William Kent

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William Kent

Kent, William,

1685–1748, English landscape gardener, architect, and painter. A minor painter, Kent made ceiling decorations for Kensington Palace. He greatly influenced landscape gardening by changing the prevailing artificial style to one based more closely on nature, as in the gardens at Rousham. As an architect, he followed Neo-Palladian tenets and adhered to strictly symmetrical planning, especially in his masterpiece, Holkham Hall, Norfolk (begun 1734). In London he planned the treasury building (1734) and the Horse Guards building (erected after his death, 1750–58).


See study by M. Jourdain (1948).

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Kent, William

English architect and landscape designer, whose revolutionary informal gardens created a new relationship between a building and its natural setting.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kent, William


Born c. 1685 in Bridlington, Yorkshire; died Apr. 12, 1748, in London. English architect.

Kent lived in Rome from 1709 to 1719. He became a court master in London in 1735. In addition to being an architect, he was a painter, furniture-maker, and interior designer. Kent was a representative of classicism. This style is reflected in the estate house Holkham Hall in Norfolk (1734) and the Horse Guards building in London (1750–58). Kent was the principal creator of the new “English” parks that were informal and irregular in design; an example is the park at the Stowe estate in Buckinghamshire (1738). He was also one of the founders of the pseudo-Gothic style, which predominates at Esher Place, an estate in Surrey (c. 1730).


Jourdain, M. The Work of William Kent. London-New York; 1948.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.