Kent, William

Kent, William

▪ British architect

born c. 1685, Bridlington, Yorkshire, Eng.
died April 12, 1748, London
 English architect, interior designer, landscape gardener, and painter, a principal master of the Palladian architectural style in England and pioneer in the creation of the “informal” English garden.

      Kent was said to have been apprenticed to a coach painter at Hull. Local patrons, impressed by his talent, sent him to study painting in Rome from 1709 to 1719. There he studied under Benedetto Luti.

      In Rome he also met the Earl of Burlington (Burlington, Richard Boyle, 3rd earl of), the foremost architectural patron of the 18th century in England and the principal promoter of Andrea Palladio's classical building style (Palladianism). He took Kent back to London in 1719 to decorate Burlington House in Piccadilly, where Kent then lived for the rest of his life. The association with Burlington had a determining effect on Kent's rather severe architectural style, which was characterized by well-proportioned masses arranged in simple relationships. Although later Neoclassical architects, such as Robert Adam, were to criticize Kent's works as “immeasurably ponderous,” his influence on them was considerable. Kent was also familiar with the style of Inigo Jones, whose Designs (published 1727) Kent edited.

      By the 1730s Kent had become a fashionable architect. Among his principal buildings is Holkham Hall, Norfolk (begun 1734). Here, as in other works, Kent designed interiors and even furniture, becoming one of the earliest English architects to plan a house in one unified design scheme. Kent's best known works came out of his appointment, through Burlington's influence, as a master carpenter in the Office of Works (1725). The Royal Mews (1732), the treasury buildings, Whitehall (1734–36), and the Horse Guards Building in Whitehall (1750–58; completed after Kent's death) are all part of Burlington's grand intention of rectifying the sorry state of England's architecture by adhering more closely to classical precedent.

      The rather theatrical interiors of some of these structures, as of the masterful No. 44 Berkeley Square (1742–44), and Kent's taste for fanciful Gothic style in furniture designs suggest that he wore his Palladianism lightly and that, in the absence of Burlington's overpowering influence, Kent might as easily have become a master of the Baroque.

      It was in his gardens—conceived of as natural landscapes to contrast with the classical severity of his buildings—that Kent may have achieved his freest expression. He created gardens at Rousham Hall, Oxfordshire (1738–41), and Stowe House, Buckinghamshire (c. 1730), where winding paths and open vistas lead to small classical temples in informal wooded glades. In describing the revolt from formality in garden design, Horace Walpole wrote that Kent saw that “all Nature was a garden.” The informal and irregular landscaping at these sites and others, such as Pope's Villa, Twickenham, Middlesex (for Alexander Pope; c. 1730), and Richmond Gardens, Surrey, were a marked departure from the manicured, symmetrical precision of French gardens such as those at Versailles. The English style soon crossed the Channel and had a substantial impact in France during the second half of the 18th century.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Kent, William — Kent, William, William, engl. Maler und Architekt, geb. 1684 in der Grafsch. York, gest. 12. April 1748 zu Burlington; durch Anlage verschiedener Parks nach landschaftlich idealisierendem System Begründer der neuern engl. Gartenkunst …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Kent (surname) — Kent is a surname, and may refer to: * A. Atwater Kent (1873 1949), American engineer and inventor * Aelfric of Kent, King of Kent * Æthelburg of Kent (died c. 647), Queen of Northumbria * St. Æthelberht of Kent (560 616), King of Kent *… …   Wikipedia

  • William Kent (Architekt) — William Kent William Kent (* 1685 in Bridlington, Yorkshire; † 12. April 1748 in London) war ein ausgebildeter Landschaftsmaler, führender englischer Architekt, Gartengestalter und Innenarchitekt des 18. Jahrhunderts. Er gilt als Wegbereiter des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Saville-Kent — (* 10 de julio 1845 11 de octubre 1908) fue un biólogo marino inglés. Nace en Sidmouth, Devon, su infancia se ve marcada por la muerte materna, el asesinato de su hermanastro y la condena a su hermana Constance a veinticinco años de prisión. Fue… …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Hamilton (Gouverneur) — William Thomas Hamilton William Thomas Hamilton (* 8. September 1820 im Washington County, Maryland; † 26. Oktober 1888 in Hagerstown, Maryland) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker (Demokratis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Kent — William Kent. William Kent (1685 1748) fue un arquitecto, interiorista y paisajista inglés, y uno de los creadores del jardín inglés,[1] de estilo orgánico y natural, en contraposición al hasta entonces imperante jardín francés, caracterizado por …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Saville-Kent — (10 July 1845 11 October 1908) was an English marine biologist. Born in Sidmouth, Devon, his childhood was marred by the death of his mother, the murder of his half brother and conviction of his sister Constance to twenty years in prison. The… …   Wikipedia

  • William P. Jackson — William Purnell Jackson (* 11. Januar 1868 in Salisbury, Maryland; † 7. März 1939 ebd.) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker, der für die Republikanische Partei dem …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Kent — (1685 1748) fut un architecte et paysagiste anglais. Né à Bridlington dans le Yorkshire, il est regardé comme l inventeur des jardins anglais. Il a dessiné les jardins de : Stowe House dans le Buckinghamshire (1730) la villa d Alexander Pope …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Kent — [William Kent] (c. 1685–1748) an English painter and ↑architect who also designed gardens and the insides of houses. He studied in Rome and helped to introduce ↑Palladianism (= an Italian style of architecture) to Brit …   Useful english dictionary

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