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This article examines the relationship between architecture in painting and rhetorical theory, proposing that fictive buildings are often a powerful form of visual rhetoric aiming to entice the viewer and showcase the artist's skill. Illustrating the potential of a rhetorical approach for the interpretation of architecture more widely, the article focuses on Altichiero da Zevio's fresco cycle in the Oratory of St George in Padua (c. 1379–84), suggesting that his structurally inventive and intricately decorated architectural settings can be interpreted through the rhetorical tropes copia and amplificatio. It argues that fourteenth-century Padua was an environment particularly receptive to rhetorical theory, and suggests that viewers would have experienced Altichiero's fictive buildings as a visual equivalent of the persuasive strategies employed in contemporary textual composition. The analysis highlights the rhetorical messages of architectural forms, underscoring the porosity between two and three-dimensional buildings for a more integrated consideration of architecture and its communicative powers.
This article builds upon Jan Białostocki's seminal book The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe by examining two merchant palaces in the port city of Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula River in Poland but departs from his interpretation of them. Focusing on the stucco architecture and relief-sculpture of their façades, the article argues against Białostocki's traditional reading of imitation as being driven by artistic influence, and, through the study of the city's mercantile and pilgrimage context, it proposes instead that a notion of imitation that was deeply immersed in sophisticated practices of copying and reference making. It concludes that the merchant community in Kazimierz Dolny was aiming to forge a new civic identity in order to contend in a broader social, religious and economic realm that was traversed by merchants, travellers and pilgrims alike.
This article aims to reconstruct the plan of Theobalds, Hertfordshire, built between 1564 and 1585 by Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Theobalds was perhaps the most significant English country house of the Elizabethan period and in 1607 was taken on as a royal palace. It was visited by all the major court and political figures of the age, while its fame also extended overseas. Theobalds was innovative in various respects, as the article makes clear, and it had a profound impact on the architecture of its generation. Its importance is all the more extraordinary given that Theobalds was so short-lived: the house was taken down shortly after 1650 and few traces of it survive today. The assumption has been that, because the house was demolished so long ago, it could not be well understood. This article contradicts that view by reconstructing in detail the plan of Theobalds, using evidence provided by primary documents.
Commencing in the late 1760s, cork models of classical monuments in Italy were purchased by wealthy British collectors while on their Grand Tour. Initially commissioned by tourists with specific antiquarian and architectural interests, the models were an expression of the collector's knowledge of classical history and of their Neoclassical sensibility. Models soon appeared in the Society of Antiquaries of London and the British Museum, in the private displays of Charles Townley and John Stuart, Earl of Bute, and in George III's royal collection. In the early 1800s, architect John Soane began purchasing models from the secondary market for his house museum. Interest in cork architectural models waned during the Nineteenth Century. Descendants of the original owners transferred them to public institutions, while museums that had at first enthusiastically welcomed the donations or made their own purchases, relegated the models to storage. In the twentieth century the majority of the models were discarded or lost. This paper explores the reasons for the enthusiastic acquisition of architectural cork models and their subsequent demise.
This article considers the late Georgian church and argues that this huge group of buildings, involving almost all the country's major architects, has never been properly assessed by historians. This is principally a result of the opprobrium heaped on these churches by the Ecclesiologists who needed them to be marginalised in order to promote their own agenda of church design and worship, and the view that they are largely worthless lives on in places, even today. The article proposes their re-evaluation, suggesting that judging them by the standards the Ecclesiologists applied retrospectively is both illogical and inevitably destined to produce verdicts of failure. Instead, it seeks to place these buildings within the context of late Georgian society, religious attitudes and especially the period's building world. It argues that the best of them, especially the big ‘town’ churches, display a high degree of intelligent, functional planning and a fascinating exploitation of new materials and structural innovations that do great credit to their designers.
