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Realism in Nineteenth-Century British Architecture

Brittain-Catlin, Timothy (2017) Realism in Nineteenth-Century British Architecture. In: Mallgrave, Harry and Bressani, Martin and Contandriopoulos, Christina, eds. The Companions to the History of Architecture. Wiley Companions, 3 . Wiley, Hoboken, USA, pp. 174-191. ISBN 978-1-4443-3851-5. E-ISBN 978-1-118-88722-6. (doi:10.1002/9781118887226) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:61610)

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Functionalism in nineteenth-century Britain took a specific form: realism. This was an approach to design which emphasized the real, physical, nature of building materials and the practical function of a designed object from its smallest details to its overall form. Born from an early nineteenth-century interest in the practical aspects of horticulture and architecture pioneered by John Claudius Loudon, and in the newly scientific approach to architectural history of John Britton, realism took off from 1836 with the ascent of the architect and designer A. W. N. Pugin. Pugin's texts, especially The True Principles of 1841, presented a theory of a rational, comprehensive architecture derived from an intimate knowledge of medieval buildings. This strongly appealed to architects who were facing new professional challenges and were frustrated by low building standards. Architects directly inspired by Pugin, including George Gilbert Scott, George Edmund Street, and William Butterfield, established the revived Gothic style and created an unprecedented international reputation for British architecture. A younger generation, from the 1880s onward, revived Puginian ideas especially in their rich designs for houses and interiors, but realism was eventually defeated by its own obsessiveness and detachment from the motives that had inspired it.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/9781118887226
Additional information: There is a simultaneous online version
Uncontrolled keywords: realism gothic revival Pugin
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Timothy Brittain-Catlin
Date Deposited: 04 May 2017 09:01 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Brittain-Catlin, Timothy.

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