Chiswick House
Chiswick House is a Neo-Palladian, Neoclassical villa situated in Burlington Lane, Chiswick, in the London Borough of Hounslow in England. Built during the reign of George II of Great Britain, it is today a Grade 1 listed building. Chiswick House was inherited by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, 4th Earl of Cork and Baron Clifford (1694–1753) on the death of his father, Charles Boyle, in 1704. The mansion was a medium sized Jacobean house and used as a summer retreat to get away from the heat of London in the same way as Marble Hill House, Strawberry Hill and Syon Park were used (the town house that the family frequented the rest of the year was Burlington House in Piccadily, today the Royal Academy). After a fire in the old Jacobean house in 1725 it is likely that the idea of building a Villa (house in the country) at Chiswick presented itself, yet this notion may already have been present in the mind of Lord Burlington since the time of his sojourn of Italy in 1719. Lord Burlington decided to build a new building, his 'Villa' to the west of Chiswick House which would be suitable to display his large collection of art and furniture, much of which was purchased on his first 'Grand Tour' of Europe in 1714. As accommodation was already provided in the old Jacobean house and stable block, there was little need for bedrooms in the new annex. Known as the "Apollo of the Arts" by Horace Walpole (1717–1797) because of his great patronage, the "architect earl" designed Chiswick Villa with the aid of William Kent (1685–1748) between 1726 and 1729. William Kent (who changed his name from ‘Cant’) also took a leading role in designing the gardens, which are regarded as the earliest example of the 'English Landscape Garden': a mode of garden in which many aspects were deformalised whilst fostering a vision that harked back to the gardens of antiquity and adding 'variety' within the landscape. Richard Boyle married Lady Dorothy Savile (1699–1758) on 21 March 1720 and their happy union produced three daughters. However, all three were to die before the age of twenty four. The last surviving daughter, Charlotte Boyle, married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire,(1720–1764) and the house, Villa and gardens passed to the Cavendish family after Lady Burlington's death in her Bedchamber at Chiswick on 21 September 1758. The Villa was then occasionally used by the family, who had numerous other residences (they inherited Bolton Abbey, Londesborough in Yorkshire, and Lismore Castle in Ireland from the Boyles), and added two wings to the Villa to increase the amount of accommodation. Built in 1788 by the architect John White, these wings were designed in a sympathetic style, but inimical to the concept of the property as a compact perfectly formed Villa, and were removed by the Ministry of Works in 1952. The Villa was saved from destruction by a public campaign and petitioning from the newly created Georgian Society who recognised the Villa’s unique architectural heritage and its invaluable contribution to European architectural history. Later Years Between the years of 1862 and 1892 the Villa was rented out by the Cavendish family to a number of successive tenants including the Duchess of Sutherland in 1867, the Prince of Wales in the 1870s, and the Marquees of Bute, patron of the painter William Burgess, from 1881 to 1892. From this year the Villa was rented to Doctors T S and C M Tuke and functioned as a mental hospital for wealthy male and female patients. The Tukes' were Quakers by faith and regarded themselves as pioneers in the treatment of ill health. Where possible holistic methods and remedies were used to try and cure patients. The first V2 rocket to hit London landed in Staveley Road, near Chiswick Villa in 1944, killing three people. This supersonic rocket was fired near The Hague in the Netherlands and damaged one of the two wing buildings. Vibration damage from heavy bombing in Chiswick was responsible for much of the plaster coffering falling down in the Upper Tribunal. In the interwar years the Villa became a fire station and had 'Green Goddess' fire engines stationed on its forecourt. The 9th Duke of Devonshire sold Chiswick House to Middlesex County Council (with contributions from public subscription including King George V) in 1929. The gardens are currently in the care of the London Borough of Hounslow and the Villa is in the guardianship of English Heritage. The garden is open to the public from dawn until dusk without charge. Hounslow Council and English Heritage have formed part of the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust in 2005 to unify the management of the Villa and Gardens. The Trust will take over administration for the Villa and Gardens on July 1, 2010 following the completion of the restoration works Heritage Lottery Fund Grant complemented by approx GBP 4M from other sources, for restoration of the gardens.

