian style was Inigo Jones, Surveyor-General under James I. Jones was responsible for several very early classical buildings, notably Queen's House, Greenwich, and the Banqueting House at Whitehall. In many ways Jones was ahead of his time, for it was not until well into the 18th century that adherence to the classical ideals of Palladio became widespread in England.
Grace, understated decorative elements, and use of classical orders. are all hallmarks of the English Palladian style. At its most rigid, Palladianism simply copied designs made popular in Italy by Palladio. Richard Boyle, Lord Burlington (1694-1753), the foremost patron of the arts during the mid-18th century, was responsible for the success of Palladianism and the classical style in general. Burlington was an immensely influential amateur architect. He also supported men such as Colen Campbell, who was responsible for Burlington's Chiswick House, London (1725-29), and William Kent, who was responsible for the interior decoration at Burlington House. Burlington himself took a hand in the design of Chiswick House (below) and the Assembly Rooms at York.
One particular feature of the English Palladian style which I like, admire for it's practicality and which we are adapting to Willowbrook Park, are the use of side pavilions of buildings in order to enlarge a house without altering the design of the main building. They are usually attached by a classical colonnade, and are usually symmetrical in design and composition. We are going to tweak this idea slightly and have the Stables block and the Chapel form the side pavilions, attached to the main house via colonnades. And although the physical siting of the side buildings and colonnades will be perfectly symmetrical, the style of each building itself will be idiosyncratic to its function. This is in keeping with the English tradition of inheriting the family estate through successive generations and then building additional wings and out buildings in the contemporary style of each generation. It is a composite style which is fairly English when it comes to estates.