reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:17 pm

Interior of Mitchelstown Catholic Church before Demolition in the 1970s

The church was buit as part of the town planning scheme of Big George Kingston,the Earl of Kingston and may well have elements attributable to the Pain brothers who built Mitchelstown castle - also demolished.

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:27 pm

Mitchelstown Church before demolition in 1970s


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:32 pm

Mitchelstown Church after Demolition

And this is all that is left

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For a structure deemed to have been "unsound", the army was called in to dynamite it.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:38 pm

St. Patrick's Fermoy

An interior contemporary with Mitchelstown church which was done by the Pain brothers in the mid-1820s

The pulpit is an early work of Seamus Murphy - alas, destroyed.

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:45 pm

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:33 pm

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:53 pm

Iconoclasm and Vandalism

Two subjects not unfamiliar to Praxiteles and on which Praxiteles draws attention to two important theoretical works by the art historian Dario Gamboni (Prof. Art University of Geneva) which might (usefully) be slipped by Santa inside a purple stocking or or two over the Christmas period if he still hopes their content might fall on thinking ears:


Un iconoclasme moderne. Théorie et pratiques contemporaines du vandalisme artistique,
Zurich et Lausanne, Éditions d’En Bas, 1983


The Destruction of Art: Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution, London, Reaktion Books, 1997

The books help to understand why someone spreys the Mona Lisa, takes a hammer to the Pietà or a wreckers ball to the interior of Victorian church. "Gamboni uncovers here a disquieting phenomenon that still thrives today worldwide. As he demonstrates through analyses of incidents occurring in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and Europe, a complex relationship exists among the evolution of modern art, destruction of artworks, and the long history of iconoclasm. From the controversial removal of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc from New York City’s Federal Plaza to suffragette protests at London’s National Gallery, Gamboni probes the concept of artist’s rights, the power of political protest and how iconoclasm sheds light on society’s relationship to art and material culture."
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:10 pm

Iconoclasm and Vandalism

But, of course, Montalembert had already diagnosed the problem as early as 1838:

http://books.google.it/books?id=FisJAAA ... ce&f=false
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:57 pm

In theory

From Apollo Magazine

with wider applications:

http://www.apollo-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Euston-Arch-1938-1024x684.jpg

Arch Enemies
GAVIN STAMP

The demolition of the Doric propylaeum – just to be pedantically correct – which stood in front of the first Euston Station, the greatest monument of the railway age, was an unforgiveable conservation crime: unforgivable because unnecessary. The ‘Arch’ could have been re-erected further south on the Euston Road, as the old London Midland & Scottish Railway accepted when it was planning to rebuild the terminus back in 1938. For some years now a movement to rebuild the Euston Arch has been growing, encouraged by the fact that in 1994 Dan Cruickshank discovered many of the original stones, if rather battered and damaged, dumped in a canal off the River Lea.
On 30 October the Euston Arch Trust held a public meeting – ‘The Euston Arch: The Next Steps’ – to keep the proposal alive. ‘We’re going to rebuild this! Now is the time to firm up the plans.’ Urgency, if not optimism, about this possibility is created by all the controversy about HS2 because, if the High Speed line is built, it will start at Euston. English Heritage and Camden Council both like the idea of rebuilding (or recreating?) the Arch on the Euston Road. Drawings and photographs exist to make an accurate reconstruction and some of the original stones could be reused.
The real problem, inevitably, is money. The cost of rebuilding the Arch is peanuts compared with the cost of rebuilding the whole station (let alone the cost of HS2), but already the Prime Minister is calling for economies in the scheme and the present proposals for a new station look depressingly utilitarian. All the more reason, perhaps, to give it some dignity by plonking a monumental Doric entrance gateway in front.

http://www.apollo-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Dan-Cruickshank-with-salvaged-stone-credit-Euston-Arch-Trust-300x219.jpg
Dan Cruickshank with salvaged stone
Dan Cruickshank with salvaged stone &credit; Euston Arch Trust
At the meeting, Dan Cruickshank discussed the history of the Arch and showed pictures of himself half submerged in the River Lea as fragments of Bramley Fall stone were hoisted out of the water. But perhaps more pertinent was the contribution from Philip Davies, who challenged the prejudice that it is somehow morally wrong to recreate buildings of the past. The same opposition, or prejudice, has emerged over the recent, extraordinary proposal to rebuild the Crystal Palace on the top of Sydenham Hill.
This prejudice comes from the modernist belief that we must only build in the ‘style of our day and age’. To do otherwise is an offence against the zeitgeist. It is a prejudice which ignores the fact that we no longer have a universally accepted architectural style – we live in an age of pluralism – and, besides, many ‘modern’ buildings today are really neo-modern as they revive and recycle forms and motifs from the past, from the 1920s.
Davies argued that it is perfectly acceptable to recreate buildings from the past when there are ‘valid cultural reasons’ for doing so – such as when significant monuments are destroyed in war. That is why the Cloth Hall at Ypres was rebuilt after it had been reduced to a pile of rubble during the First World War, why the historic centre of Warsaw was recreated after being wiped out during the Second World War. More recently, the destroyed Frauenkirche in Dresden has been painstakingly and lovingly rebuilt as a most beautiful symbol of peace and reconciliation, and the famous bridge at Mostar, broken during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, has been rebuilt.

http://www.apollo-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Rebuilt-Arch-by-night-credit-Joe-Robson-AVR-London-300x237.jpg
Rebuilt Arch by Night
Rebuilt Arch by Night © Joe Robson, AVR London
Surely this is right. There are also precedents for rebuilding monuments on different sites, for, in London, neither the Marble Arch nor the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner now stand where they were originally erected.
There can be no convincing moral argument against rebuilding one of the great British monuments of both the Greek revival and the railway age, and thus atoning for a great crime. The result would look magnificent, enhance Euston Station and be a tangible link with Britain’s heroic railway history. Such opportunities do not come very often: this one should be seized. Rebuild the Euston Arch!
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:17 am

From The Spectator

Gavin Stamp

The Briton whose achievement equals that of the Pharaohs'
Fabian Ware overcame every difficulty to create a colossal memorial, as David Crane recounts in Empires of the Dead


Empires of the Dead: How One Man’s Vision led to the Creation of WWI’s War Graves David Crane
Collins, pp.304, £16.99, ISBN: 9780007456659

We constantly need to be reminded that the consequence of war is death. In the case of the first world war it led to death and destruction on an inconceivably vast scale. To convey the enormity of what the industrialised slaughter that supposedly civilised governments unleashed between 1914 and 1918, film-makers like to pan the camera over a vast sea of white crosses. But if they do, that cemetery will probably be French or American. It will certainly not be British. The only cross in a cemetery maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will be a free-standing one with a bronze sword attached, a rather ‘Onwards Christian Soldiers’ symbol designed by Reginald Blomfield.

The graves themselves are marked by standard identical headstones, whether the body beneath (if identified) is that of an officer or private soldier, whether Anglican or Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu.

That the misused and squandered casualties of what certainly was a world war received such a dignified treatment in death was unprecedented (there are no cemeteries filled with the thousands who died at Waterloo) and, in the British empire, was largely the creation of one extraordinary man, Sir Fabian Ware. Appalled by the indifference of the military to what happened to soldiers after they were killed, Ware established the Graves Registration Unit within the Red Cross. In 1917 the Imperial War Graves Commission was founded which created the calm, elegant cemeteries which, as David Crane writes in this superb study, ‘along with the trenches — their mirror image and polar antithesis — are how most of us now see the first world war’.

What is not generally appreciated is how many cemeteries there are: almost 1,000 along the line of the Western Front in Belgium and France, some very small, all carefully landscaped and planted. And they are elsewhere: in the mountains of North Italy, in Macedonia and Greece, Palestine and, of course, at Gallipoli. Nor were the ‘missing’ forgotten — the half-million men whose bodies were never found or identified. Ware’s desire to honour every individual casualty held, for their names were carved on a series of Memorials to the Missing. And these are deeply impressive — and impressively non-triumphalist — structures, mostly classical in style, for the IWGC employed distinguished architects — Blomfield, Sir Herbert Baker, Charles Holden, Sir Robert Lorimer, Sir John Burnet — and one genius who was instinctively in tune with Ware’s vision, Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was a colossal achievent. Rudyard Kipling (the Commission’s literary advisor) called it ‘The biggest single bit of work since any of the pharaohs — and they only worked in their own country.’

The story of the foundation and achievements of the War Graves Commission has been told before, but never so well or so perceptively. Crane brings out the complexities of Ware’s character, which owed much to his Plymouth Brethren background. Before the war, he had been the editor of the right-wing, imperialist Morning Post, and I had not fully grasped before how much Ware’s vision, almost his religion, was imperial, something encouraged by his time in South Africa as part of Milner’s kindergarten, where he absorbed ideas about Britain’s global destiny and ‘race patriotism’.

Crane also brings out Ware’s brilliance as a diplomat, and his steely resolve, in successfully overcoming opposition to applying that vision to the treatment of the dead. For opposition there was: those, with the means to do it, who wanted to bring bodies home for private burial; those who wanted to raise their own headstones and monuments and those, in positions of authority — bishops, headmasters and the like — who wanted overt Christian symbolism in the British cemeteries. But Ware, like Lutyens, fully appreciated that men of all faiths (or none) had been flung into the conflict, and that all deserved equal honour.

The eirenic wisdom of Ware’s policy may be appreciated by visiting a French, German or American war cemetery, where lines of crosses are painfully interrupted by a Star of David or an Islamic arch-shaped stone. But Crane also brings out the paradoxes in Ware’s achievement: that his concern with individual casualties and democratic, non-sectarian equality of treatment required the assistance of the state that had been so cavalier with their lives; that ‘while the Commission served two masters, its first allegiance… was always to the Empire and not to the bereaved relative.’

It is also painful to read how Ware’s (and others’) sincere belief that the war cemeteries were an irresistible argument for peace made him a prominent appeaser in the 1930s: ‘If the history of war graves teaches one lesson it is that while the “tongues of the dead” might say what they must, the living will hear what they want.’

David Crane writes that

The man who made it possible for a country to come to terms with the unbearable debt it owed its dead is scarcely better known now than those whose graves only bear the inscription ‘Known unto God’.
This is not quite true. Stephen Wyatt’s radio play about Fabian Ware: Memorials to the Missing was broadcast by the BBC in 2007 and won awards. And next year an English Heritage blue plaque will be unveiled on his London home.

Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £13.99. Tel: 08430 600033. Gavin Stamp has recently published Lost Victorian Britain and Anti-Ugly: Excursions in English Architecture and Design.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:41 pm

Something for the Christmas Stockings

The Anti-Ugly by Gavin Stamp due out 1 December 2013.

It can be viewed here:

http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Ugly-Excursi ... 1781311234
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:27 am

St. Kevin's, Harrington Street, Dublin

Restoration of Stencil Paintings

After nearly two years of work the restoration of the stencil work in the sanctuary of St. Kevin's, Harrington Street has been completed. The results are spectacular.

The Sanctuary before restoration:

Image

The Sanctuary after restoration:

Image
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:24 pm

St. Kevin's, Harrington Street, Dublin

Sanctuary and Stencil Restoration

Some contract details:

Architects: Bluett O'Donoghue (Kilkenny & Dublin); lead conservation architect Michael O'Boyle.


Contractor: Summit Conservation


Stained Glass: Evan Connon


Art consultant: Mary McGrath


Painter: Don Knox
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:48 pm

The men who demolished Victorian Britain

Gavin Stamp's Anti-Ugly and Lost Victorian Britain are a glorious lament for our lost architectural heritage - and a celebration of what remains

Harry Mount 23 November 2013

Image

The London terminus of the North Western Railyway in the 1860s, showing a busy scene in front of the Euston Arch, which was demolished a century later

Anti-Ugly: Excursions in English Architecture and Design Gavin Stamp
Aurum, pp.260, £16.99, ISBN: 9781781311233

Lost Victorian Britain: How the 20th Century Destroyed the 19th Century’s Architectural Masterpieces Gavin Stamp
Aurum, pp.192, £12.99, ISBN: 9781781310182

Anyone with a passing interest in old British buildings must get angry at the horrors inflicted on our town centres over the last half-century or so. Gavin Stamp is wonderfully, amusingly, movingly angry. And he has been ever since the early 1960s when, as a boy at Dulwich College, he saw workmen hack off the stiff-leaf column capitals in the school cloisters.

He reserves particular rage for that ‘cynical, philistine Whig’ Harold Macmillan for murdering the Euston Arch. Not that Stamp’s a ranting fogey, reserving his anger only for the demolition of Victorian buildings. A former chairman of the Twentieth Century Society, he is deeply upset by the demolition of the 1936 Guinness Brewery in Park Royal, west London — a restrained exercise in industrial jazz modern by
Giles Gilbert Scott, the man who designed Battersea Power Station and the phone box.

Even when you disagree with Stamp’s views, they are always well-expressed and peppered with intriguing facts— as when he tells you that the vast walls of the Guinness Brewery were built out of millions of special 23/8 inch Wellington facing bricks, separated by 5/8 inches of carefully tinted mortar. And how gripping to know that Pugin died on the same night, in the same county — Kent — as the Duke of Wellington, meaning that the great architect’s death was largely eclipsed.

Stamp regularly surprises, too. You might have thought he’d be a fan of Anti-Ugly Action — the 1958 activists’ group that campaigned outside two new buildings they hated: Caltex House in the Old Brompton Road and Agriculture House in Knightsbridge. But he doesn’t share their views, and he positively hates the idea, proposed in 2005 by the then President of Riba, that there should be an X-list of buildings worthy of demolition.

The Anti-Ugly Action group lend their name to the first of these two books by Stamp. It’s a misleading title for this collection of engaging articles for Apollo magazine; it suggests a series of Prince Charles-style attacks on new buildings. Stamp’s range is much wider and less predictable than that. In fact he attacks ‘the Xerox-Palladian Prince of Wales school of classicism’ and, in particular, the Prince’s tendency to regard anything with a flat roof as bad, anything with columns as indisputably good.

Palladianism — which I’d always thought of as a reliable, inoffensive option — is ‘that perennial curse of English architecture’.And Stamp also thinks undue reverence is given to the architecture of country houses, thanks to English snobbery. He even comes round to Nikolaus Pevsner’s view that all architects should work with the Zeitgeist if they want true originality and architectural success. In another surprising revelation, he credits Pevsner, and the Victorian Society, of which Pevsner was chairman, for doing more to save St Pancras than John
Betjeman.

It’s not all anger. Stamp is prepared to admit that, sometimes, as with the 1854 Carlton Club on Pall Mall, a fine Victorian building can be replaced by a really good 20th-century one. He writes with deep admiration, too, of the funniest of all architectural artists, Osbert Lancaster, and his creation of more architectural vocabulary than any writer before or since: from Stockbroker Tudor and Aldwych Farcical to By-Pass Variegated.

The second book is the paperback of Stamp’s heart-rending 2010 compendium of lost Victorian buildings. It is largely a gazetteer of those sad losses, with a long introduction that comprehensively demolishes the old anti-Victorian prejudice, best caught by P.G. Wodehouse in Summer Moonshine (1938):

Whatever may be said in favour of the Victorians, it is pretty generally admitted that few of them were to be trusted within reach of a trowel and a pile of bricks.

Sombre pictures of the lost buildings in their prime prove quite how deft the Victorians were with the trowel. How they make one long for a time machine to return to the pre-wrecking days.

Anti-Ugly: Excursions in English Architecture and Design is available from the Spectator Bookshop, £13.59, Tel: 08430 600033

Lost Victorian Britain: How the 20th Century Destroyed the 19th
Century’s Architectural Masterpieces is available from the Spectator Bookshop, £10.99, Tel: 08430 600033

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 23 November 2013
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:32 pm

Harrington St. looks fantastic....
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:46 pm

Yes, Harrington Street does look fantastic. The restored sanctuary is now a single whole with all of the elements (altar, floor, rails, statuary, glass) being integrated by the stencil scheme.

It looks even better in real life.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:12 pm

The Honan Chapel, UCC, Cork

An interesting liturgical development at the Honan Chapel:

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:28 pm

A. W. N. Pugin


A History of St. Mary's Church, Derby

http://www.stmarysparish.co.uk/history.html
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:34 pm

From Britain Express:

AW Pugin biography

BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
Houses of Parliament, LondonAugustus Welby Pugin has been called the foremost British architect of the 19th century. Pugin was born on March 1, 1812, in Bloomsbury, London. His father Auguste, was a member of the French aristocracy who had thought it prudent to flee France during the Revolution.

From his father, Augustus learned a profound love of medieval Gothic architecture. The elder Pugin often took his son on tours abroad, during which time he studied architectural style and design. Although Pugin was enrolled at Christ's Hospital School in London, it is doubtful whether he ever received a formal education.

The elder Pugin worked as an artist and draughtsman, eventually becoming the chief draughtsman for prominent architect John Nash. Augustus helped his father create a series of wonderfully detailed and exact drawings providing details of medieval Gothic architecture and decoration. These drawings, in such volumes as Specimens of Gothic Architecture (1821-3), and Examples of Gothic Architecture (1828-31), helped a generation of architects emulate Gothic style, and helped spawn the movement in architecture and design that we now call Victorian Gothic.

So influential were the Pugin drawings (and so well-connected his patrons), that at the tender age of 19 he was employed to design furniture for Windsor Castle. Soon he started his own business, carving architectural decoration in Gothic style.

At the same time, Pugin married Anne Garnet. However, she died in childbirth in 1832, leaving Pugin with a daughter. Just a year later Pugin married again, this time to Louisa Burton, with whom he had another five children. Louisa died in 1844 and Pugin married for a third time, to Jane Knill, with whom he had two more children.

In the meantime Pugin converted to Roman Catholicism, a conversion which left him filled with a fervent desire to express his faith through architecture. He came to regard the period of 1280-1340 (the "Second Pointed Period" as it was called in the Victorian age), as the apex of human history, when people expressed their faith through the creative arts.

He abhorred the work of James Wyatt and his early 19th century contemporaries, who merely copied the form of Gothic style, but used inferior materials or supported their work with iron. In support of his arguments in favour of authentic Gothic, Pugin produced his master work, Contrasts, A Parallel between the Noble Edifices of the 14th and 15th centuries and Similar buildings of the Present Day. Showing a Decay of Taste (1836).

