Since the 11th century, the aristocracy have had to have a stylish home; it was a sign of power and wealth. Styles of architecture have been changing ever since, for example with the coming of the British empire, new styles were coming from the middle east and the styles of the time changed as the wealthy wanted a more sophisticated and agricultural look.
The stately home came into fashion at the beginning of the 17th century and with it came the Tudor Jacobean/Perpendicular Gothic style which consisted of things like such as symmetrical arches, flying buttresses and crenulations however, whereas in medieval structures it was used as a defence, in perpendicular gothic they were used as decoration.
After Tudor Jacobean came 18th century Gothic, which was, brick for brick, the same as Tudor Jacobean, because in this period there was plenty of money from owning land and from the trade of the early scratching’s of the British empire however the materials that were needed were limited along with the methods to use them due to the lack of recourses and the fact that there were not a lot of production methods. Swiftly after 18th century Gothic came neo Classical, this style lasted from the mid 18th to the mid 19th century.
It came about during the period known as “The age of reason” or the “Enlightenment” The upper classes wanted to show a cultural understanding and intelligence, the money flowed from imperial trade and the resources and technology were made available from the industrial revolution. The styles were taken from the Roman and Greek period, otherwise known as classical Architecture; they used styles such as keystone arches and pediments.
A good example of this is in Buckingham palace were you can see above the entrance there is a pediment supported by columns and pillars. By using source 9 we can learn about another Neo Classical feature, designed by Charles Bridgeman which was created so that the aristocracy got to see grazing cows without stepping in anything unwanted, this was known as a “Haha” because when you discover it you are surprised and say Haha.
The next favoured fashion was the Victorian gothic revival, the rich were still rich, but they were fed up with purely classical styles and began to become enthralled with British history especially during the medieval period. This was basically just a repeat of the Tudor Jacobean styles with the same features such as flying buttresses and gothic arches; an example of this is the north front tower at Hinchingbrooke house which was added by Edward Blore after the great fire destroyed a large portion of the house.
With the arrival of the British Empire came new styles from the Middle East, this can be seen in both Wimpole Hall and Hinchingbrooke House, the Chinese bridge at Wimpole is from the neo classical period, it came with the aristocracy wanting to show a cultural understanding by adding different architectural styles to their home from different country’s, so by adding the bridge they show that they are a cultured family, they are basically tying to look good to other people also known as conspicuous consumption.
The Japanese gardens at Hinchingbrooke were added for a different reason however, the fifth earl of Sandwich was posted at Japan and he enjoyed the look of things over there, so he brought some of the styles back with him and created his garden which he decorated with Japanese bird houses and other things, which he would not have been able to do had it not been during the period of time that the British were in the Middle East.
During the period of time that the aristocracy ruled, it was all about being better than one another, and the rich bought expensive goods to impress each other and show off this was known as conspicuous consumption, it was also used to gain favour with others i. e. a noble would by another noble a gift in order to earn his gratitude and favour.
Wimpole Hall was built in the late 1630’s for 250 years the Chicheley family dominated the history of Wimpole Hall, after demolishing the old property at Wimpole, Thomas Chicheley built the new Hall to the south east of the old site. It was built in the ‘new-style’ Neo classical, allowing the symmetrically placed hall to be entered through the centre of the south range, with a long gallery above.
This was the beginning of the changes put in the house, Wimpole represents a typical neo classical house of its time being refurbished to fit the style; you can see the south wing of the house is built in a different brick colour showing that the house was built in two different time periods, however both fit the same architectural style. Hinchingbrooke house was built at fist to be a nunnery in the 12th century by the Benedictine nuns, and in 1538 Richard Cromwell started the conversion of the nunnery to a Tudor country house.
The house stayed un-touched after that point until 1602 when the great bow window was built this will become important later on in the houses history; the next big revamp came in 1660 when the 6th Earl of Montague got the house after getting it off his predecessor the 1st Earl of Montague was sold the house in 1622, he redid the house in the style of the time which was perpendicular gothic which meant big arches and gothic windows with criss-cross brick, these features can be seen on the red brick kitchen and the rear of the house were the windows are arched.
In 1759 the south east part of the house and south west tower were altered by the 4th Earl in the Gothic style and the balcony window was made. Then in 1830A serious fire badly damaged the north east part of the house on the 22nd January. The Great Hall, the Bow Room and the staircase were all destroyed before the villagers could stop it.
In 1832 Edward Blore, the architect, was called in to carry out repairs and rebuild the damaged part of the house Most of the external features were retained – notably the two bay windows on the North Front and the Great Bow Window of 1602 which reduced in size and moved round to its present situation on the South Front. A fine new drawing room with an ornate Gothic ceiling was created on the ground floor and a new entrance was formed surmounted by an imposing tower. This destroyed the proportion of the Hall but enabled a convenient spot to be found for the butler’s pantry and housekeeper’s room.
During 1894-6 the west wing was built it contained bathrooms and servants rooms. Bathrooms were a big thing at the time and to have one in your house was considered “marvellous”. Hinchingbrooke house is still used today whereas Wimpole is owned by a trust and only used for guided tours. In my opinion Hinchingbrooke house is better at showing the architectural change through out time because bits of it have been built at different times whereas Wimpole is built in the neo classical period and no others.