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Old Colonial Gothick Picturesque 1788—c. 1840 Victorian Neo-Elizabethan

  ROC020-01.jpg (95511 bytes) St Patrick's Catholic Church Sydney roc001c.jpg (66443 bytes)
  05 The Garrison Church 16 St. Patrick’s RC Church 06 Government House 
  roc009-con1.jpg (48746 bytes) eas003e.jpg (43009 bytes)
  08 Conservatorium of Music 03 Vaucluse House 44 Bronte House
  IW-StJohnsAshfield.jpg (64178 bytes)
  25 Carthona, Darling Point. 27 Lindesay, Darling Point. 017 St. John's, Ashfield
       
The ordered classicism which pervaded British eighteenth-century art and architecture contained the seeds of its opposite—rebellious romanticism. Bored by predictability, followers of fashionable taste began to luxuriate in states of pleasurable gloom and terror brought on by the melodramatic images of the Middle Ages conjured up by poets and novelists. Ignored for centuries, the ruins of medieval abbeys came to be noticed and admired, not in spite of their decay but because of it.
The Gothick (with an eighteenth-century k) style began in Britain as a free, imaginative adaptation of the architecture of the Middle Ages, with a sense of Rococo frothiness in its details. A Gothick building was often conceived as an intriguing point of interest in a landscape picturesquely contrived for the pleasure of its aristocratic landowner. Key buildings in the style were the sham ruins designed by Sanderson Miller in the mid-eighteenth century; Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole’s house (from ‘75° onwards); and Fonthill Abbey (1796— 1807), the astounding folly of a mansion designed by James Wyatt to satisfy the megalomania of Wilham Beckford. By the early i8oos John Nash, for whom Francis Greenway worked briefly, had built some houses in a none-too-serious medieval vein, but as the nineteenth century progressed the essentially hedonistic Gothick was ‘lost in a tide of passionate loyalty to medieval architecture allied to a deep religious faith’ (see VICTORIAN ACADEMIC GOTHIC), and the earlier mode was regarded as primitive.
In early nineteenth-century Australia, as in Britain and America, the flames of romantic medievalism were fuelled by the enormously popular novels of Walter Scott. The Gothick Picturesque style was seen as a most acceptable alternative to classicism for buildings that sought to express religiosity and venerability. As the Gothick style relied on a certain unpredictability, pattern books were used extensively as a source for ideas, none more than
J. C. Loudon’s Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, published in London in 1833.. Twentieth-century eyes tend to see the pseudo- medieval trappings of Gothick Picturesque buildings as ‘thin’ and ‘unscholarly’, but it should be remembered that archaeological correctness was not the principal aim of their designers and that a spirit of unabashed make-believe was often close to the surface.
   
  Quoted from:
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Austrlian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
RICHARD APPERLY, ROBERT IRVING, PETER REYNOLDS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOLOMON MITCHELL.
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.
 
  Former Government Stables. Sydney. Completed in 1821. Example of old colonial castellated gothic picturesque.
 

A 19th century engraving of an indigenous Australian encampment, representing the indigenous mode of life in the cooler parts of Australia before the arrival of Europeans

Sydney in about 1828, looking north over Hyde Park, Sydney towards the harbour.
   
   
   

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