The English Renaissance and the Architecture of Christopher Wren

Ref: C3741398

As the architecture of the Renaissance in Italy flourished, and led down divergent pathways to the works of Palladio and the Baroque style, we will see how its influence was felt in England. This began as gentle incorporation into Elizabethan building, changing dramatically with the work of Inigo Jones, then going on to the extraordinary achievements of Christopher Wren, the "English Baroque" of Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor, and Palladianism in the age of the Grand Tour, as key figures like Lord Burlington became absorbed by architecture. We will examine how this influence from Italy was demonstrated, and how illustrated publication of works such as Palladio’s I Quattro Libri and Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus played an important part.

Course aim

To enable course members to investigate how Renaissance architecture came to England and influenced the work of architects including Christopher Wren.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • to explore and recognise influential features of Italian Renaissance architecture
  • to discuss key books on architecture of the period - those produced in Italy and those they inspired in England
  • to discuss how the buildings of Renaissance Italy inspired the work of English architects

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Presentations with images and colour notes provided for each session

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Useful background reading, but not essential for the appreciation of the course. Christoph Frommel, The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance, Thames and Hudson John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530 to 1830, Yale

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Arranging visits to study buildings covered by this course

Download full Course information sheet

The English Renaissance and the Architecture of Christopher Wren


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing