WARE, Isaac
(b. 1704, London, d. 1766, London)

Garden façade

Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire

Until the mid-eighteenth century, British architecture was wholly dominated by Palladianism. Virtually every landowner wanted a showy residence on his estates and a town house in London. Aristocratic and wealthy middle-class clients in Britain were the first in Europe to abandon the grammar of the Baroque for their country houses, and look for a more restrained, moderate concept of design that would nonetheless impress their friends and neighbours. They found it in the architecture of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, whose buildings are distinguished by great simplicity and a logically structured system of proportion.

In the first half of the eighteenth century, the whole of Britain was covered with Palladian buildings consisting of clearly defined cubes, designed on a strict system of proportions and externally very sparingly decorated. Façades were marked with a large portico in the manner of classical temples, above a rusticated plinth level. A second villa boom in the mid-eighteenth century produced a crop of often smaller country houses around London for rich middle-class clients. An example is Wrotham Park, built by Isaac Ware for Admiral John Byng in 1754. The core of the house features basically the cube of a Palladian villa.