The Early Jacobean Period
( Originally Published Early 1900’s, edited for publication here. Original text taken from Old & Sold Antiques Auction & Marketplace. )
THERE was a very close affinity between the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods, and the two really form one continuous style in which the profusion and over-elaboration of the former period became modified during the first twenty years of the 17th century.
The general system of house planning was very similar to that in the previous reign, although an attempt to produce a more ordered arrangement of rooms was apparent. The true spirit of the Renaissance, however, was not yet properly understood, and the general misapplication of the decorative details continued. The classical orders were freely used, but were by no means understood, and the early part of the 17th century was really the last phase before the work came under the influence of individual designers, who, having studied and realised the true principles of classic design, were able to lift it from the vague and generally inconsistent character of the work of the second half of the 16th and early 17th centuries.
The elaborate staircases introduced during the Elizabethan period formed a feature of Jacobean mansions. That at Hatfield is a good example of its kind.
The heavy newels may be compared with the Elizabethan staircase at the Charterhouse.
Staircases in which the finials are surmounted by carved animals, some-what barbarous and of heavy proportions, and the double “S” scroll work, with the ends carved in the form of leafage, was a favourite motif of this and the later Elizabethan periods. The turned baluster is a favourite style of this era, and serve to illustrate the extraordinary inventive powers at work during the period.
Early Jacobean Staircases:
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