Queen's House

London, United Kingdom

Queen's House

8.8

Queen's House is a former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635 near Greenwich Palace, a few miles down-river from the City of London and now in the London Borough of Greenwich. It presently forms a central focus of what is now the Old Royal Naval College with a grand vista leading to the River Thames. Its architect was Inigo Jones, for whom it was a crucial early commission, for Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James VI and I. Queen's House is one of the most important buildings in British architectural history, being the first consciously classical building to have been constructed in the country. It was Jones's first major commission after returning from his 1613–1615 grand tour of Roman, Renaissance, and Palladian architecture in Italy.

Some earlier English buildings, such as Longleat and Burghley House, had made borrowings from the classical style, but these were restricted to small details not applied in a systematic way, or the building may be a mix of different styles. Furthermore, the form of these buildings was not informed by an understanding of classical precedents. Queen's House would have appeared revolutionary to English eyes in its day. Jones is credited with the introduction of Palladianism with the construction of Queen's House, although it diverges from the mathematical constraints of Palladio, and it is likely that the immediate precedent for the H-shaped plan straddling a road is the Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano by Giuliano da Sangallo.

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