Sydney Architecture Images- Search by style
Victorian Academic Gothic c. 1840—c. 1890
|21 St Philip's Church||22 All Saints, Parramatta||02 St. Mary’s Cathedral|
|015 Christ Church St. Lawrence||04 Hunter Baillee Presbyterian Church|
|020 St Barnabas||02 The
Anderson Stuart Building
|In one of the most extraordinary
transformations in the history of architecture, the Gothick Picturesque
style, a fashionable toy for the amusement of the British aristocracy in the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, became the Gothic style of
the Victorian era, an idiom imbued with a potent mixture of nationalism and
morality. Much of the high seriousness of Victorian Gothic came from the
passionate convictions of two men: the Roman Catholic convert Augustus Welby
Northmore Pugin and the nature-loving writer John Ruskin. Through them,
Gothic was seen as not just a style of architecture but as a repository of
truth and goodness. Working with Charles Barry, Pugin provided all the
medieval details for Victorian Gothic’s greatest monument, the Houses of
Parliament in London. George Gilbert Scott, G. E. Street, William
Butterfield and J. L. Pearson were some of the architects who helped to
carry the Gothic torch through to the end of the century.
In the cause of ‘authenticity’, Victorian Gothic drew heavily on the scholarly studies of surviving medieval buildings made throughout the nineteenth century. Architects had no compunction in reproducing motifs and details from the Middle Ages, but this should not blind us to the originality present in the best work of the nineteenth century—for instance, Butterfield’s aggressive polychromy and Pearson’s spatial explorations.
It was fortunate for Australia that some English architects of genuine talent had come to this country and were able to design fine cathedrals and churches in the Victorian Gothic style. The two most significant figures were William Wardell, designer of St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in Melbourne [i6o] and St Mary’s, its counterpart in Sydney, and Edmund Blacket, who completed St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, designed the main buildings at the University of Sydney, and was responsible for dozens of suburban and country churches. In spite of this fine local talent, architects resident in Britain were commissioned to design cathedrals in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. It would be fair to say that these buildings suffered from the fact that their designing architects were half a world away.
In Australia, Victorian Gothic is essentially a masonry style, and interesting contrasts may be seen between, say, the bluestone of Melbourne and the sandstone of Sydney. Internally, churches usually display timber roof construction; stone vaulting was hardly ever attempted. While the style was not completely confined to ecclesiastical buildings, the principal significance of Victorian Gothic in Australia is that it provided the nation with an extensive stock of fine cathedrals and churches which continue to be greatly valued in the late twentieth century.
"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.
|St Paul's Cathedral. Melbourne|
|St Patrick's Cathedral. Melbourne|
|St Peter's Cathedral. Adelaide. Completed 1901.|