High Victorian Gothic

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St. Pancras railway station by Sir Gilbert Scott Midland Grand St Pancras.jpg
St. Pancras railway station by Sir Gilbert Scott

High Victorian Gothic was an eclectic architectural style and movement during the mid-late 19th century. [1] It is seen by architectural historians as either a sub-style of the broader Gothic Revival style, or a separate style in its own right. [2]

Architectural style specific method of construction, characterized by the features that make it notable

An architectural style is characterized by the features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-class of style in the visual arts generally, and most styles in architecture related closely to the wider contemporary artistic style. A style may include such elements as form, method of construction, building materials, and regional character. Most architecture can be classified within a chronology of styles which changes over time reflecting changing fashions, beliefs and religions, or the emergence of new ideas, technology, or materials which make new styles possible.

Gothic Revival architecture Architectural movement

Gothic Revival is an architectural movement popular in the Western world that began in the late 1740s in England. Its momentum grew in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. Gothic Revival draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, hood moulds and label stops.

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Promoted and derived from the works of the architect and theorist John Ruskin, though it eventually diverged, it is sometimes referred to as Ruskinian Gothic. [3] It is characterised by the use of polychrome (multi-colour) decoration, "use of varying texture", and Gothic details. [4] The architectural scholar James Stevens Curl describes it thus: "Style of the somewhat harsh polychrome structures of the Gothic Revival in the 1850s and 1860s when Ruskin held sway as the arbiter of taste. Like High Gothic, it is an unsatisfactory term, as it poses the question as to what is 'Low Victorian'. 'Mid-Victorian' would, perhaps, be more useful, but precise dates and description of styles would be more so." [5]

John Ruskin 19th-century English writer and art critic

John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy.

Polychrome art terminology and color method

Polychrome is the "practice of decorating architectural elements, sculpture, etc., in a variety of colors." The term is used to refer to certain styles of architecture, pottery or sculpture in multiple colors.

James Stevens Curl is an architectural historian, architect, and author with an extensive range of publications to his name.

Among the best-known practitioners of the style were William Butterfield, [6] Sir Gilbert Scott, [7] G. E. Street, [8] and Alfred Waterhouse. Waterhouse's Victoria Building at Liverpool University, described by Sir Charles Reilly as "the colour of mud and blood", [9] was the inspiration for the term "red brick university" (as opposed to Oxbridge and the other ancient universities). [10]

William Butterfield English architect

William Butterfield was a Gothic Revival architect and associated with the Oxford Movement. He is noted for his use of polychromy.

George Gilbert Scott English architect (1811–1878)

Sir George Gilbert Scott, styled Sir Gilbert Scott, was a prolific English Gothic revival architect, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches and cathedrals, although he started his career as a leading designer of workhouses. Over 800 buildings were designed or altered by him.

Alfred Waterhouse British architect

Alfred Waterhouse was an English architect, particularly associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. He is perhaps best known for his design for Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London, although he also built a wide variety of other buildings throughout the country. Financially speaking, Waterhouse was probably the most successful of all Victorian architects. Though expert within Neo-Gothic, Renaissance revival and Romanesque revival styles, Waterhouse never limited himself to a single architectural style.

In the 1870s, the style became popular for civic, commercial, and religious architecture in the United States, though was uncommon for residential structures. [11] It was frequently used for what became the "Old Main" of various schools and universities in the late 19th century United States. [4] The Stick Style is sometimes considered the wooden manifestation of the High Victorian Gothic style. [12]

Examples

United Kingdom
All Saints, Margaret Street Church in United Kingdom

All Saints, Margaret Street, is a Grade I listed Anglican church in London. The church was designed by the architect William Butterfield and built between 1850 and 1859. It has been hailed as Butterfield's masterpiece and a pioneering building of the High Victorian Gothic style that would characterize British architecture from around 1850 to 1870.

Church of St James, Baldersby Church in North Yorkshire, England

The Church of St James is a Church of England parish church in Baldersby St James, North Yorkshire. This Victorian church is a grade I listed building, and was designed by William Butterfield.

Manchester Town Hall municipal building in Manchester, England

Manchester Town Hall is a Victorian, Neo-gothic municipal building in Manchester, England. It is the ceremonial headquarters of Manchester City Council and houses a number of local government departments. The building faces Albert Square to the north and St Peter's Square to the south, with Manchester Cenotaph facing its southern entrance.


United States
Hudson River State Hospital

The Hudson River State Hospital, is a former New York state psychiatric hospital which operated from 1873 until its closure in the early 2000s. The campus is notable for its main building, known as a "Kirkbride," which has been designated a National Historic Landmark due to its exemplary High Victorian Gothic architecture, the first use of that style for an American institutional building. It is located on US 9 on the Poughkeepsie-Hyde Park town line.

Memorial Hall (Harvard University) building at Harvard University

Memorial Hall, immediately north of Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an imposing High Victorian Gothic building honor­ing the sacrifices made by Harvard men in defense of the Union during the American Civil War‍—‌"a symbol of Boston's commitment to the Unionist cause and the abolitionist movement in America."

New Haven City Hall and County Courthouse

The New Haven City Hall and County Courthouse is located at 161 Church Street in the Downtown section of New Haven, Connecticut. The city hall building, designed by Henry Austin, was built in 1861; the old courthouse building, now an annex, designed by David R. Brown, was built in 1871–1873. They stand on the east side of the New Haven Green.

See also

Notes

  1. Campbell, Gordon. "Victorian style", The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, Oxford University Press 2006. accessed 22 June 2012 (subscription required)
  2. McAlester, p. 198
  3. Garrigan, Kristine Ottesen. "'Ruskinian Gothic: The Architecture of Deane and Woodward, 1845–1861' by Eve Blau", Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians , Vol. 42, No. 1 (March 1983), pp. 78–80 (subscription required)
  4. 1 2 Browning, pp. 300–301
  5. Curl, James Stevens. "High Victorian", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Oxford University Press 2006, Oxford Reference Online, accessed 22 June 2012 (subscription required)
  6. Crook, J. Mordaunt. "'William Butterfield' by Paul Thompson", The English Historical Review , Vol. 89, No. 350 (January 1974), pp. 131–133 (subscription required)
  7. Stamp, Gavin. "Sir Gilbert Scott's 'Recollections'", Architectural History , Vol. 19, (1976), pp. 54–73 (subscription required)
  8. Stamp, Gavin. "High Victorian Gothic and the Architecture of Normandy", Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians , Vol. 62, No. 2 (June 2003), pp. 194–211 (subscription required)
  9. Powers, p. 1
  10. The term was coined by Edgar Allison Peers, professor of Spanish at Liverpool University, writing under the pseudonym "Bruce Truscot"; in Redbrick University, 1943, he compares two fictional universities called Redbrick and Oxbridge. See: Oxford English Dictionary , "red brick, n. and adj.", OED Online. June 2012. Oxford University Press, accessed 22 June 2012 (subscription required))
  11. McAlester, p. 200
  12. McAlester, p. 256
  13. Bearman, Robert (1988). Stratford-upon-Avon: A History of Its Streets and Buildings. Hendon Publishing Co Ltd. p. 10.
  14. "THE KIRNA, B8323". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 27 December 2018.

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References