Bath and the Cotswolds Feature

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Bath's Georgian Architecture

Bath wouldn't be Bath without its distinctive 18th-century Georgian architecture, much of which was conceived by John Wood the Elder (1704–54), an antiquarian and architect. Wood saw Bath as a city destined for almost mythic greatness. Arriving in Bath in 1727, he sought a suitable architectural style, and found it in the Palladian style, made popular in Britain by Inigo Jones.

Elements of Style

Derived from the Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–80), who in turn was inspired by ancient Roman architecture, Palladianism accentuated symmetry and proportion. The plain facades of buildings, dignified with columns, pilasters, and pediments over doors and windows, often contrasted with rich interiors. The Building of Bath Collection has more information.

Buildings to See

Wood created a harmonious city, building graceful terraces (row houses), crescents (curving rows of houses), and villas of the same golden local limestone used by the Romans. Influenced by nearby ancient stone circles as well as round Roman temples, Wood broke from convention in his design for Bath's Circus, a circle of houses broken only three times for intersecting streets.

After the death of Wood the Elder, John Wood the Younger (1728–82) carried out his father's plans for the Royal Crescent, a regal crescent of 30 houses. Today you can stop in at Number 1 Royal Crescent for a look at one of these homes—it's like eavesdropping on the 18th century. He also built the Assembly Rooms, which are open to the public.

Updated: 10-2013

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