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Discovering the Byzantine Art of Building: Lectures at the RIBA, the Royal Academy and the London Architectural Society, 1843-58

Karydis, Nikolaos (2020) Discovering the Byzantine Art of Building: Lectures at the RIBA, the Royal Academy and the London Architectural Society, 1843-58. Architectural History, 63 . pp. 171-190. ISSN 0066-622X. (doi:10.1017/arh.2020.9) (KAR id:70434)

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British architects played a major role in the rediscovery of the Byzantine monuments of Greece in the late-19th and the early-20th century. Although the work of these architects is being investigated, its mid-19th century origins remain obscure. This topic has so far been dominated by the belief that, in this early period, British architects had limited interest in Byzantium. Yet, four lectures, read at the R.I.B.A., the Royal Academy, and the London Architectural Society from 1843 to 1857, challenge this view, reflecting a lively interest in Byzantine church architecture and its potential to inspire new design. Delivered by Charles Robert Cockerell (1843), Edwin Nash (1847), Thomas Leverton Donaldson (1853), and John Louis Petit (1857), these lectures constitute some of the earliest attempts in England to explore Byzantine architecture. The current paper investigates the manuscript records of these lectures in the archives of the R.I.B.A. These documents reveal an extensive understanding of Byzantine Architecture. Mentioning a plethora of churches in Greece, they reflect an interest in the structure of Byzantine monuments. Viewing these monuments through the lens of the builder emphasised their potential to inform new design, paving the way for the Byzantine Revival, half a century later. These authoritative lectures also prepared the conditions for the subsequent study of Byzantine architecture; they helped to form the cultural environment that favoured the systematic investigation of Byzantine architecture by British scholars from late-19th century onwards.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/arh.2020.9
Uncontrolled keywords: RIBA, Charles Robert Cockerell, John Louis Petit, Edwin Nash, Thomas Leverton Donaldson
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Nikolaos Karydis
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2018 01:32 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 12:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Karydis, Nikolaos:
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