Front elevation of Blenheim Palace, as pictured in the Vitruvius Britannicus
Dedication page of the Vitruvius Britannicus, naming King George I as dedicatee
Ground plan of Vanbrugh's Castle Howard, as presented in the Vitruvius Britannicus
Idealized Vitruvian Church presented in the Vitruvius Britannicus
Inigo Jones' Banqueting House in Whitehall, as pictured in the Vitruvius Britannicus
List of subscribers to Vitruvius Britannicus, including royal & high ranking aristocrats
Introduction to the Vitruvius Britannicus, stating the compiler's opinions and aims
The Vitruvius Britannicus (British Vitruvius) was a product of the 18th century British Palladians, a group of architects and wealthy patrons. They believed that British architecture should return to the classical design principles of Andrea Palladio and Vitruvius and move away from the prevailing Baroque style.
These British Palladians considered Inigo Jones, the architect who introduced classical form to Britain a century earlier, the supreme example of the style they advocated. By invoking Vitruvius' name in this work, they sought to elevate Inigo Jones to near-official status, as the British equivalent of Vitruvius.
This sumptuous folio set began in 1715 as an effort to document many of the buildings built in the previous two centuries in Britain, but when architect Colen Campbell became its editor, it became in effect an anti-Baroque proclamation.
Great historic houses and public buildings of 18th century Britain were meticulously documented in this monumental publication using ground plans, exterior elevations, and perspective views.
Baroque palaces such as Blenheim and Castle Howard were included (in fact, the aristocrats who owned these palaces were subscribers to the publication), but by implicit comparison, they are used as examples of the undesirable excesses of Baroque architecture.