William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain

Overview

The most versatile British designer of the 18th century, William Kent (1685–1748) created a style for a new nation and monarchy. The scope of his achievements encompasses architecture, palatial interiors, elaborate gardens, and exquisite furniture. Among his creative innovations are bold combinations of elements from Palladian, rococo, and gothic design, anticipating the intermingling of architectural styles we see today.  William Kent:Designing Georgian Britain is the first comprehensive exploration of this...

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Overview

The most versatile British designer of the 18th century, William Kent (1685–1748) created a style for a new nation and monarchy. The scope of his achievements encompasses architecture, palatial interiors, elaborate gardens, and exquisite furniture. Among his creative innovations are bold combinations of elements from Palladian, rococo, and gothic design, anticipating the intermingling of architectural styles we see today.  William Kent:Designing Georgian Britain is the first comprehensive exploration of this important designer and his extraordinary creations.

An international team of the foremost experts in the field examines the entire spectrum of Kent’s oeuvre, including the interiors at Kensington Palace and Houghton Hall. Essays illuminate issues about the authorship of Kent’s furniture and metalwork, situate his contributions in relation to architectural discourse, and classify the characteristics of his designs. Copiously illustrated, including many stunning new photographs, this handsome volume celebrates the work and career of one of the most influential figures in the history of architecture and design.

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Editorial Reviews

Apollo

“Published to coincide with a major exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center in New York, this grand volume provides a comprehensive survey of William Kent’s work in fields as diverse as landscape architecture and book illustration. Sumptuously illustrated and consisting of essays by top international experts, this is the most thorough investigation to date of the designer who truly shaped the taste of 18th-century Britain.”—Apollo Magazine
The Art Newspaper - Donald Lee

“William Kent was one of the most extraordinary English artists of the first half of the 18th century . . . The exhibition’s catalogue . . . will become a standard reference book for Kent as the foremost experts in the field – Julius Bryant, Geoffrey Beard, John Harris, John Dixon Hunt, Frank Salmon and David Watkin – have written the 21 essays.”—Donald Lee, The Art Newspaper
Apollo Magazine - Martin Levy

“William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain is a majestic addition to the literature on British design and is set to become the standard work on a great British innovator and creative genius.”—Martin Levy, Apollo Magazine
World of Interiors - Damien Thompson

“What’s impressive about William Kent, a great slab of multi-author scholarship, is that the architect appears equally adept designing a simple Baroque garden bench at Rousham as the coffered complexity of Holkham’s Marble Hall.”—Damien Thompson, World of Interiors Magazine
The Spectator - David Ekserdjian

“At just short of 700 pages and with superb contributions from no fewer than 15 leading authorities, this is a mighty achievement devoted to a major figure. . .It will remain the definitive account of its subject for many a moon.”—David Ekserdjian, The Spectator
New York Times - Karen Rosenberg

“A massive . . . but very readable catalog.”—Karen Rosenberg, New York Times
Literary Review - Christopher Woodward

“[A] quite stupendous book. . .The book is an astonishment of scholarship (and photography) and hoists Kent shoulder to shoulder with Robert Adam as one of the two great designers of the 18th century. . .William Kent is also a final gathering of a generation of distinguished scholars: it has the glee of a last heist by the silver foxes of architectural history.”—Christopher Woodward, Literary Review
The Sunday Telegraph - Harry Mount
‘Best to visit this illuminating show or read the handsome book, and then go and see the gardens, buildings and interiors in the flesh. Then Kent – the Renaissance man, Palladian man and baroque man – comes to life.’—Harry Mount, The Sunday Telegraph
Susan Weber and Julius Bryant
Exhibition dates: 
Bard Graduate Center, New York: 9 September 2013–16 February 2014

Victoria and Albert Museum, London: 22 March 2014–13 July 2014

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300196184
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 367,394
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Weber is founder and director of the Bard Graduate Center.

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