The English city of Bath has one of the best repertoires of Georgian architecture to be seen anywhere in Great Britain. And without a doubt, this is largely due to the presence of two architects of great importance during much of the 18th century: John Wood the Elder (1704 – 1754 and his son,John Wood the Younger (1728 – 1782) In fact, both made their masterpieces here, The Circus and Royal Crescent We are going to present the first of these constructions in the following lines, and the second will star in the next post.
The Circus of Bath
John Wood the Elder has works scattered throughout England such as Bristol or Liverpool, but without a doubt where he worked the most was in Bath. A city for which an ambitious project was carried out that included buildings such as the San Juan Hospital, Queen Square, Prior Park, the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, the North and the South Parades, and of course The Circus.
All these buildings bring together many of the qualities of Georgian architecture, which had two great references. On the one hand, the works of Andrea Palladio, who with works such as Villa Rotonda became one of the great models of Anglo-Saxon architects of the 18th and 19th centuries, since his proposals were considered much more elegant than excessive ornateof the baroque That is, Palladio is the example that inspires neoclassical architecture in England.
And the second influence of the architecture of John Wood the Elder in Bath is the classical works, especially Roman. We must not forget that thebaths of Bathwere already used by that ancient Latin civilization, and archaeological remains were kept in the city, with which this architect wanted to relate his works.
In this way, The Circus project has the Roman Coliseum as a distant source of inspiration, since it is a large circular construction to house more than thirty identical houses. And as usual in Georgian architecture, the use of classical elements is used, mixing them, to configure imposing facades, because the facades become the most outstanding element of these constructions.
Therefore, in each of these three-story houses you can see elements such as friezes, balustrades and columns of different orders (composed of Roman art, and Doric and Corinthian art of the Greek).
This was the great work of John Wood the Elder, but unfortunately he did not see it done, since he died just 3 months after putting on the first work. However, it was his son who was in charge of finishing it (the works lasted until 1768) and he made it scrupulously following the plans of his father.