The House (or Villa)
Lord Burlington's finest architectural creation, Chiswick Villa, is inspired in part by several buildings of the sixteen century Italian architects Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) and his assistant Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552–1616), but is often incorrectly stated as being a more or less direct copy of Palladio's most famous Villa, the Villa Capra "La Rotonda" near Vicenza. However, recent research has confirmed that the architecture of Chiswick Villa is more indebted to Roman sources that Lord Burlington came into contact with on his two Grand Tours than any singular building by Palladio. The architectural historian Richard Hewlings has established that Chiswick House was an attempt by Lord Burlington to create a Roman villa (not Renaissance) situated in a symbolic Roman garden. Palladio exerted an important influence on Lord Burlington through his reconstructions of lost Roman buildings, many of which were never published but were purchased by Lord Burlington on his second Grand Tour and housed in the Blue Velvet Room in the Villa. These reconstructions of Roman buildings by Palladio were the source for many of the varied geometric shapes within Burlington's Villa, including the use of the octagon, circle and rectangle (with apses). Possibly the most influential building reconstructed by Palladio and used at Chiswick was the monumental Roman Baths of Diocletian: references to this building can be found in the Domed Hall, Gallery, Library and Link Rooms. Burlington's use of Roman sources can be viewed in the steep-pitched dome of the villa which is derived from the Pantheon in Rome. However, the source for the octagonal form of the dome, the Upper Tribunal, Lower Tribunal and cellar at Chiswick all possibly derive from Vincenzo Scamozzi's Rocca Pisani near Vicenza. Burlington may also have been influenced in his choice of octagon from the drawings of the Renaissance architect Sebastiano Serlio (1475–1554), or from Roman buildings of antiquity (for example, Lord Burlington owned Andrea Palladio's drawings of the octagonal mausoleum at the Diocletian Palace at Split in modern day Croatia). Archaeological remains have shown the Roman willingness to experiment with different geometric forms in their buildings, such as the underground octagonal Hall at Nero's Domus Aurea. The Villa is built of brick and its facade fronted with Portland stone with a small amount of stucco. The finely carved Corinthian capitals on the projecting six-column portico at Chiswick, carved by John Boson, are derived from the Temple of Jupiter Stator (also known as the Temple of Castor and Pollux)in Rome. The inset door, projecting plinth and 'v'-necked rusticated vermiculation (resembling 'tufa') were all derived from the base of Trajan's Column. The short sections of crenellated wall with ball finials which extend out either side of the villa were symbolic of medieval (or Roman) fortified town walls and were inspired by their use by Palladio at his church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice and by Inigo Jones (1573–1652) (Palladio also produced woodcuts of the Villa Foscari with crenellated sections of walls in his I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura in 1570, yet in reality they were never built). To reinforce this link two full-length statues of Palladio and Jones by the Flemish-born celebrated sculptor John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770) are positioned in front of these sections of wall. Palladio's influence can also be found in the general cubic form of the villa with its central hall with other rooms leading off its axis. The villa is a half cube of 70 feet by 70 feet by 35 feet. Inside are rooms of 10 feet square, 15 feet square and 15 feet by 20 feet by 25 feet. The distance from the apex of the dome to the base of the cellar is 70 feet, making the whole pile fit within a perfect, invisible cube. However, the decorative cornice at Chiswick was derived from a contemporary source, that of the Catholic architect James Gibbs's cornice at the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. On the portico leading to the Domed Hall is positioned a bust of the Roman Emperor Augustus. Augustus was regarded by many of the early eighteenth century English aristocracy as the greatest of all the Roman Emperors (the early Georgian era was known as the 'Augustan' age). This link with the Emperor Augustus was reinforced in the garden at Chiswick through the presence of Egyptianizing objects such as sphinxes (who symbolically guard the 'Temple' front