WILKINS, William the Younger
(b. 1778, Norwich, d. 1839, Cambridge)

General view

1809-16
Photo
The Grange, Hampshire

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.

One of the first buildings to put this strict ideal into practice was a country house, The Grange in Hampshire, which William Wilkins rebuilt in 1809-16 as a Greek temple. Wilkins transformed a modest 17th century brick building into something more like an Ancient Greek temple. Literally wrapping the house in cement, Wilkins added classical façades, including the striking temple front supported on eight gigantic columns.

The Grange is the foremost example in England of Greek Revival architecture.