The Traditional Architectural Style in the Early 19th Century, in Great Britain

965 Words 4 Pages
In this essay I am aim to explore Pugin’s dissent from tradition through his ideas, inspiration, and his most important works and their meaning. To dissent from tradition is to defy a stultifying tradition or convention, which leads to new, daring styles (Richardson, McKellar, Woods, 2008, p.109). The ‘traditional’ architectural style in the early 19th Century, in Great Britain was classicism, inspired by ancient Greece and associated with democracy as well as with the French revolution (Richardson, McKellar, Woods, 2008, p. 112). Pugin, called this classical style ‘the new square style’ (Figure 4.7, in Richardson, McKellar, Woods, 2008, p.123) and argued that it lacked authenticity of Great Britain (Richardson, McKellar, Woods, 2008, p. 109). In attempting to establish what would convey the cultural, national and religious character of Great Britain, Pugin turned to Gothicism, the style that existed in the country prior to the Protestant Reformation. He believed that a revival of the Gothic style would be ‘a return to a much better past’, to re-establish the Roman Catholic Church and a style that was indigenous to the Northern Europe (ibid).

Pugin did not dissent from the tradition in its usual meaning. He was not doing anything particularly new. He did not even consider himself to be a dissenter (Richardson, McKellar, Woods, 2008, p. 131). He saw himself as a traditionalist trying to revive the lost but national style which had been overshadowed by the dissent of…