William Kent: Architect, Designer, Opportunist
William Kent (1685-1748) was great without a hint of gravitas, a con man who became one of the artistic geniuses of his age. He was a high camp Yorkshire bachelor, brought back by Lord Burlington from an artistic apprenticeship in Rome where he had painted for a cardinal and won prizes from a pope. In London he charmed the surly old Hanoverian King George I, redecorated Kensington Palace for him with a clumsy bravura, and survived the subsequent critical storm - just. England was in stylistic chaos after rejecting its lawful Stuart rulers and Burlington was imposing a chaste and dreary Palladianism on a philistine island people. Kent saw his chance and never looked back.
Queen Caroline, the real ruler, used him to project in sensational garden buildings by the Thames at Richmond her vision of a new scientific Britain. Sir Robert Walpole paid him to turn Houghton Hall in Norfolk into an imperial palace, outshining anything the German monarchs could raise. Another prime minister, the virtuous Henry Pelham, built with Kent a revolutionary suburban bolt-hole in Surrey. Between them they invented the Gothic Revival out at Esher, but have never been given the credit.
Late in life, while raising an alabaster temple to Jupiter at Holkham Hall, also in Norfolk, and the sexiest interiors in London on Berkeley Square, Kent was discovering his true genius, laying out casually at Esher, Stowe in Buckinghamshire and Rousham near Oxford, the Arcadian image of the 'English Garden' that would take the continent, even France, by storm as England's only original contribution to European culture.
|Dimensions||23.3 x 4.6 x 2.3 cm|
UK Standard Delivery
Delivery within 7 days with Royal Mail 24 or within 10 days with Royal Mail 48. More information on delivery
Delivery within 15 days. More information on delivery
UK Express - Signed Delivery
Delivery within 5 days. More information on delivery
We hope that you will love everything you buy from us, however, if you're not completely happy with your order you can return it to us within 14 days of receipt.
Exceptions apply to made-to-order products. More information on Returns & Refunds
You might also like
Email when in stock
Please enter your email address below and we will contact you when it comes back in stock.
We will send you an email when this product arrives in stock.
- National Gallery Books
- National Gallery Guidebooks
- New Arrivals
- By Artist
- Art Books By Subject
- Art History Books
- Art Reference Books
- Art Criticism and Theory Books
- Art Conservation and Science Books
- Art Techniques
- Art Books By Series
- Art Books Fiction
- Children's Books
- Art DVDs
- Books Sale