Two hundred years ago today was born one of the most important figures in the history of architecture and the decorative arts: Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. This is the first in a series of posts about Pugin and his work.
The son of the French émigré Augustus Charles Pugin (who himself was an architectural draughtsman and topographical watercolourist), AWN Pugin is arguably the greatest British architect, designer and writer of the nineteenth century. Pugin was responsible for an enormous quantity of buildings, and also for countless beautiful designs for tiles, sacred vestments and paraments, metalwork, furniture, wallpaper, stained glass and ceramics. Some of his best known work includes the magnificent interiors of the Houses of Parliament, the church of St Giles, Cheadle, in Staffordshire, and his own house, The Grange, in Ramsgate (Kent), together with the nearby church of St Augustine, which he built and paid for himself and where he is buried.
Through his buildings, designs, and particularly his forceful and witty writings, such as Contrasts (1836) and the True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841), he made people think in a new way about what architecture was. Pugin taught that only a caring and "good" society can raise buildings that are truly honest and beautiful. For him, Gothic architecture was the greatest style of building, and therefore the Middle Ages, the period in which these buildings were conceived, must be the closest man can get to a perfect society. Pugin's beliefs and ideas have implications beyond his own immediate preferences, and so for many reasons he was, and is, therefore, hugely influential, both on other architects and designers of the Gothic Revival throughout the Victorian era and also on many subsequent architects, theorists and writers.
The above paragraphs were adapted from the website of The Pugin Society:
Below are some other links descriptive of Pugin and his work: