Within six decades of its founding in 1639, Newport had evolved from a thriving farm outpost to a wealthy merchant harbor. By 1720, Newport had entered its Golden Age when, as a center of English culture, it became one of the five most populous cities in the colonies and the principal rival in shipping to Dutch New Amsterdam (later New York). Mercantile wealth promoted cultural ambition, including the design of buildings inspired by English Georgian styles.1 The term Georgian refers to the reigns of the four British monarchs named George who ruled from 1714 to 1830. During this period, architecture followed the dictates of classical style handed on from earlier Renaissance and Baroque models. In Newport, Georgian architecture unfurls in three stages, each with a distinctive flavor. The first is late Baroque, featuring robust classical buildings with heavy sculptural decoration. A reaction against the floridness of the late Baroque fostered the more austere neoclassical style known as Palladianism. This term refers to the 18th-century European revival of the approach to ancient Roman architecture advocated by the earlier Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). After 1780, and extending into the first decades of the 19th century, the Federal style in America (named for the new federal government) followed the lead of a lighter and more delicate post-Revolutionary English Georgian style. Newport still has examples of these stages of architecture
Robinson, Jennifer L. and Yarnall, James L.
"Georgian, Sweet Georgian (Architecture),"
Newport History: Vol. 82
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/newporthistory/vol82/iss269/3