This style is named for the four King Georges who ruled England during Boston’s years as a colony, though it is more truly neo-Palladian. An elegant symmetrical style with a large vocabulary of classical ornamentation, it was developed by Andrea Palladio in Italy in the 1500s and shaped European architecture for centuries. English architects including Sir Christopher Wren and James Gibbs popularized the approach in the 18th century, and British settlers in the English colonies generally followed this example.
Buildings of this period showcase simple massing of brick or clapboard, with classically-referenced, symmetrical details. Features often include a portico or central pavilion with pediment and pilasters, large pilasters at the corners, and dentils along the roofline. Doors are paneled with rows of glass panes beside or above. Windows have double-hung sashes of 6, 9, or 12 panes of glass, and often feature a central a fanlight or Palladian window above.
Prompted by nostalgia surrounding the 1876 U.S. centennial, some designers were drawn back to the simplicity and order of the Georgian style in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This “Georgian Revival” lasted up until WWII, and is visible in the extensive development of the Harvard campus during this period.
Image: Longfellow House, Cambridge, ©Yonward, 2017