The chapel in Dublin Castle, built between 1807 and 1815, was one of the most impressive ecclesiastical Gothic buildings of the pre-Pugin revival in the British Isles. It was commissioned by the viceregal establishment following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, and was closely associated with Church of Ireland objectives for post-Union Protestantism in Ireland. This essay investigates the patrons’ ambitions for the chapel, and discusses its design and execution by Francis Johnston, successor to James Gandon as the foremost architect of public buildings in Ireland. Reviewing the chapel within the context of the Union, the essay argues that the viceregal administration and the Church of Ireland were concerned to assert their authority and define their values, and that these were expressed in Gothic revival architecture which grafted progressive appreciation for medieval models onto Georgian taste, and in a comprehensive and unprecedented scheme of ecclesiastical sculpture. Ireland's political position within the Union was ambiguous, but it is argued here that the rebuilt chapel projected both unionist and imperialist gestures, and that, culturally, it was an expression of Britishness.
Historians have overlooked the ways in which architects perceived and used models during the nineteenth century. Drawing on a wide range of documentary sources, as well as drawings, prints and a surviving model, this essay examines how architectural models were deployed in the competition for the Royal Exchange and its design and construction (1839–44). Many figures saw models as important arbiters in choosing designs and, after the initial competition process, C.R. Cockerell and William Tite demonstrated the use of models as poetic and rhetoric tools in architectural practice. Drawing especially on the example of Tite's model of the Royal Exchange portico, which survives at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the essay discusses how architectural models played an important role in the social activities surrounding the profession including ceremonial events, conversazioni and international exhibitions.
The Tower of London is one of the most famous sites in the world, yet its recent architectural history has been almost entirely overlooked. This article represents the first attempt to explore the architectural approach taken by the Tower authorities at the turn of the twentieth century. It analyses the on-going programme of restoration undertaken by the Office of Works during this period in the context of the Tower's singular status as military garrison, historic monument and preeminent tourist attraction, and it considers the Office's stance in relation to increasing public and parliamentary interest in the preservation and restoration of historic buildings. Historic Royal Palaces' collection of architectural drawings offers an unexplored insight into the activities of the Office of Works during this time. Through a close reading of these drawings I show that, contrary to what has previously been supposed, the Office's interventions continued well past the radical restorations of the 1880s and into the twentieth century, as they sought to control the historical narrative of the site through its architecture.
Domestic interiors created during the Aesthetic Movement have often been interpreted in terms of the ideas of aesthetic autonomy associated with Théophile Gautier, Walter Pater and Joris-Karl Huysmans. This essay takes a different tack by analysing the aesthetic interior in light of concerns with health reform. It focuses on the writings and designs of architect E.W. Godwin (1833–86) who pursued interior design as part of an effort to foster a healthy life, one that consisted of hygiene, relief from urban stress, and an enlargement of the aesthetic responsiveness of his clients. He conceived of spare and calm interiors that were healthful alternatives to dust-infested Victorian clutter while concomitantly offering psychological respite from the ‘high-pressure, nervous times’ endemic to metropolitan life. This goal accords with Godwin's related interest in dress reform, a preoccupation that led to his participation in the Health Exhibition of 1884. By unpacking Godwin's specific contribution to the sanitary discussions that prevailed in Victorian Britain, I align the aesthetic interior with the central imperative of sanitary reform: promoting health through ameliorating Britain's urban environment.
Although the work of Edwin Lutyens has received careful scholarly study since the 1980s, his projects in Spain remain very little known. Unfortunately, Lutyens was unable to complete his Spanish commissions, mostly because of the deterioration of country's economy and social order in the 1930s, and this has played a major role in keeping these projects in the dark. Furthermore the devastation caused by the Civil War obliterated most of the evidence once held in Spanish archives.
This paper focuses on Lutyens's main commission in Spain, the palace of El Guadalperal, designed for the eighteenth Duke of Peñaranda as a country house on his estate in south west Spain. This decades-long commission, lasting from 1915 to 1934, represents a very significant and original work in Lutyens's output. The first version for the palace shows his capacity to adapt his architecture to the local climate and architectural traditions, while the second would have been, if built, his largest country house, approaching the grandeur and magnificence of the Viceroy's House in Delhi.