Part 2: Palladianism in Britain & Ireland

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

Lecture Summary:

Andrea Palladio has had a major influence on architecture in the British Isles, as in North America, but what exactly is English, British or Irish Palladianism? Steven Brindle considers the nature of Palladio’s influence, through his Four Books, his architectural drawings and his buildings. This story began with the careers of Inigo Jones and John Webb, but Palladio’s ideas arrived by other routes, were mixed with other influences, and were always used selectively by clients and designers. Some historians have questioned whether British Palladian architecture really exists. Brindle argues that it does, but that it represented a new 17th and 18th century phenomenon that drew on a variety of sources, adapted to suit British and Irish tastes and requirements.

Speaker: Steven Brindle


Steven Brindle was educated at Russell School, at Harvard High School in Los Angeles, and read history at Keble College, Oxford. He has worked for English Heritage in a variety of roles for 32 years. He has published extensively on the history of architecture and engineering. His books include: ‘Paddington Station, its History and Architecture’ (English Heritage, 2004), and ‘Windsor Castle, A Thousand Years of a Royal Palace’, as editor and lead author (Royal Collection, 2018). He contributed three essays to the monograph ‘William Kent, Designing Georgian Britain’ (Bard Graduate Center, 2013). He has just finished writing ‘Architecture in Britain and Ireland 1530-1830’, a successor to Sir John Summerson’s well-known book, for the Paul Mellon Centre.

Interlocutor: Gordon Higgott


Dr Gordon Higgott FSA is an independent architectural historian who specialises in architectural drawings and design practice in early modern England. He has catalogued the architectural drawings of Inigo Jones, a collection of English Baroque drawings at Sir John Soane’s Museum, and Sir Christopher Wren’s drawings for St Paul’s Cathedral at London Metropolitan Archives. He has published widely on the work of Inigo Jones and the history of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is currently preparing a new edition of Jones’s annotated copy of Palladio’s I Quattro libri dell’architettura at Worcester College Oxford. He previously worked for many years as an historic buildings inspector for English Heritage in London.