and rear), obelisks and stone lions. Lord Burlington and his contemporaries were conscious of the fact that it was Augustus who invaded Egypt and brought back Egyptian objects and erected them in Rome. Grand Tourists visiting Rome would have regarded such objects as Roman. Augustus was viewed through eighteenth century eyes as a peacemaker who had brought to an end the civil wars. In his own words he "found Rome clay and left it marble”. Augustus was also seen to have transformed Rome architecturally into a city fit to rule an expanding Empire, whilst carrying out large-scale public works (such as erecting drainage and aqueduct systems) for the benefit of the Roman people. The Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (‘ Vitruvius’) was also writing in the age of Augustus, a fact not lost on Lord Burlington. The origins of Rome were made manifest at Chiswick through Burlington's strategic deployment of statues, including those of a gladiator, a Venus de' Medici, a wolf (used to inspire nostalgic memories of the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus) and a boar located at the rear of the Villa (symbolic of the great Boar hunt). Inside the Villa many references to the Roman goddess Venus abound, as Venus was the mother of Aeneas who fled Troy and co-founded Rome. On the forecourt to the Villa are several 'Term' statues that derive their forms from the Roman god Terminus, the god of distance and space. Such items therefore are used as boundary markers, positioned in the hedge at set distances apart. At the rear of the Villa were positioned 'Herm' statues that derive from the Greek god Hermes, the patron of travelers and Freemasons and thus are welcoming figures for all who wish to visit Lord Burlington's gardens (Lord Burlington's gardens at Chiswick were the most visited of all London villas. A small entrance charge applied). Lord Burlington's intentions for his villa have never been established and received much speculation. The social commentator, John, Lord Hervey, for example, described the newly built Villa as 'Too small to live in, and too big to hang to a watch'. John Clerk of Penicuik described it as 'Rather curious than convenient', whilst Horace Walpole referred to the villa as 'the beautiful model'. Burlington only spoke of his villa in passing as his 'toy'. For the most part Burlington's intention for his new building remains a mystery. What is certain is that the villa was never intended for occupation as it contained no kitchens and space for only three beds on the ground floor. It is possible that one purpose of the Villa was as an art gallery, as inventories show over one hundred and sixty-seven paintings hanging in situ at Chiswick House in Lord Burlington's lifetime, many purchased on his two Grand Tours of Europe. The Relationship between Villa and Gardens It can be established by Lord Burlington's use of certain motifs and decorative schemes that the Villa and its gardens were regarded as a single entity. For Burlington viewed the garden as another room to the Villa, or the Villa a singular part in a much greater whole. This is expressed most predominately in Lord Burlington's reflection of certain features employed both within the Villa and its gardens. For example, on the portico of the Villa Burlington includes a dado rail with mock picture frames located above. Here Lord Burlington reflects internal features in an outside space. This concept is reinforced with the use of 'thermal' and 'serlian' windows within the Villa to capture natural light, together with positioning the main staircase on the outside of the Villa. Within the interiors of the Villa William Kent painted a plan of the Temple of Fortuna Virilis;- the portico of which is reconstructed by Burlington on the Ionic Temple in the Orange Tree Garden. The apses utilised in the Gallery Rooms are likewise introduced into the garden as terminating features to the two lakes. At the Bowling Green Lord Burlington positioned eight sweet Chestnut trees around its perimeter, echoing the eight Tuscan columns located around the circumference of the Lower Tribune (here associated the primitive Tuscan order with trees, the first columns). It is through such designs that Lord Burlington attempted to break down the barriers between man-made architecture and the architecture of nature. This philosophy was not dissimilar to Andrea Palladio's approach to his Villas in Vicenza, many of which had a semi-agricultural purpose, often with the ground floor given over to commercial purposes such as stables for livestock, whilst the piano noble used for entertainment.