Pugin followed Contrasts with other books, developing his arguments in favour of Gothic purity. The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841), and The Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament (1844), were among the most widely read.

The success of Contrasts and his subsequent works brought Pugin a number of architectural commissions, notably at Southwark Cathedral. Other churches where Pugin had a hand in design - or redesign - include St. Chad's (The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Birmingham), St. Marie, Derby, and St. Oswald, Liverpool.

Pugin was involved in more than ecclesiastical architecture. He worked on the interior of Chirk Castle, at Bilton Grange, Warwickshire, and at Scarisbrook Hall, Lancashire. He designed ornamental and decorative architectural details as diverse as wallpaper, tiles, furniture, stained glass, and gargoyles.

One building stands above all others as a testament to Pugin's influence, however. The Palace of Westminster (i.e. The Houses of Parliament) in London, was built under the direction of Sir Charles Barry, but Pugin was responsible for the every aspect of the interiors, as well as for creating working drawings of all the exterior details.

In 1844 Pugin built a home for himself in Ramsgate, Kent, overlooking the sea. From the library of this rather severe house, called The Grange, Pugin did most of his work.

Architecture did not take up his entire attention at The Grange; from the tower of the house Pugin would watch for ships aground off the Goodwin Sands. He would put out in his wrecker, The Caroline, to rescue the ships and cargo. The salvage money he gained from these rescues brought him a tidy supplement to his income from architecture.

In 1851 Pugin was hard at work on the Medieval Court for the Great Exhibition (the Crystal Palace), but a lifetime of ceaseless work took its toll. Pugin suffered a breakdown from exhaustion and spent time in a private asylum before he finally died at his home in Ramsgate on 14th September 1852.

Pugin's legacy extends far beyond his own architectural designs. He was responsible for popularizing a style and philosophy of architecture that reached into every corner of Victorian life. He influence writers like John Ruskin, and designers like William Morris. His ideas were expressed in private and public architecture and art throughout Great Britain and beyond.

Places to see associated with AW Pugin:
The Palace of Westminster, London
The Grange, Ramsgate, Kent
Chirk Castle, Chirk, Clwyd

The St Mary's Church, Derby website has an interesting section on Pugin's work.

Resources
Victorian Art and Design
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:49 pm

Jacqueline Banarjee Reviews:

Gothic For Ever by Michael Fisher


Image

Cover of the book under review, showing the view through the screen into the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at St Giles, Cheadle. Note that the quotation in the title comes from a letter by Pugin written in 1832. Click on this and the following images for larger pictures. The remaining illustrations are drawn from our own website, and are accompanied by more pictures, and commentaries.

Among the new breed of Pugin scholars, none can know more about the architect's work in Staffordshire than Michael Fisher. A Staffordshire man himself, Fisher has been accumulating his rich store of knowledge about this body of work ever since his student days. Then, in 1998, a commission to carry out a survey of Alton Towers involved going through correspondence that brought him into "ever closer contact with the mind of Pugin" (12). His book, Alton Towers: A Gothic Wonderland, was published in 1999, to be followed by several other studies such as Pugin-land in 2002, and Staffordshire and the Gothic Revival in 2006. An Anglican priest as well as an historian, Fisher presents his latest study not drily but with a warm appreciation of the spiritual side of Pugin's mission — an appreciation essential to an understanding of what Pugin was doing and why he was so profoundly influential.

A Shared Vision

Fisher's first chapter, like one of his earlier books, is entitled "Pugin-land," a term first used by Nikolaus Pevsner in writing about Cheadle (Pevsner 97). Beneath this title, Fisher places a line from one of Pugin's letters: "I have prayed from a child for the restoration of the Long Lost glory of catholic England." Together the two headings hit all the right notes, suggesting both the large concentration of Pugin buildings in this part of England, and the spirit behind them. Key to the translation of the one into the other was the patronage of the wealthy Catholic landowner, the sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbuy. On a more practical level, too, there was Pugin's excellent, dependable Clerk of Works, John Bunn Denny (1810-1892), another Catholic, who had, as Fisher says, "embraced the Gothic vision" (20), becoming Pugin's "true disciple" (22). Despite his best efforts, even Pugin could not be everywhere at once, and needed the kind of support that Denny provided.

Still, Chapter 2, entitled "Prest d'accomplir: the earl and the architect," suggests that not everything would be plain sailing. The Earl's family motto, Prest d'Accomplir, expresses his readiness to act, especially in the Catholic cause, and Fisher brings him out of the shadows as a "gentle, eirenic and self-effacing" man (66), very different from his volatile and fiery architect. But his estates were entailed, and family tragedies meant that the succession was far from assured. Personally abstemious, to the point of not liking to waste money on postage, the Earl channelled all his resources towards his building projects, and Pugin would sometimes have to plead for more funds — for a stone roof for the south porch at St Giles', Cheadle, for instance, when the Earl thought a cheaper timber one would do (179-80). There were controversies, too, and a scandal involving the Irish-American Pierce Connolly and his wife — a couple whom the Earl had befriended, and whose separation in order to devote themselves to Catholicism led eventually to Connelly's bitter attacks on the "'detestable enormities' of Rome" (71). This helped to reinforce the anti-Catholic and also anti-Tractarian feeling of the period. Such background usefully supplements and further contextualises Rosemary Hill's biography of Pugin. But it did nothing at the time to shake either the earl's or Pugin's vision of a "catholic England."

Projects for the Earl of Shrewsbury

http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/24.jpg


Alton Towers, the Earl of Shrewsbury's principal seat. Pugin was still working on it when he died, and the Earl himself died soon afterwards.

The Connollys had been invited to stay at Alton Towers, and Chapter 3 examines the extent of Pugin's work on this iconic residence. No one who is interested in the Towers (other than as the mere backdrop to the popular theme park in its grounds) can afford to miss this full and detailed account of what he did here. It is all the more important now that much of the work has been lost. Fisher's illustrations really come into their own in this chapter, the historic ones giving a glimpse of its past grandeur. Equally welcome is his next chapter, on "St Mary's, Uttoxeter: the first 'True Principles' church," rightly described by Pevsner as "almost totally altered" (290). More easily overlooked than Alton Towers, it was nevertheless highly significant in the history of the Gothic Revival: simple as it was, aisleless and with just a little bell-cote, it had all the features needed for celebrating the English Catholic Rite, and was the first new church built with this in mind. As a result, it was both "widely imitated" (109) and highly controversial. The Earl and his wife were present for the opening, at which the choir of Alton Towers Chapel sang — a great occasion to mark a true milestone.

http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/20c.jpg http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/4.jpg
Left: The schoolhouse that Pugin built as part of the St Giles' project. Right: The interior of St Giles' at Cheadle, glorious and glowing in every detail, referred to as "the Gem" by Shrewsbury himself (qtd. 205).

