This essay posits three basic sources for the vocabulary of Vanbrugh's mixed style: namely, (1) the interior architecture and scene design of the contemporary theatre, with which Vanbrugh became familiar in his capacity as dramatist and manager of the Queen's Theatre at the Haymarket; (2) the medieval forms of the walled city of Chester in which he spent his youth; and (3) the donjon and courtyards of the Chateau of Vincennes, which Vanbrugh would have come to know during his imprisonment there in 1691. The first two operate as rather general sources of the "theatrical" and the "medieval" elements in Vanbrugh's buildings. In the case of the Chateau of Vincennes the influence is more specific: the arrangement of the Chateau's donjon and courtyards supplied a model for the typical design of Vanbrugh's large-scale buildings in which forward-thrusting wings are attached to a deeply recessed centerblock. David Cast's neo-Hobbesian suggestions for "seeing" Vanbrugh are invoked as a means of making aesthetic sense of Vanbrugh's use of his three sources.
- Copyright 1987 The Society of Architectural Historians