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Gothic Revival Architecture Before Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill

Lindfield, Peter (2020) Gothic Revival Architecture Before Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill. In: The Cambridge History of the Gothic : Volume 1: The Long Eighteenth Century. Cambridge University Press, pp. 97-119. ISBN 9781108472708

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Abstract

The Gothic Revival is generally considered to have begun in eighteenth-century Britain with the construction of Horace Walpole’s villa, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, in the late 1740s. As this chapter demonstrates, however, Strawberry Hill is in no way the first building, domestic or otherwise, to have recreated, even superficially, some aspect of the form and ornamental style of medieval architecture. Earlier architects who, albeit often combining it with Classicism, worked in the Gothic style include Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, William Kent and Batty Langley, aspects of whose works are explored here. While not an exhaustive survey of pre-1750 Gothic Revival design, the examples considered in this chapter reveal how seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Gothic emerged and evolved over the course of different architects’ careers, and how, by the time that Walpole came to create his own Gothic ‘castle’, there was already in existence in Britain a sustained Gothic Revivalist tradition.

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