Subsequent chapters deal in equally impressive detail with the ambitious scheme for St John's Hospital and the remaining parts of the medieval Alton Castle (Chapter 5); St Giles' in Cheadle, Pugin's best preserved "gem," with its associated school and convent (Chapter 6); St Wilfrid's College and Chapel in Cotton (Chapter 7); and St Mary's Church in Brewood which, with only a small contribution from Shrewsbury, was again complemented by a priest's house and a school (Chapter 8). A church was not an isolated space for Pugin. It was dedicated to worship, of course, and set aside from the mundane by its ancient and dignified rites and rituals, but it was also to be the focus and inspiration for the lives of all those ministering to and living in the community. This was true of his own church, St Augustine's at Ramsgate, too, which he built at his own expense. As for Alton, he even drew up plans for a Gothic railway station: "I think it will make a picturesque building," he wrote to the Earl (159). The commission went elsewhere and resulted in an Italianate building; but Pugin's Station Lodge on the other side of the road gives an idea of what it might have looked like.

Communities, however, even the religious ones at the heart of each individual mission, were not always what the idealistic architect wished them to be. If the second priest at Cheadle proved a disappointment, reputedly preferring horses to his parishioners, so did the first group of Catholics at St Wilfrid's, the last church that Pugin built for the Earl. Before it was even finished, the Wilfridian brothers for whom the complex was originally intended were persuaded to merge with the Oratorians — "no lovers of Gothic," as Fisher says drily (236). This set the scene for the controversy over rood screens that agitated Pugin so much towards the end of his life. Trivial as the issue may seem now, it had wide implications then. Fisher explains: "the real point at issue was whether Renaissance Italian or Medieval English ideas were to prevail in the Catholic Church in England, and Pugin believed that in fighting for screens he was fighting for the whole Gothic principle" (237). The Oratorians moved away from Cotton only a year after St Wilfrid's had opened, leaving the whole future of the costly premises in doubt. In this case, Pugin was cheered by later developments: the St Wilfrid's buildings were taken over by another religious community. "Things have taken a wonderful turn," he wrote to his third wife Jane (qtd. 238). Later, and right up until 1986, the premises would be used by a Catholic school.

Finer Points

Image
A chalice similar to, though not the same as, the one made for St Giles by the Hardman firm and illustrated in Chapter 6 of Fisher's book.

While Pugin's vision spread out widely to embrace whole communities, it also honed in on such small details as the base of a candlestick, or the inscriptions on church and chapel bells. Here was a man passionately engaged in and informed about all aspects of his work, at every level: "His zeal, his innate diligence, his resources, his invention, his imagination, his sagacity in research, are all of the highest order," wrote John Henry Newman to Ambrose Phillipps, one of the Earl's and Pugin's Catholic convert friends — and Newman said this even while criticising Pugin's singleminded adherence to the Gothic cause (qtd. 237). A particularly useful section of the chapter on St Giles deals with its metalwork, often elaborate but sometimes designed with chaste simplicity, several of the objects being very beautifully illustrated here. Little wonder that at St Giles's opening service, "[f]oreign visitors in particular were amazed that such a comprehensive range of applied arts could have emanated from a single mind" (214).

Pugin's Legacy

In view of the enormous spread of Pugin's talents, as well as the intensity of his vision and the publicity he generated, it is hardly surprising that his work produced such a profound effect on others. Fisher's last chapters focus usefully on his whole legacy in this part of the world. Chapter 9 contains a memorably melancholy description by the novelist Mary Howitt of a visit to the chapel at Alton Towers after the deaths of the Earl and his heir. But this is followed much more happily by an account of the works in this area of Pugin's eldest son, E. W. Pugin. As well as an abbey church near Stone, the younger Pugin built his earliest secular building, Burton Manor, in Stafford, and another residence, Aston Hall, at Aston-on-Stone. Both were designed very much along the lines of his father's Grange in Ramsgate. Even though work was now going to other Catholic architects, notably Charles Hansom (architect of the beautiful Catholic Cathedral in Adelaide, Australia), E. W. Pugin also designed a fine new church of St Austin's at Forebridge, Stafford, and St Gregory's in Longton. In this way, the name "Pugin-land" came to have further relevance for this part of the Midlands.

The older Pugin's designs had also gone out to Australia in his lifetime. Especially pleasing in this chapter is the information that Denny, who had supervised so much of his work in Staffordshire, eventually joined forces with William Wardell in Australia, and then worked independently there. Clerks of Works are the unsung heroes of the architectural profession, and it is good to know that Denny, like a few others, was able to make a name for himself in his own right.

In his last main chapter, Chapter 10, Fisher reminds us of Pugin's followers among Anglican architects, including George Gilbert Scott, G. F. Bodley, and Richard Norman Shaw, and all of whom built or restored churches in the area. Particularly fascinating is the discussion of the Anglican Church of All Saints' in the small village of Leigh, on which Pugin himself collaborated with an architect called Thomas Johnson (1794-1865). Wonderful though it is to learn so much more about Pugin's activities in this part of the world, it is also good to know of local talent, and of Pugin's involvement with it. As it happened, Johnson was much influenced by the Ecclesiologists. Fisher reminds us that John Ruskin upset Pugin by trying "to rid Gothic of its Catholic associations" (286), and points out that the Cambridge Camden Society's attack on "The Artistic Merit of Mr Pugin" in the Ecclesiologist of January 1846 was most likely written by Alexander Beresford Hope, one of the society's founders — himself a Staffordshire man. But, at ground level, here was Pugin contributing designs for chancel furnishings to someone supposedly in the other camp. Apparently without having any idea of Pugin's input, Pevsner calls All Saints' "an astounding masterpiece" (173). In the end, of course, Pugin succeeded in giving Anglicans and Nonconformists alike "a certain picture of what an English church should be, and that vision was unmistakably a Gothic one" (305).