The Principal Rooms
Chiswick Villa is built of brick and its facade fronted with Portland stone with a small amount of stucco. The walls of the Villa, interrupted only by the porticos and Venetian windows, were deliberately austere, yet its interiors more refined and colourful. This followed both Palladio and Jones's recommendations that the façade of a building, like that of a gentlemen, should be businesslike and serious, yet inside, away from prying eyes, could be more relaxed, playful and informal. Chiswick Villa revolutionised English architecture in two specific ways. Firstly, Chiswick Villa was the first domestic building to have a centrally planned room which provided access to other rooms around its perimeter. The source for this feature was Andrea Palladio's centrally planned Villas, such as the Villa Capra and Villa Foscari. Secondly, Lord Burlington used different geometric shapes for his rooms, some with coved ceilings. Such a variety of differing spatial forms, many derived from Palladio's reconstructions of ancient Roman buildings (such as the Baths of Diocletian) had never previously been seen in English architecture. Many of the most important rooms within Chiswick Villa were situated on the piano nobile (Upper Floor) and comprise eight rooms and a link building. The rooms on this level were either of the Composite or Corinthian order of architecture to illustrate their important status. This is in contrast with the ground floor level of the Villa which was always intended to be plain and unadorned, with low ceilings, little carving or gilding. These rooms were for business purposes and here Lord Burlington followed Palladio’s recommendations of restricting the lowest order of Roman architecture, the Tuscan, on the ground floor. The three internal spiral staircases, based on Palladian precedent, were not intended to be accessed by Lord Burlington's guests and were used by the house servants only (the space for a fourth internal staircase was instead used as a 'Dumb Waiter'). The Upper Tribune (or Domed Hall) The Upper Tribunal looking towards the Gallery. Of note is the eight pointed Garter star/ Masonic Blazing star in the centre of the floor with a painting of King Charles I in the background The Upper Tribune is an octagonal room surmounted with a central dome with octagonal coffering derived from the Basilica of Maxentius (Temple of Constantine). The half-moon lunette windows are called 'Thermal' or 'Diocletian' windows and their use at Chiswick was the first in northern Europe. Running beneath the Diocletian windows in the frieze are several heads of lions, a feature also associated with the Diocletian bath houses, with Old St Paul's Cathedral under Inigo Jones and with the Temple of Jerusalem. In the original unexecuted decorative scheme for this room, illustrated by William Kent around 1727, in the spaces between the Diocletian windows were half-moon panels with painted (possibly fresco) scenes. The picture frames were smaller than those in place today and therefore did not have the problem of resting uncomfortably just above the stone pediments. Instead of busts on brackets, Kent includes small panels placed between the four doors. Kent also illustrated small cherubs who reclined on the triangular pediments, similar to those illustrated by Inigo Jones on the new west front of Old St. Paul's Cathedral. This room also contained four heavy gilded tables carved with Kent's characteristic baroque shells and accompanied with central carved lion masks (complimenting the lion heads in the frieze). For each table two mahogany chairs were placed either side. These chairs had pediment backs which matched the four stone triangular pediments in this room. Eight large paintings were placed in gilded frames above the stone pediments and busts, including three of the Stuart and French Royal family, one executed by Sir Godfrey Kneller of Lord Burlington and his sisters, and popular mythological scenes such as 'Daphne and Apollo' and 'The Judgment of Paris'. Twelve antique busts of Roman and Greek figures, such as Emperors, poets, politicians and generals were also positioned on gilded brackets. In the centre of the floor in this room is positioned an eight-pointed star, a potential reference to the star of the Order of the Garter which was introduced by King Charles I in 1629 and received by Lord Burlington from King George II in 1730. However, positioned immediately before the large portrait of King Charles I and his family it provides further circumstantial evidence that Lord Burlington may have received an earlier secret Garter from the Stuart Kings in exile (in this painting King Charles I can be seen wearing the blue sash of the Garter with a 'Lesser' George attached). This central room, which provides access to the Gallery, Green and Red Velvet Rooms, would originally have been used for poetry readings, theatrical performances, gambling and small musical recitals (for example the composer George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) may have performed in this room. Handel lived with the family at Burlington House for two years when he arrived in England in 1712). The Upper Tribune was entered from the outside staircase in imitation of the staircases on many of Palladio's Villas in