At first sight Tredegar House seems sui generis (Pl. 4). There is nothing else like it in Wales, nor does any obvious English parallel come to mind. The quadrangular plan with corner pavilions distinguishes it from the double-pile houses of the 1670s and 1680s, while the lavish external decoration is difficult to match in the relatively sober elevations characteristic of British domestic architecture of the same period. What we have, in fact, is a great country house of the 1670s designed with something of the love of architectural ornament that was typical of the ‘artisan mannerist’ houses of twenty years earlier. At Tredegar the ornamental vocabulary is not quite what is usually described as ‘artisan mannerist’, but we may nevertheless suspect the hand of an artisan rather than that of a gentleman architect such as Hooke, May or Pratt.
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