"Gothic For Ever"

Fisher's brief concluding chapter, "Gothic For Ever," brings us up to date on the preservation and restoration of the legacy. After a period of reaction against it, the Gothic Revival is now fully understood and appreciated. One proof of this is the restoration programme now in place for Alton Towers. Another is the appearance of books like Fisher's — meticulously researched, beautifully written, fully illustrated on glossy paper, altogether a pleasure to have and read. Helpful features here are the numbered references to the illustrations, the full complement of scholarly notes unobtrusively added at the end, and the glossary of ecclesiastical terms. Slips are very few and far between, and extremely trivial — the photograph of Station Lodge, Alton, referred to as 3.17 rather than 3.18 on p.159; a comma in the wrong place in the quotation from Newman on p.237, and a full stop where there should be a comma at the bottom of p.188. But perhaps these are worth noting if a paperback edition is in the offing. A lighter and smaller-sized edition would certainly make it easier to carry round "Pugin-land" — to which there could not possibly be a more scholarly or enjoyable guide.
Last edited by Praxiteles on Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:50 pm

Jacqueline Banarjee Reviews:

Gothic For Ever by Michael Fisher


http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/fishercover.jpg

Cover of the book under review, showing the view through the screen into the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at St Giles, Cheadle. Note that the quotation in the title comes from a letter by Pugin written in 1832. Click on this and the following images for larger pictures. The remaining illustrations are drawn from our own website, and are accompanied by more pictures, and commentaries.

Among the new breed of Pugin scholars, none can know more about the architect's work in Staffordshire than Michael Fisher. A Staffordshire man himself, Fisher has been accumulating his rich store of knowledge about this body of work ever since his student days. Then, in 1998, a commission to carry out a survey of Alton Towers involved going through correspondence that brought him into "ever closer contact with the mind of Pugin" (12). His book, Alton Towers: A Gothic Wonderland, was published in 1999, to be followed by several other studies such as Pugin-land in 2002, and Staffordshire and the Gothic Revival in 2006. An Anglican priest as well as an historian, Fisher presents his latest study not drily but with a warm appreciation of the spiritual side of Pugin's mission — an appreciation essential to an understanding of what Pugin was doing and why he was so profoundly influential.

A Shared Vision

Fisher's first chapter, like one of his earlier books, is entitled "Pugin-land," a term first used by Nikolaus Pevsner in writing about Cheadle (Pevsner 97). Beneath this title, Fisher places a line from one of Pugin's letters: "I have prayed from a child for the restoration of the Long Lost glory of catholic England." Together the two headings hit all the right notes, suggesting both the large concentration of Pugin buildings in this part of England, and the spirit behind them. Key to the translation of the one into the other was the patronage of the wealthy Catholic landowner, the sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbuy. On a more practical level, too, there was Pugin's excellent, dependable Clerk of Works, John Bunn Denny (1810-1892), another Catholic, who had, as Fisher says, "embraced the Gothic vision" (20), becoming Pugin's "true disciple" (22). Despite his best efforts, even Pugin could not be everywhere at once, and needed the kind of support that Denny provided.

Still, Chapter 2, entitled "Prest d'accomplir: the earl and the architect," suggests that not everything would be plain sailing. The Earl's family motto, Prest d'Accomplir, expresses his readiness to act, especially in the Catholic cause, and Fisher brings him out of the shadows as a "gentle, eirenic and self-effacing" man (66), very different from his volatile and fiery architect. But his estates were entailed, and family tragedies meant that the succession was far from assured. Personally abstemious, to the point of not liking to waste money on postage, the Earl channelled all his resources towards his building projects, and Pugin would sometimes have to plead for more funds — for a stone roof for the south porch at St Giles', Cheadle, for instance, when the Earl thought a cheaper timber one would do (179-80). There were controversies, too, and a scandal involving the Irish-American Pierce Connolly and his wife — a couple whom the Earl had befriended, and whose separation in order to devote themselves to Catholicism led eventually to Connelly's bitter attacks on the "'detestable enormities' of Rome" (71). This helped to reinforce the anti-Catholic and also anti-Tractarian feeling of the period. Such background usefully supplements and further contextualises Rosemary Hill's biography of Pugin. But it did nothing at the time to shake either the earl's or Pugin's vision of a "catholic England."

Projects for the Earl of Shrewsbury

http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/24.jpg


Alton Towers, the Earl of Shrewsbury's principal seat. Pugin was still working on it when he died, and the Earl himself died soon afterwards.

The Connollys had been invited to stay at Alton Towers, and Chapter 3 examines the extent of Pugin's work on this iconic residence. No one who is interested in the Towers (other than as the mere backdrop to the popular theme park in its grounds) can afford to miss this full and detailed account of what he did here. It is all the more important now that much of the work has been lost. Fisher's illustrations really come into their own in this chapter, the historic ones giving a glimpse of its past grandeur. Equally welcome is his next chapter, on "St Mary's, Uttoxeter: the first 'True Principles' church," rightly described by Pevsner as "almost totally altered" (290). More easily overlooked than Alton Towers, it was nevertheless highly significant in the history of the Gothic Revival: simple as it was, aisleless and with just a little bell-cote, it had all the features needed for celebrating the English Catholic Rite, and was the first new church built with this in mind. As a result, it was both "widely imitated" (109) and highly controversial. The Earl and his wife were present for the opening, at which the choir of Alton Towers Chapel sang — a great occasion to mark a true milestone.

http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/20c.jpg http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/pugin/4.jpg
Left: The schoolhouse that Pugin built as part of the St Giles' project. Right: The interior of St Giles' at Cheadle, glorious and glowing in every detail, referred to as "the Gem" by Shrewsbury himself (qtd. 205).