Vicenza. The Gallery Andrea Palladio's reconstruction of the Temple of Venus and Roma (also known as the Temple of the Sun and Moon) View of the central Gallery showing the apse derived from the ancient Roman Temple of Venus and Roma The tripartite series of rooms overlooking the garden at the rear of the Villa are collectively known as the ‘Gallery Rooms’. The distinctive apses here are derived from the Temple of Venus and Roma (Temple of the Sun and Moon),- the same source that Inigo Jones utilised when he refaced the west front of old St. Paul’s Cathedral before its destruction in 1666. In the four niches were placed classical mythological statues of a Muse, Mercury, Apollo and Venus. This Gallery was designed as a statue Gallery and if in Italy this series of rooms would have been a loggia (a room open to the elements on one or more sides). The distinctive nine-panelled compartmentalised ceiling is a conflation to two ceilings derived from The Queen’s House at Greenwich and The Banqueting House at Whitehall, both designed by Inigo Jones and both Royal apartments. The central painting, by the Venetian artist Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734), is a close copy of Paolo Veronese's (c.1528-88) ‘The Defense of Scutari’ located in the Doge’s Palace, Venice. The side paintings, believed to be by William Kent, depict double cornucopias which form crusader tents accompanied by Turkish prisoners with arms and armour positioned in various postures of captivity. The military theme in these paintings may possibly be a reference to Lord Burlington's status as a Knight of the Order of the Garter or his position as head of the 'Gentlemen Pensioners' (symbolic bodyguards to the King). Alternatively these paintings may be of a Masonic motivation as in the eighteenth century it was believed that the Crusader Military orders, such as The Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon ( Knights Templar) and the Knights of St John (Hospitallers), were in some way inexplicably linked. These higher 'Chivalric and Historic' orders met in 'encampments' rather than lodges and were predominately Christian in their outlook and composition. This room also contains two splendid purple Egyptian porphyry urns purchased by Burlington on his first Grand Tour in 1714. These are accompanied by two heavy tables designed by Kent with their distinctive shells and featuring a mask of Neptune, accompanied by two water cherubs wearing pearls. The two handsome marble tops were inlaid with twenty two different types of marble and formed into geometric shapes with Greek Key (meander) borders. These were also joined by two torchers (flame holders) in the form of ‘Terms’. Either end of the Gallery are rooms that are circular and octagonal in shape. Together with the central rectangular Gallery, this series of geometric forms derive from Andrea Palladio’s reconstructions of the Diocletian Bathhouses, which designs Lord Burlington owned. The female faces in the decorations of the two end rooms tell the story as told by Vitruvius of the origins of the Corinthian order. The double sunflowers mark Lord and Lady Burlington’s status as courtiers in the service of the King and Queen (but Hanoverian or Jacobite?). The Pillared Drawing Room Ceiling in the Upper Link, based on a ceiling in a building in the ancient Roman funerary city of Pozzuoli. The vault form and its size suggest that the original ceiling may have sealed a mausoleum Today known as the Upper Link, this room was built c.1730 to attach the new Villa to the old Jacobean House. The room is divided into three sections by the inclusion of unfluted Corinthian pillars which support an elaborate Corinthian entablature and ceiling. Above the entablature are open screens. These features are associated with the Baths of Diocletian and Caracalla, with Andrea Palladio’s reconstructions again the source. The ceiling is a copy of a sixteenth century design depicting a decorative relief from a Roman sarcophagus from a room that may have sealed a mausoleum in the Roman funerary city of Pozzuoli. Outside this room is a central avenue flanked by funerary urns. This was Lord Burlington’s attempt to symbolise the Appian Way which led to ancient Rome. It was by this road that the Emperor Augustus chose to enter Rome after the assassination of Julius Caesar on 15 March 44 B.C. The Green Velvet Room One of four 'Green Men' in the fireplaces in the Green Velvet Room at Chiswick Villa The Green Velvet Room is 15 feet by 20 feet by 25 feet in size and has no painted ceilings. The nine panelled compartmentalised ceiling is derived from Inigo Jones’s design for the Queen’s Chapel at Old Somerset House (formally Denmark House, now demolished). Four depictions of The Green Man, pagan god of the oak and symbol of rebirth and resurrection, can be viewed carved into the marble fireplaces. The stone picture frames above the fireplaces are a conflation of two designs by Inigo Jones and contain mythological paintings by Jean Baptiste Monnoyer (1636–99) and the Venetian painter Sebastiano Ricci who also carried out commissions at Burlington House in Piccadilly. This room later become an extension to Lady Burlington's Bedchamber and closet, situated next door. Today this rooms contains six paintings of the gardens by