The Seaton Delaval Hall is one of sir John Vanbrugh most outstanding architectural master piece whose construction commenced in the year 1718 and was concluded in the year 1728.Currently the building is under the holding of the National trust and despite its majestic design it has had quite a lamentable past.One notable misfortune happened in 1862, when a mining tragedy claimed the lives of two hundred people just a mile from its vicinity (Bergdoll& Christensen, et al, 2008). Its checkered past has also seen the establishment been used as a camp for prisoners of war; a portion of it been gutted by a damaging inferno and most notably neither its designer nor its owner lived long enough to witness its completion (Zevi, 1994). The Seaton Delaval Halls architecture is commonly referred to as English Baroque a style that was popularized by Inigo Jones who lived between the years 1573-1652. This essay is going to look into thearchitectural, cultural and social context of the Seaton Delaval Hall in comparison to the Kings Weston House.
The Seaton Delaval is located in the district of Northumberland and is surrounded by extensive grounds that harbour various eye-catching views such as a topiary, several pools and a fountain. The encompassing land is based on a rural setting that is covered by lush green vegetation and a flat land scape that gives observersan unbroken view of the vast coastal plains (Benevolo, 2011). A gravel path cuts through the loan and stretches from the entrance gates to the Central Court, which is bordered on either side by identical wings.
Diagram Sourced from: The modern language of architecture. (Zevi, 1994).
The structure its self is made of stone and has a plethora of windows, this coupled with the fact that it is strategically situated in an exposed bit of land gave its owner an uninterrupted scenery all the way to the sea (Spiro Kostof, 1985).The entrance to the central block is characterised by a narrow door that leads to a vast open space. A balcony which is located in the first floor lingers directly above the entrance and it is from here where one can get a perfect view of the stucco statues which are affixed to the side of the hall. As is evident in the diagram below the roof to the central block is a modern one that was constructed as part of the rehabilitation process of the Seaton Delaval Hall.
Diagram sourced from:Sir John Soane and London. (Soane & Dean 2006).
Though the land flanking the Seaton Delaval is characterised by tranquil British Baroque in all its glory, the state rooms within the building are a stark contrast with most of them being churned shells of their former selves,evidence of a ravaging 1822 inferno. Another characteristic of the expansive ground is a gravel Mausoleum that was set up by Lord Delaval to commemorate the death of his 19-year-old son. Just like the state rooms however, the mausoleum also lays in ruin with the dome that formed its roof being nowhere to be found.
The Seaton Delaval was passed on over different generations though none ever set up more than an intermittent residenceover the Structure. Nonetheless, theDelaval, which was one ofSir John Vanbrugh works, is considered to be one of the purest form of English architecture and as such there are several campaign drives have been carried out to try to restore the building. The National trusts is in charge of these social drives whereby it usually raises money in the form of donations and in the near future it plans to make the Seaton Dleaval Hall and its grounds open for public viewing(Bergdoll& Christensen, et al, 2008).
Kings Weston House
The Kings Weston House most common similarity to the Seaton Delaval Hall is the fact that they were both designed by the same architect, Sir John Vanbrugh (Christian Norberg, 1975). Developing the structure for Edward Southwell, VanbrughsWork on the Kings Weston House Commenced in the year 1712 all the way through to the year 1719. The most distinctive feature about the Weston House is its chimneys which are assembled into an extensive arcade (SigfriedGiedion, 1941). This is quite different from the Seaton Delaval which though being a monumental historic work of art had no distinguishing feature. The chimneys are clearly visible at the top of the building in the diagram below.
Diagram sourced from:British chimney sweeps: five centuries of chimney sweeping (Culling Ford, 2010)
The two buildings also share another similarity in the sense that they were constructed in expansive pieces of land. In Particular, the Estate that contains the Weston House is quite vast and it comprised of several buildings most of which remain intact to date, although a portion of the buildings have been significantly modified while others have been totally obliterated (Anderson, 2007).Much of this estate can be accessed by the public unlike that of the Seaton Delaval which is restricted.In terms of size comparison, the Seaton Delaval is much biggerand this is mainly due to Edwards specific instructions that he did not want a structure of grand scale. Unlike the Seaton Delaval which had a central block flanked by an East and West wing the Kings Weston House is a single block unit.
In the social cultural context, a key similarity between these two works of art was that they were both passed from one generation to another. However, unlike the Seaton Delaval Hall which was mainly associated with a negative history, Edward Southwells King Weston House was used for social good. For instance, during the First World War the Weston House was used as a hospital and later as a school (Hart, 2011). Currently the house is used to cater for events such as wedding and conferences. Despite the few differences that may surface, these two buildings are remarkable works of art based on medievalarchitecture and which are adistinguishing factor of the English culture.
The Seaton Delaval and the Kings Weston House are one of sir John Vanbrughs most notable architectural designs. Both were designed using the English Baroque architecture, a style that was introduced to England by Inigo Jones. Though both these houses were passed down from one generation to another, the Delaval was associated with a negative history. A stark difference between the two structures is that the Weston House had chimneys as a distinguishing feature whereas the Delaval has no distinguishing feature. Nonetheless, they are both exotic works of English art and Architecture.
ANDERSON, C. (2007). Inigo Jones and the classical tradition. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
BERGDOLL, B., CHRISTENSEN, P., & BROADHURST, R. (2008). Home delivery: fabricating the modern dwelling. New York, Museum of Modern Art.
BENEVOLO, L. (2011). History of modern architecture. Cambridge, Mass, M.I.T. Press.
CULLINGFORD, B. (2010). British chimney sweeps: five centuries of chimney sweeping. Lewes, Book Guild. http://books.google.com/books?id=DcSZAAAAIAAJ.
HART, V. (2011). Inigo Jones: the column and the crown. New Haven, Yale University Press.
SOANE, J.& Dean P (2006). Sir John Soane and London. Aldershot, Hampshire [England], Lund Humphries.
ZEVI, B. (1994). The modern language of architecture. New York, Da Capo Press.
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