Come and learn about a Son of Great Bridlington - William Kent
On 12st September the UK will be holding a Heritage Day to celebrate the Heritage sites in and around the UK. As part of Heritage Day the Bridlington Old Town will be presenting an exhibition on William Kent.
William Kent was born in Bridlington in 1685 and coincidentally died in Burlington House in London aged 62 on 12th
April 1748. William Kent was an eminent English architect, landscape architect and furniture designer of the early 18th century.
William Kent introduced the Palladian style of architecture into England with the villa at Chiswick House. He also originated the 'natural' style of gardening known as the English landscape garden at Chiswick, Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, and Rousham House in Oxfordshire. William Kent was also a landscape gardener. He revolutionised the layout of estates, but had limited knowledge of horticulture.
He complemented his houses and gardens with stately furniture for major buildings including Hampton Court Palace, Chiswick House, Devonshire House and Rousham.
William Kent was born in Bridlington and lived his early life above the Bridlington Old Town Gallery and Information Point on High Street in the Bridlington Old Town, in East Yorkshire. He was baptised, on 1 January 1686, as William Cant.
William Kent's career began as a sign and coach painter. He was encouraged to study art, design and architecture by his employer. A group of Yorkshire gentlemen sent Kent for a period of study in Rome, he set sail on 22 July 1709 from Deal, Kent, arriving at Livorno on 15 October. By 18 November William Kent was in Florence staying there until April 1710, finally setting off for Rome.
In 1713 he was awarded the second medal in the second class for painting in the annual competition run by the Accademia di San Luca for his painting of A Miracle of S. Andrea Avellino. He also met several important figures including Thomas Coke, later 1st Earl of Leicester, with whom he toured Northern Italy in the summer of 1714 (a tour that led Kent to an appreciation of the architectural style of Andrea Palladio's palaces in Vicenza), and Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni in Rome, for whom he apparently painted some pictures, though no records survive.
During his stay in Rome, William Kent painted the ceiling of the church of San Giuliano dei Fiamminghi (Church of St. Julian of the Flemings) with the Apotheosis of St. Julian. The most significant meeting was between Kent and Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Kent left Rome for the last time in the autumn of 1719, he met Lord Burlington briefly at Genoa, Kent journeying onto Paris where Lord Burlington later joined him for the final journey back to England before the end of the year.
As a painter, William Kent displaced Sir James Thornhill in decorating the new state rooms at Kensington Palace, London; for Burlington, he helped to decorate Chiswick House, especially the painted ceilings, and Burlington House.
In addition to many other works which William Kent has been famed for, he also worked on the York Minster, laying a Black and White Marble flooring and also Westminster Hall, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace.
Didn't know that Bridlington had such a famous son? Come and see his exhibition at the Bridlington Old Town Gallery and Information Point on and around 12th September - Heritage Day.