Queen Anne Style

Queen Anne Style

Although Anne herself displayed little interest in architecture, a style emerged during and immediately after her reign to which her name became identified. The style was first brought to a state of perfection by Sir Christopher Wren, and was popularised by his followers. And, it was the first fully developed style of domestic architecture to be employed in England. Here the cornice, pilaster and other classical motifs have become assimilated and, used with brick, form the foundation of an elegant domestic architectural style.

Fenton House in Hampstead, London is characteristic of a brick house built at the turn of the century, with its pedimented central bay. The original thick glazing bars and small panes have now been replaced by lighter sashes.

After the Great Fire of London laws were passed controlling house design. timber cornices were forbidden, and wooden window frames had to be set back from the face of the building. Walls had to be carried up as parapets to enable firemen to reach the roofs. These changes became fashionable and slowly spread across the country.

 

 

Early 18th-century door-cases were often highly decorative, with broken pediments or shell-like niches supported on decorative brackets. Wrought-iron was used for gateways or for balustrading to staircases.

Queen Anne Style in brief:

  • Grace and intimacy in interiors;
  • Simplified interiors;
  • Rooms panelled in oak or pine left natural and waxed, or painted in sombre tones of brown, dull green, greys or off-whites;
  • Simple mouldings found on doors, walls and cornices.

 

Queen Anne Furniture

  • Simple in design;
  • Beautiful figured walnut (solid and veneer) replaces marquetry and elaborate carving;
  • Chairs are high-backed with fiddle and urn-shaped centre splats, cabriole legs, and drop-in-seats;
  • Chest of drawers and tallboys replace cabinet-on-a-stand;
  • Card tables first appear;
  • The wing armchair takes its place permanently in interiors;
  • Mirrors become an important part of decoration.

 

Windows

  • Sash with shutters;
  • Curtain treatments simple;
  • Pull-up blinds;
  • Holland blinds always used to stop fading.

 

Floors

  • Oak or pine, scrubbed or waxed;
  • Often covered with Oriental rugs, or painted floor cloths.

 

Fireplaces

Simple in design in marble or same wood as panelling.

 

Lighting

  • Similar to that in the 17th-century;
  • Candlesticks in brass;
  • Metal chandeliers;
  • All rooms lit by candlelight.

 

Fabrics

Damasks, needlework, upholstery, and chintz all in use.

 

Queen Anne Buildings

Pallant House, Fenton House, Gunby Hall.

 

 

© Adrienne Chinn - London