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John Wilton-Ely

Neo-classical style of architectural and interior design; as Egyptomania or Egyptiennerie it reached its peak during the late 18th century and early 19th. Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt (1798) coincided with emerging tastes both for monumental and for richly ornamental forms, enhanced by the literary and associational concerns of Romanticism. Unlike its Greek and Gothic counterparts, the Egyptian Revival never constituted a coherent movement with ethical or social implications. Indeed, since its earliest manifestations occurred in the later Roman Empire, the Revival itself can be seen as one in a series of sporadic waves of European taste in art and design (often linked to archaeological inquiry), acting as an exotic foil to the Classical tradition with which this taste was and remains closely involved (see fig.). On a broader plane of inquiry, the study of Egyptian art and architecture has continued to promote a keen awareness of abstraction in design and a decorative vocabulary of great sophistication. These are among the most enduring contributions of ancient Egypt to Western art and design. ...

Article

Roger C. Fisher

(b Picquigny, nr Amiens, bapt Paris, Feb 29, 1750; d Cape Town, Nov 3, 1815).

French architect, teacher, engineer and surveyor, active in South Africa. He studied (1774–5) at the Académie Royale d’Architecture, Paris, under Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Richard Mique and Julien-David Le Roy. He then trained as an engineer officer, and in 1781, with the patronage of Colonel C. D. de Meuron, he studied military engineering. He was landed at the Cape of Good Hope in 1783, as a mercenary employed by the Dutch East India Company. Here he was privately commissioned to execute such projects as Papenboom (1786; destr.; see Lewcock, pls 43, 43A), a country house in Newlands, and Saasveldt (1791), a Cape Town residence demolished and rebuilt in 1966 as the Huguenot Memorial Museum at Franschhoek. From this period date the series of Cape Dutch houses conventionally attributed to Thibault and for which he is best known. These include the Groot Constantia reconstruction (1791–3), the Tokai Manor House (...