the Flemish artist Pieter Andreas Rysbrack. These paintings are particularly valuable as they trace the development of the gardens from its formal to naturalistic appearance under Burlington, Kent and Pope. This room also features a painting by George Lambert with figures attributed to William Hogarth. This is regarded by art historians as the first painting to depict the English Landscape Garden. Lady Burlington’s Bedchamber and Closet Ceiling in the Bedchamber Closet and Red Closet Room at Chiswick House. This ceiling is derived from a ceiling by Inigo Jones at The Queen's House, Greenwich Lady Burlington died in this bedchamber in 1758, followed by the Whig leader Charles James Fox in 1806. The purpose of this room in Lord Burlington’s lifetime is unknown, but it appears Lady Burlington moved into this room some time after the death of her last daughter in 1754. Today several portraits of the Savile family can be viewed in this room and in the Bedchamber closet. One painting of note is of the poet Alexander Pope, painted by his good friend William Kent. The bedchamber closet is a perfect cube and has a ceiling design derived from the Queen’s House, Greenwich. Prince of Wales swags and feathers can be seen in both rooms, possibly denoting the Villa as a Royal Palace. The Red Velvet Room The Red Velvet Room once contained the largest and most expensive paintings in Lord Burlington’s collection, including paintings by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), Giacomo Cavedone (1577–1660), Peter Paul Rubens (1573–1640), Rembrandt van Ryn (1606–69), Salvador Rosa (1615–1673), Pier Francesco Mola (1612–1666), Jacopo Ligozzi (c.1547-1632), Jean Lemaire (1598–1659), Francisque Millet (1642–79) and Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). The Venetian window in this room is derived from the Queen’s Chapel at St James’s Palace and was much imitated. The fireplaces and surrounds again come from sources by Inigo Jones, in this case from the Queen’s House, Greenwich. These marble fireplaces have the inclusion of roses, Scottish thistles, grapes, sunflowers and fleur-de-lys which have been interpreted as Jacobite symbols. The ceiling design is derived from the Queen’s Chapel, Old Somerset House (previously known as Denmark House after the wife of King James I). Detail in the Red Velvet Room ceiling of a ground floor plan of the Temple of Fortuna Virilis after Andrea Palladio The central ceiling painting by William Kent represents Lord Burlington’s patronage of the arts. The main character is the Roman god Mercury, the great patron of the arts and god of commerce, who is dispensing money into the arts depicted at the bottom of the panel. Burlington's wealth is represented by a putto who holds a cornucopia. The arts are represented by a self-portrait of William Kent (art), a supine bust of Inigo Jones (sculpture) and a putto with a temple plan of the Temple of Fortuna Virilis (architecture) after Palladio. Detail from the Red Velvet Room ceiling of a self-portrait of William Kent. This illustrates Lord Burlington's patronage of artists. An additional interpretation of this ceiling and its iconography relates to Freemasonry and its legendary history, and that this space could have functioned as a Masonic Lodge. Positioned around the central painting are six roundels containing personifications of six of the then known planets of the Moon, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with their associated zodiac signs. The seventh planet, Mercury, is personified in the central painting and is accompanied by a section of the northern zodiacal wheel containing the zodiacs for the planet Mercury and the constellations Gemini and Virgo. As such this ceiling painting is an important depiction of the universe as viewed through early Georgian eyes. (The Freemasons equated the seven known planets with the several liberal arts of which the fifth, Geometry, was considered the most important). At the centre of the painting is positioned the eight pointed star of the Order of the Garter which Lord Burlington received from King George II in 1730. This star also represents the Sun at the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, a day which the Freemasons associate with their Patron Saint, the 'messenger' (like Mercury) St John the Baptist. Thistles, Scottish thistles and Fleur-de-lys- Jacobite symbols in the marble fireplaces? A third, and potentially the most controversial explanation of the iconographical program of the central ceiling painting can be read in terms of Lord Burlington's suspected Jacobite loyalties. In this regard the meaning of the painting can be interpreted as the 'Crucifixion' and 'Resurrection' of King Charles I, the great Stuart martyr whose murder was promoted in Jacobite rhetoric as paralleled to the Passion of Jesus Christ (King Charles II returned from exile in 1660). If this reading is correct, the three ladies at the bottom of the central panel represent the three Maries who biblically were present at Christ's Crucifixion. Here the bare-breasted lady in blue with child is the Virgin Mary; the lady dressed in blue and red with reddish hair bound up in the style of a courtesan and on her knees as if at the base of the cross, Mary Magdalene. The third lady, holding a roundel