Visit the Temple of Mithras, London’s finest Roman temple recently restored to its original site beneath the new billion‐pound Bloomberg building on the banks of the River Walbrook. See, too, the Roman Amphitheatre under the Guildhall, the Roman wall and the Roman remains beneath St Bride’s Church. Along the way, we will see medieval and classical churches, and see how classicism disappeared ‐ and returned.
The Return Of Classicism In The Early 17th Century
We see Inigo Jones’s Banqueting House, the first correctly classical building in central London since the Romans, built in 1619. Jones’s Queen’s Chapel at St James’ Palace shows how Jones completely absorbed the lessons of Palladio and applied them expertly to a classical church. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, British architects took classical forms and gave them their own English lilt, not least in the form of the garden square, a British invention. We visit St James’s Square, the first garden square in the world, and see James Athenian Stuart recreating Ancient Greece in the West End.
The Genius Of British Classicism In The Late 17th Century
Wren’s City Churches constitute Britain’s greatest concentration of classical, world‐beating architecture within such a small space. We will visit the pick of his churches, and see how Wren was a master of the pared‐down British baroque, French neo-classicism ‐ and the Gothic.
The Classical Houses Of Hampstead
Thanks to its hilltop site and the discovery of supposed health‐giving springs in the late 17th century, the village of Hampstead is a unique microcosm of British 17th and 18th century classical architecture. From the splendid villa of Fenton House to the towering mansion of Burgh House, to some of the earliest terraced houses in England, we see how Palladio’s grand palazzi were domesticated by the British.
British Baroque, Palladianism, Neo-Classicism & Modern Classicism
In the 18th century, British classicism zipped through multiple different incarnations. We will see the early 18th century, Gibbsian baroque at St Martin‐in‐the‐Fields and St Mary le Strand. There’s a jump to Palladianism and neo‐classicism at neighbouring Somerset House and the Adelphi. And then the last hurrah of British classicism: in the early 20th century Australia House and South Africa House, the great classical mammoths on the Strand and in Trafalgar Square.