Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > An Exploration of Stylistic Synthesis in Elizabethan Country Houses

Among the numerous of country houses built with the hopes of entertaining Elizabeth, I will focus on four in this thesis: Burghley House, Longleat House, Wollaton Hall, and Hardwick Hall. These houses were chosen because of their unique embodiment of the fusion of Italian classicism, Flemish mannerism, and traditional English gothic that characterizes Elizabethan manor houses. These houses represent different geographic locations and patrons with varying social status and ambitions. They were all constructed between 1555 and 1597, and some had the honor of entertaining Elizabeth. Like other Elizabethan manor houses, these four case studies do not embody a single style that carries from one house to another. Each structure is aesthetically distinct, and incorporates gothic architecture, classicism, and mannerism in uncommon ways. I will focus on the history, patronage, and architecture of each house individually in the chapters to come. As part of my research, I visited each of these houses. As a result of my visits I was able to study the individual architectural details of the exterior of each house and capture a plethora of photographs. Most of the images used in this thesis are my own. These images help fill a void of available detailed photographs of these magnificent houses, which are often photographed as a whole. Images of the houses in their entirety are stunning, but difficult to analyze. Visiting the buildings allowed me to visually analyze the details of each house as they relate to the whole, and capture valuable images of the details. Detailed visual analysis while on the site of the house and later with the assistance of the photographic evidence I acquired was crucial to the study of these four houses.