Friday, November 18, 2011

High Victorian Gothic

The mid Victorian period saw the culmination of the Gothic Revival which had been progressing in a rather sporadic fashion since the 1750s. In the 18th century, interest in a Gothic was  the dilettante hobby of aristocrats and the rich.Under the influence of romantic novels by writers like Hugh Walpole, who owned an early Gothic Revival home, and Sir Walter Scott, men like William Beckford and Sir Roger Newdigate planned homes in the Gothic style. for these patrons, this style was a picturesque diversion rather than an exercise in historical veracity. Like Scott's Waverley novels, these buildings were to their owners places where they could escape the realities of business and politics and dream of chivalrous time of medieval knights and paeants.

At Goodrich House in Herefordshire, Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick employed Edward Blore to create his "Hastilude Chamber" in which to house his famous collection of armour.

Related to the rise of Gothic was the increasing popularity of antiquaria. Led by academic and literary taste in the late 18th century, in the early part of the 19th century, in the early part of the 19th century it became highly fashionable to collect and decorate one's home with antiques and authentic architectural details.

The Gothic encouraged the taste for medievalist objects; suits of armour, heraldic motifs, stained glass and carved masonry. The market in old Flemish architectural carvings grew to such an extent that there was a flourishing trade in fakes emanating from Belgium.

Many writers characterized this phase of the interest in the Gothic as merely pastiche when compared with the mid-Victorian's highly moral and clerical attitude to it. But it must be noted that this romantic and picturesque phase of the Gothic was underpinned by some serious scholarship such as E.J.Wilson's Specimens of Gothic Architecture of 1821-3. 

Furthermore, the later phase of the Gothic, although inspired by the writings of theorists like John Ruskin and A.W.N. Pugin, was for the many people who bought medievalists objects and lived in the Gothic style homes just another turn of fashion. Many manufacturers who borrowed this style for their products saw it as just another language in the repertoire of style.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...