containing the image of William Kent, is the remaining Mary. King Charles I is represented by Mercury, as the Stuarts associated themselves with this Roman god of eloquence (as depicted on the Banqueting House ceiling) and ruled as 'Mercurian' Monarchs. Lord Burlington would also have been aware of the Stuarts identification with Mercury through the theatre and masque set designs for the Stuart Court which were designed by Inigo Jones, the majority of which Lord Burlington owned. The Blue Velvet Room and Closet The ceiling of the Blue Velvet Room depicting 'Architecture' with dividers and aided by three putti clutching architectural implements Snakes and rats, symbols sacred to Venus and Apollo, in the 'grotesque' style painting in the Blue Velvet Room Ceiling The Blue Velvet Room is a perfect cube measuring 15 feet square to the egg-and-dart lip. This room was Lord Burlington’s studiola or ‘Drawing Room’ and originally contained a large table by William Kent which contained many designs by architects such as Andrea Palladio, Inigo Jones, John Webb and Vincenzo Scamozzi, which were ready for inspection. The ceiling is supported by eight large cyma reversa brackets, all in the Italian manner. The ceiling was painted by William Kent and shows a personification of ‘Architecture’ accompanied by three putti who grasp architectural implements in the form of T-Square, Set-Square and plumb line. ‘Architecture’ herself holds dividers and an unknown Temple plan (possible derived from the Jesuit architect Juan Bautista Villalpando who produced a classical reconstruction of the sanctum sanctorum at the heart of Solomon's Temple). All four characters are seated on a fallen, hollow, metal column and are surrounded by a canopy of stars. This ceiling represents Lord Burlington’s interest in architecture. Alternatively the ceiling and its surrounding decoration (including the presence of rats and snakes) can been interpreted as having a Masonic motivation, as dividers, Set-Squares, T-Squares and plumb lines were important Masonic tools of morality. The putto to the left of ‘Architecture’ holds his finger to his lips suggesting silence or secrecy- a gesture mimicking the Egyptian child god of silence, Harpocrates.

Rooms on the Ground Floor
Palladio's reconstruction of the Baptistry of Constantine. This was the building on which the Lower Tribune with its ring of eight Tuscan columns was based The Lower Tribune The Lower Tribune was essentially a waiting room (an ‘inner court’ or ‘vestibule’) for associates wishing to meet with Lord Burlington. The room is an octagon with eight Tuscan columns positioned around its perimeter. The architect Andrea Palladio made it clear that the Tuscan order of architecture, being the simplest of the five Roman orders, should only ever be used on the ground floor of a building as they were suitable for prisons, fortifications and amphitheatres. The eight pillars placed in a circular formation within on octagon are derived from the Baptistery of Constantine, (also known as the Baptistery of St John Lateran), a building reconstructed by Palladio in his I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura in 1570. The Library Echoing the Gallery Rooms located above; the Library is a tripartite arrangement of rooms composed of an octagon, rectangle and circular spatial forms. Today devoid of books (they are all at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, or in the Royal Institute of British Architects, now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum), in the 1740s these rooms were lined with books on all aspects of the arts including sections on architecture, antiques, sculpture, history, poetry, geography, fortification, science, divinity, philosophy and exploration. Books were in English, French, Italian and Latin. Lord Burlington owned three copies of the original 1570 publication of Andrea Palladio’s I Quattro Libri dell’ Architettura which were also housed here. Many of these books were placed in specially commissioned cabinets which were designed by William Kent. Twelve steps leading from the octagonal section of the Library descend to an early English brick vaulted octagonal cellar, from which could be operated a ‘dumb waiter’ where wine and beer could be hoisted quickly to thirsty guests on the piano nobile. The Lower Link The Lower Link building with a lead sphinx originally positioned in the garden The Lower Link Building (lower Pillared Drawing Room) was built around 1730 to link the Old Jacobean House to the new Villa. This room contained no fireplaces and its doors were open to the elements making this room very cold in the winter. In the four niches classical statues may have been positioned or flowers arranged in the summer. As according to Palladio's recommendations Burlington used two screens of Tuscan columns in this room with the arrangement replicating the tripartite arrangement of Roman Bath Houses. Today a lead Sphinx is positioned in this room, together with one of the famous Arundel Marbles which originally was inset into the base of an obelisk within the gardens. The Summer Parlour The Summer Parlour was the most important room on the ground floor of the Villa. Possible the oldest part of the complex, it was designed around 1715 by either Lord Burlington