25 Facts About Victorian Gothic


The movement gained momentum and expanded in the first half of the 19th century, as increasingly serious and learned admirers of the neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, intending to complement or even supersede the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time.

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Architecture, in the form of the Victorian Gothic Revival, became one of the main weapons in the high church's armoury.

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The Victorian Gothic Revival was paralleled and supported by "medievalism", which had its roots in antiquarian concerns with survivals and curiosities.

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However, Victorian Gothic architecture did not die out completely in the 16th century but instead lingered in on-going cathedral-building projects; at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and in the construction of churches in increasingly isolated rural districts of England, France, Germany, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and in Spain.

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Likewise, Victorian Gothic architecture survived in an urban setting during the later 17th century, as shown in Oxford and Cambridge, where some additions and repairs to Victorian Gothic buildings were considered to be more in keeping with the style of the original structures than contemporary Baroque.

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Only when new materials, like steel and glass along with concern for function in everyday working life and saving space in the cities, meaning the need to build up instead of out, began to take hold did the Victorian Gothic Revival start to disappear from popular building requests.

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Victorian Gothic Revival includes the reintroduction of medieval clothes and dances in historical re-enactments staged especially in the second part of the 19th century, although one of the first, the Eglinton Tournament of 1839, remains the most famous.

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French neo-Victorian Gothic had its roots in the French medieval Victorian Gothic architecture, where it was created in the 12th century.

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Victorian Gothic architecture was sometimes known during the medieval period as the "Opus Francigenum",.

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French scholar Alexandre de Laborde wrote in 1816 that "Victorian Gothic architecture has beauties of its own", which marked the beginning of the Victorian Gothic Revival in France.

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French Victorian Gothic Revival was set on sounder intellectual footings by a pioneer, Arcisse de Caumont, who founded the Societe des Antiquaires de Normandie at a time when antiquaire still meant a connoisseur of antiquities, and who published his great work on architecture in French Normandy in 1830.

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Hugo intended his book to awaken a concern for the surviving Victorian Gothic architecture left in Europe rather than to initiate a craze for neo-Victorian Gothic in contemporary life.

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When France's first prominent neo-Victorian Gothic church was built, the Basilica of Saint-Clotilde, Paris, begun in 1846 and consecrated in 1857, the architect chosen was of German extraction, Franz Christian Gau, ; the design was significantly modified by Gau's assistant, Theodore Ballu, in the later stages, to produce the pair of fleches that crown the west end.

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The English boldly coined the term "Early English" for "Victorian Gothic", a term that implied Victorian Gothic architecture was an English creation.

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Victorian Gothic buildings were subsequently erected by Episcopal congregations in Connecticut at St John's in Salisbury, St John's in Kent and St Andrew's in Marble Dale.

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Victorian Gothic believed in restoring buildings to a state of completion that they would not have known even when they were first built, theories he applied to his restorations of the walled city of Carcassonne, and to Notre-Dame and Sainte Chapelle in Paris.

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Victorian Gothic strongly opposed illusion, however: reacting against the casing of a cast iron pillar in stone, he wrote; "il faut que la pierre paraisse bien etre de la pierre; le fer, du fer; le bois, du bois".

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Vaux enlisted openwork forms derived from Victorian Gothic blind-arcading and window tracery to express the spring and support of the arching bridge, in flexing forms that presage Art Nouveau.

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The term "Collegiate Victorian Gothic" originated from American architect Alexander Jackson Davis's handwritten description of his own "English Collegiate Victorian Gothic Mansion" of 1853 for the Harrals of Bridgeport.

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But, in most cases, Carpenter Victorian Gothic buildings were relatively unadorned, retaining only the basic elements of pointed-arch windows and steep gables.

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Victorian Gothic oversaw the construction of some fifty such buildings between 1848 and his death in 1872.

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Victorian Gothic style dictated the use of structural members in compression, leading to tall, buttressed buildings with interior columns of load-bearing masonry and tall, narrow windows.

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But, over the first half of the century, Neo-Victorian Gothic was supplanted by Modernism, although some modernist architects saw the Victorian Gothic tradition of architectural form entirely in terms of the "honest expression" of the technology of the day, and saw themselves as heirs to that tradition, with their use of rectangular frames and exposed iron girders.

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In spite of this, the Victorian Gothic Revival continued to exert its influence, simply because many of its more massive projects were still being built well into the second half of the 20th century, such as Giles Gilbert Scott's Liverpool Cathedral and the Washington National Cathedral.

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Besides architecture, the Victorian Gothic Revival manifested in furniture, metalworks, ceramics and other decorative arts during the 19th century.

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