Subsequent chapters deal in equally impressive detail with the ambitious scheme for St John's Hospital and the remaining parts of the medieval Alton Castle (Chapter 5); St Giles' in Cheadle, Pugin's best preserved "gem," with its associated school and convent (Chapter 6); St Wilfrid's College and Chapel in Cotton (Chapter 7); and St Mary's Church in Brewood which, with only a small contribution from Shrewsbury, was again complemented by a priest's house and a school (Chapter 8). A church was not an isolated space for Pugin. It was dedicated to worship, of course, and set aside from the mundane by its ancient and dignified rites and rituals, but it was also to be the focus and inspiration for the lives of all those ministering to and living in the community. This was true of his own church, St Augustine's at Ramsgate, too, which he built at his own expense. As for Alton, he even drew up plans for a Gothic railway station: "I think it will make a picturesque building," he wrote to the Earl (159). The commission went elsewhere and resulted in an Italianate building; but Pugin's Station Lodge on the other side of the road gives an idea of what it might have looked like.

Communities, however, even the religious ones at the heart of each individual mission, were not always what the idealistic architect wished them to be. If the second priest at Cheadle proved a disappointment, reputedly preferring horses to his parishioners, so did the first group of Catholics at St Wilfrid's, the last church that Pugin built for the Earl. Before it was even finished, the Wilfridian brothers for whom the complex was originally intended were persuaded to merge with the Oratorians — "no lovers of Gothic," as Fisher says drily (236). This set the scene for the controversy over rood screens that agitated Pugin so much towards the end of his life. Trivial as the issue may seem now, it had wide implications then. Fisher explains: "the real point at issue was whether Renaissance Italian or Medieval English ideas were to prevail in the Catholic Church in England, and Pugin believed that in fighting for screens he was fighting for the whole Gothic principle" (237). The Oratorians moved away from Cotton only a year after St Wilfrid's had opened, leaving the whole future of the costly premises in doubt. In this case, Pugin was cheered by later developments: the St Wilfrid's buildings were taken over by another religious community. "Things have taken a wonderful turn," he wrote to his third wife Jane (qtd. 238). Later, and right up until 1986, the premises would be used by a Catholic school.

Finer Points

Image
A chalice similar to, though not the same as, the one made for St Giles by the Hardman firm and illustrated in Chapter 6 of Fisher's book.

While Pugin's vision spread out widely to embrace whole communities, it also honed in on such small details as the base of a candlestick, or the inscriptions on church and chapel bells. Here was a man passionately engaged in and informed about all aspects of his work, at every level: "His zeal, his innate diligence, his resources, his invention, his imagination, his sagacity in research, are all of the highest order," wrote John Henry Newman to Ambrose Phillipps, one of the Earl's and Pugin's Catholic convert friends — and Newman said this even while criticising Pugin's singleminded adherence to the Gothic cause (qtd. 237). A particularly useful section of the chapter on St Giles deals with its metalwork, often elaborate but sometimes designed with chaste simplicity, several of the objects being very beautifully illustrated here. Little wonder that at St Giles's opening service, "[f]oreign visitors in particular were amazed that such a comprehensive range of applied arts could have emanated from a single mind" (214).

Pugin's Legacy

In view of the enormous spread of Pugin's talents, as well as the intensity of his vision and the publicity he generated, it is hardly surprising that his work produced such a profound effect on others. Fisher's last chapters focus usefully on his whole legacy in this part of the world. Chapter 9 contains a memorably melancholy description by the novelist Mary Howitt of a visit to the chapel at Alton Towers after the deaths of the Earl and his heir. But this is followed much more happily by an account of the works in this area of Pugin's eldest son, E. W. Pugin. As well as an abbey church near Stone, the younger Pugin built his earliest secular building, Burton Manor, in Stafford, and another residence, Aston Hall, at Aston-on-Stone. Both were designed very much along the lines of his father's Grange in Ramsgate. Even though work was now going to other Catholic architects, notably Charles Hansom (architect of the beautiful Catholic Cathedral in Adelaide, Australia), E. W. Pugin also designed a fine new church of St Austin's at Forebridge, Stafford, and St Gregory's in Longton. In this way, the name "Pugin-land" came to have further relevance for this part of the Midlands.

The older Pugin's designs had also gone out to Australia in his lifetime. Especially pleasing in this chapter is the information that Denny, who had supervised so much of his work in Staffordshire, eventually joined forces with William Wardell in Australia, and then worked independently there. Clerks of Works are the unsung heroes of the architectural profession, and it is good to know that Denny, like a few others, was able to make a name for himself in his own right.

In his last main chapter, Chapter 10, Fisher reminds us of Pugin's followers among Anglican architects, including George Gilbert Scott, G. F. Bodley, and Richard Norman Shaw, and all of whom built or restored churches in the area. Particularly fascinating is the discussion of the Anglican Church of All Saints' in the small village of Leigh, on which Pugin himself collaborated with an architect called Thomas Johnson (1794-1865). Wonderful though it is to learn so much more about Pugin's activities in this part of the world, it is also good to know of local talent, and of Pugin's involvement with it. As it happened, Johnson was much influenced by the Ecclesiologists. Fisher reminds us that John Ruskin upset Pugin by trying "to rid Gothic of its Catholic associations" (286), and points out that the Cambridge Camden Society's attack on "The Artistic Merit of Mr Pugin" in the Ecclesiologist of January 1846 was most likely written by Alexander Beresford Hope, one of the society's founders — himself a Staffordshire man. But, at ground level, here was Pugin contributing designs for chancel furnishings to someone supposedly in the other camp. Apparently without having any idea of Pugin's input, Pevsner calls All Saints' "an astounding masterpiece" (173). In the end, of course, Pugin succeeded in giving Anglicans and Nonconformists alike "a certain picture of what an English church should be, and that vision was unmistakably a Gothic one" (305).

"Gothic For Ever"

Fisher's brief concluding chapter, "Gothic For Ever," brings us up to date on the preservation and restoration of the legacy. After a period of reaction against it, the Gothic Revival is now fully understood and appreciated. One proof of this is the restoration programme now in place for Alton Towers. Another is the appearance of books like Fisher's — meticulously researched, beautifully written, fully illustrated on glossy paper, altogether a pleasure to have and read. Helpful features here are the numbered references to the illustrations, the full complement of scholarly notes unobtrusively added at the end, and the glossary of ecclesiastical terms. Slips are very few and far between, and extremely trivial — the photograph of Station Lodge, Alton, referred to as 3.17 rather than 3.18 on p.159; a comma in the wrong place in the quotation from Newman on p.237, and a full stop where there should be a comma at the bottom of p.188. But perhaps these are worth noting if a paperback edition is in the offing. A lighter and smaller-sized edition would certainly make it easier to carry round "Pugin-land" — to which there could not possibly be a more scholarly or enjoyable guide.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:28 pm

A W N Pugin


Scarisbrick Hall.

