Kenwood House Library

Kenwood House Library
Kenwood House Library

The palatial villa of Kenwood House in the park of Hampstead within the metropolitan city of London, is one of the most magnificent neoclassical buildings in the British capital. A villa that keeps numerous artistic treasures inside, including paintings by the great masters of the United Kingdom such as William Turner, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough or Anton Van Dyck. As well as works by artists from outside the islands, such as Rembrandt or Vermeer.


Kenwood House Library

However, architecturally the building also has great value, especially some of its rooms such as its Library, which is the result of the rehabilitation carried out in 1764 by the architect of Scottish origin Robert Adam.

Robert Adam (1728 -1792) shows us all his great influences here. And one of them, like so many other British builders, is the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, who with works like Villa Rotonda has an undoubted influence on several generations of Anglo-Saxon creators. And one of them is Robert Adam, but also Lord Burlington, who with buildings like Chiswick House is another model to consider in Kenwood House.

In short, Adam has Palladio and Burlington as references,but he is also a great scholar of Antiquity and Renaissance art, and all this is present in the forms chosen for this library.

Of course, we must bear in mind that when he planned this space it was like a pavilion annexed to a mansion that had already gone before. And besides, he had to do it following the needs and rules dictated by his manager, who above all asked him to create a comfortable interior, as well as being very elegant.

And without a doubt, the end result is one of high refinement, something that Adam was fully qualified for doing both purely architectural and interior decorating work. In this way, it generates a space with the most proportionate dimensions, but also with a series of effects and resources that convey the impression of a larger space, and above all of a most cultured and restrained atmosphere, just as was the taste aesthetic of the moment. A type of decoration that even came to be called the “English style”.

For that he resorted to numerous elements of the Antiquity. Hence the presence of niches housing classical statues, columns with Greco-Latin souvenir capitals, golden friezes or murals inspired by Pompeii paintings. And all of this wrapped in the warmth provided by the pastel tones of the walls and ceilings, the white plaster, the furniture, the bookshelf full of books and the rugs.

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