or James Gibbs (who also designed the ‘Pagan Temple’ in the gardens. James Gibbs was sacked by Lord Burlington on advice of Colen Campbell, who subsequently took over his architectural projects at Chiswick and Burlington House). This is the only room on this level to have elevated and painted ceilings. Originally designed as a Summer Room for Lady Burlington, in terms of expense the contents of this private room doubled that of any other interior. The ceilings were executed by William Kent in the ‘Grotesque’ style- a mode of painting found predominately in subterranean Rome and popularised by the artist Raphael. The 'Grotesque Style', rare in Britain until reintroduced by William Kent at Kensington Palace, consisted of foliage forms interwoven with mythical creatures, such as cherubs or sphinxes. In the ceiling of the Summer Parlour, Kent also added small owls, a motif that incorporated the owl of the Savile heraldic device. Kent also designed two tables with matching mirror frames which also contained the owl device (the owl was also associated with the owl-faced Roman goddess Minerva (Aphrodite), like Lady Burlington a great patroness of the arts). The original elbow chairs in this room were made by Stephen Langley and were unusual in their use if Greek Key interspersed with flowers. Today these large pieces of furniture are situated in the Green Velvet Room. At the rear of the Summer Parlour was a small china closet for Lady Burlington’s most valuable objects. It was in the Summer Parlour that Lady Burlington was taught to paint by William Kent. Two putti painting a bust in the ceiling of the Summer Parlour. One putto raises his finger to his lips in a Masonic gesture of silence and secrecy whilst the bust has a close resemblance to the Polish Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska The central ceiling panel shows a sunflower painted at the centre with four scenes of ports headed by shells of the water goddess Venus. The panel nearest the fireplace (in Burlington’s time the doorway) depicts two putti, one of whom paints a female bust and the second who holds his finger to his lips illustrating the need for silence. The historian Jane Clark has suggested that the female bust painted by one of the putti bears an uncanny resemblance to the Stuart Queen and Polish Princess (wife of James III) Maria Clementina Sobieska. If this identification is accurate, the two putti with reddish hair who accompany her may possibly be representations of the two Stuart Princes living in exile, Charles ( Bonnie Prince Charlie- the 'Young Pretender') and Henry Stuart who were children at the time the painting was executed . In the ceiling painting furthest away from the door the two putti reappear, this time hugging what appears to be a poorly painted pug dog. The pug dog was a symbol adopted by the 'Society of the Mopses', a European pseudo-Masonic organisation of both male and female Freemasons. As a symbol of revolt, the pug dog became particularly important after the publication of Pope Clement XII’s Papal Bull In Eminenti in 1738 which condemned Catholic involvement in 'Craft' (the first three degrees) Freemasonry. As Clark explains, a symbolic initiation of female Freemasons involved the visiting of ports, a ritual with provides a possible link to the four scenes of ports arranged around the inner perimeter of the central ceiling painting. The ports are framed with shells, a reference to the Roman water goddess Venus and the Egyptian protector of ports and sailors, Isis. As such the sunflower at the centre would double as a Masonic Blazing Star, echoing the Garter/Blazing stars at the centre of the Red Velvet Room ceiling painting and in the centre of the floor in the Upper Tribunal.

Alternative Interpretations for the use of the Villa
1. As a large garden building or pavilion. 2. As a Masonic Temple One of three sphinxes positioned at the rear of Chiswick Villa symbolically protecting the 'Temple' from the uninitiated Chiswick House is believed by some scholars to have functioned as a Masonic Lodge or Temple, and English Heritage, which administers the site, offers a tour exploring the building's Masonic symbolism This theory has some merit as the ceiling paintings by William Kent in the Red, Blue, Gallery, and Summer Parlour Rooms in the Villa have all been shown to contain iconography of a strong Masonic, Hermetic, and possible Jacobite character. Masonic iconography has also been detected within the gardens. Freemasonry in England officially began with the joining of four lodges in London in 1717. However, it is known that Freemasons existed as far back as at least the mid seventeenth century and possibly earlier (in its original form the word 'Freemason' was used to described medieval craftsmen who worked predominately with 'Free Stone'). From the early 1720s Freemasonry was to expand at an increasing rate with many of the aristocracy becoming 'brothers' by 1750. For example, the poet Alexander Pope, the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661–1736), the Whig leader

Media

35 photos

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings removed 3 media and updated 27 media
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • updated 2 digital references
    about 5 years ago via Annotator