Image

Scarisbrick Hall. Remodelled by A.W. N. Pugin. c. 1837-45; altered by Edward Pugin, 1860 onwards. Near Southport, Lancashire. Image kindly provided by Rob Scarisbrick, and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. 2008.

Charles Scarisbrick was a wealthy Catholic landowner who had had to fight a legal battle to inherit Scarisbrick Hall. Even before the case was finally won, he decided to make the house his own by having it remodelled. Coming from a long line of Catholics himself, he chose the young Catholic architect A. W. Pugin to do the job for him. Pugin, who accepted the commission when he was still in his early twenties, set to work on 24 April 1837, a matter of weeks before Victoria's accession, and continued working on the house for about eight years. He improved on the already Gothic features of the frontage, and added a wonderful medieval galleried hall with (later) an entrance porch and a lantern. The latter was designed as late as 1845 (Girouard 112). Adjacent to the hall on one side were three reception rooms, the Oak Room, the King's Room and the Red Drawing Room, designed to show off Scarisbrick's enormous collection of antique church woodcarvings, imports from the continent after the Napoleonic wars (see the caption to Plate 8 in Hill). Room after room of these, interspersed with Pugin's own designs for the overmantels, ceiling spandrels and so on, must have produced a heavily ornate, even claustrophobic effect.

Nothing was plain sailing with the intense and idealistic Pugin. His frustrations at Scarisbrick are suggested in a pencilled letter to Charles Scarisbrick dated 1 March 1844, apparently about the roof of the Great Hall. Complaining that only two men were working on it, he wrote, "it is really heartbreaking to have been working for years & nothing to shew anybody, not a single room finished & everything asleep. The work is twice as expensive.& it goes on so long that I positively forget my own drawings." He adds pleadingly, "pray let us get on with a little more spirit" (qtd. in Belcher 173).

Pugin would have been still more frustrated had he been able to see into the future. When Charles died and his sister Anne finally inherited the house in 1861, she had her own ambitions for the estate: she had the east wing completely rebuilt, replacing Pugin's clock tower on that side with a much higher tower designed by his son Edward in quite a different style. At once more "muscular" and more continental in appearance, this tower has "ornate and caparisoned gables and a turret surmounted by the fluttering wings of eagles" (Girouard 111). In fact, the birds are "eight huge and rather sinister heraldic doves" (qtd. in Scarisbrick). At any rate, all this had the effect of turning the elder Pugin's more quietly romantic creation into a Gothic extravaganza.

Although the house as it stands now is only partly as Pugin planned it, visitors still find it very impressive. With its elaborately carved bay windows, parapets, rooftop sculptures, turrets, dainty pinnacles and the great beacon of a tower at its far end, it has been aptly described as "a curious chronicle of nineteenth-century taste" (Hill 183), charting specifically "the move from early Victorian richness to mid-Victorian fantasy" (Girouard 118). It is now in use as a school.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:30 pm

A. W. N. Pugin

Scarisbrick Hall


Image


The entrance
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:13 pm

Wallpaper Motifs of A W N Pugin


Image

Illustration: A W N Pugin. Wallpaper design, 1840s.

The decorative work of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin is often seen to be a style that was both complex and highly ornamented. While this is true of a certain percentage of his decorative work, particularly that as seen in the Palace of Westminster where overlayering and gilding seemed to rule the day, it would be unfair to say that this was the only contribution made by Pugin to the decorative arts.

The wallpaper design works shown in this article were all produced by Pugin during the 1840s. While these examples were by no means the only wallpaper work produced by Pugin during this period, they do give an indication of perhaps a less formal, or at least less ceremonial, aspect to his style.


Image

ustration: A W N Pugin. Wallpaper design, 1840s.

These charming and very English motif wallpapers are examples of what was to be known as the Victorian Gothic Revival. Although the Revival itself could appear excessive in certain circumstances, thinking of the Palace of Westminster again, much of the decorative pattern work could often appear in a relatively simplified form. This draws analogies at least with the start of the Reform Movement of the 1850s and onwards, but also that of, if not the styling at least the sentiment and philosophy, William Morris and the later Arts & Crafts movement.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:18 pm

ctd.

Pugin himself, like all of us, was inconsistent and contradictory. On one level he talked of an early version of what we would see as Form follows Function with the quote: there shall be no features of a building which are not necessary for convenience, construction and propriety. Although this quote does apply specifically to architectural structure and not surface decoration, it does call into question some of his judgements concerning internal decorative schemes, thinking yet again of the Palace of Westminster, which of course stands out before all others in it's over embellishment. However, with caution, we can say that these particular wallpaper designs produced in the 1840s were unusual for British interior decoration.

Image

llustration: A W N Pugin. Wallpaper design, 1840s.

Many wallpapers of this era tended to overstate their presence with cascades of full blousy flowers, ribbons and other paraphernalia that made walls appear festooned with jungles of impenetrable foliage that bordered on thickets. It was this type of decorative pattern work that the reform movement tried to temper, if not discard altogether. With an individual such as Pugin, the movement had an instant, if inconsistent champion of the merits of a structural vocabulary in the discipline of pattern design and surface decoration in general.

Even Pugin's more complex and heraldic type wallpapers have an underlying and simplified structure and framework to them. This was often missing from many of the more floral representations that were so popular with public, manufacturers and retailers alike. It was this underlying structural simplicity that was such a part of so much of Pugin's output, which makes him stand out as one of the early pioneers of Victorian decorative art and pattern work.

That Pugin died at the ridiculously early age of forty was a particularly tragic loss to the decorative arts of Britain, but also potentially that of both the Reform and the Arts & Crafts movement. By his removal from the design world in 1852, Pugin was unable to contribute towards the changing Victorian world of the 1850s and 1860s which saw the introduction of new art and design schools and colleges, the Reform Movement under Henry Cole and the rise of both William Morris and the Arts & Crafts phenomenon.
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