BARRY, Sir Charles
(b. 1795, London, d. 1860, London)

Travellers Club and Reform Club

1829-41
Photo
Pall Mall, London

After the beginning of the 19th century, it became increasingly fashionable to make accurate copies of Greek architecture, leading to a notably purist Greek Revival in Britain that affected all areas of building. Along with a general enthusiasm for Greek art and culture, Greek architecture was now considered unquestionable superior to Roman architecture. Particularly in the Doric order, it was seen to embody an archaic ideal, the pure form from which everything sprang.

However, from the 1820s there was growing opposition to the Greek Revival. The endless rows of columns seemed too monotonous, the porticoes all the same. The range of models to imitate was, moreover, too limited. A reaction to it came from Sir Charles Barry with his influential club buildings in London's Pall Mall, which used the model of Italian Renaissance palazzi. He designed the Travellers Club (1829-31) and the directly adjacent Reform Club (1837-41) based on these models.