St John and the Victorians

The Victorians
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On the exterior of the church, Butterfield removed the crumbling stucco that had been added in and re-faced the church walls with flint flushwork.

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At Lichfield Cathedral , the 18th century had been a period of decay: the 15th-century library was pulled down, most of the statues on the west front were removed, and the stonework covered with Roman cement. After some structural work early in the 19th century by James Wyatt , the ornate west front pictured above was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

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This original interdisciplinary study of the cultural afterlife of John in Victorian Britain places literature, the visual arts and music in their religious context. Wheeler. Buy St John and the Victorians by Michael Wheeler (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible.

It includes many ornate carved figures of kings, queens and saints, created from original materials where possible and new imitations and additions when the originals were not available. Wyatt's choir-screen had utilised medieval stone-work which Scott in turn used to create the clergy's seats in the sanctuary.

A new metal screen by Francis Skidmore and John Birnie Philip to designs by Scott was installed, as was a Minton tile pavement stretching from choir screen to altar, inspired by medieval tiles found in the Choir foundations. In Scott wrote a book A plea for the faithful restoration of our Ancient Churches , in which he stated that "as a general rule it is highly desirable to preserve those vestiges of the growth and history of buildings which are indicated by the various styles and irregularities of its parts".

However he did not follow this principle in practice, generally sweeping away all later changes and reconstructing the church in a uniform early style, sometimes on the evidence of just one remaining early feature. There were opponents. The Reverend John Louis Petit was a staunch and well respected opponent from his first book, Remarks on Church Architecture until his death in The Archaeological Society was founded in by Antiquarians anxious to bring the love of old buildings to a wider audience. Although John Ruskin was generally in favour of new buildings in an early Gothic style, [30] in he wrote in The Seven Lamps of Architecture that it was not possible "to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture".

The Society of Antiquaries of London urged in that "no restoration should ever be attempted, otherwise than Despite his opposition, though, it is known that Morris profited greatly by his firm's provision of stained glass to many restoration projects, [32] and it has been noted that his criticism only started after his firm was securely established as a supplier to these projects.

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Further opposition came from evangelical Protestants, who believed that "ornamental carved work, decorative painting, encaustic tiles, and stained glass were foolish vanities which lead the heart astray", [34] and from others who were concerned about the cost: "For the cost of one stone church with a groined roof, or even an open timbered roof, two might be built in brick with plaster ceilings; and who could dare to say that worship in the plainer building would be less devout or sincere than that which was offered in the other? Not all Catholics were in favour either: late in his life Cardinal Wiseman made it clear that his preference was for Renaissance art, as might be expected of a religious order of Italian origin.

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From a 20th-century perspective the process of Victorian restoration has often been viewed unfavourably, with terms such as "ruthless", "insensitive" and "heavy-handed" being commonly used to describe the work done. In the introduction to his book The Gothic Revival first published in , Kenneth Clark wrote "The real reason the Gothic Revival had been neglected is that it produced so little on which our eyes can rest without pain".

Clark pointed out that Decorated was the most difficult to execute, [40] not least because of the complicated window tracery that set it apart from the other two Gothic styles.

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However, not all restoration work was purely negative: a side effect of a number of restorations was the rediscovery of long-lost features, for instance Anglo-Saxon carving that had been incorporated into Norman foundations, [41] or wall-paintings that had been whitewashed over, at St Albans Cathedral. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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St Albans Cathedral before and after restoration in The amateur architect Lord Grimthorpe 's rebuilding of the west front destroyed the cathedral's perpendicular architectural features, replacing them with his own designs. These are considered unsympathetic to the fabric of the building, and were criticised by commentators even at the time. My first church dates from the same year with the foundation of the Cambridge Camden Society, to whom the honour of our recovery from the odious bathos is mainly due.

I only wish I had known its founders at the time. The Church's Restoration In eighteen-eighty-three Has left for contemplation Not what there used to be.

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And now attend to me, such as I am, and you shall see what you shall see about the barbarity and profligacy of the Inquisitors of Rome. In the conclusion of the Apologia , Newman expressed sympathy for the Liberal Catholicism of Charles de Montalembert and Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire : "In their general line of thought and conduct I enthusiastically concur, and consider them to be before their age. Catholics greeted them with enthusiasm. Newman took the initiative and booked the Birmingham Corn Exchange for a series of public lectures. Manchester University Press. The injustice of the verdict was widely recognised:.

Thomas The Cathedral Church of St Albans. English Cathedrals. Every contribution the non-profit organisation makes in servicing the community is made possible thanks to the continuous support of its paid service offerings from Victorians across the state. Select Region Ballarat Surfcoast Bellarine. Latest News.

Concrete Church, Victorian 'Restoration', John Ruskin and Semantics!

Sep 19, WSL launches challenge series. Larsen documented the pervasiveness of the Bible, especially the King James version, in the Victorian age.

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Wheeler extends this argument with an analysis of exactly how one book of the Bible appealed to Victorian painters, hymnodists, poets, essayists, and biblical critics. The Book of John is the most enigmatic of the four gospels, containing stories—not found in the other three—that are puzzling and lacking in coherence.


The origins of these enigmas do not much matter to Wheeler because they did not matter for liberal Christians of the Victorian age, who discounted the importance of historical accuracy and reinterpreted the stories in John for their emotional truths. Accounts of Jesus turning water into wine, embracing the woman at the well, raising Lazarus from the dead, instructing John to care for his mother Mary after his death, and—most important of all—appearing as the risen Christ first to Mary Magdalene: all provided opportunities for liberal Victorian Christians to defend the Bible for its emotional truth.

Some liberal Christians identified Mary Magdalene as the true founder of Christianity, a woman with a vision of the risen Christ that spread to others and created a new religion. Many Victorians of course believed in the literal accuracy of the Book of John, but they could unite with those who dismissed the importance of historical accuracy in stressing the moral and emotional power of these stories. Wheeler is more interested in the established church than in other denominations, which leads him at some points to confuse Anglicanism with the churchgoing nation. The census of church attendance shocked many people when it showed that only half the nation attended church, and only half of church-goers were Anglican, but those figures are transformed by Wheeler into a nation that was fifty percent church-going Anglican, all reading from the Book of Common Prayer.

In fact, roughly half of all church-goers attended a nonconformist chapel in , and the social divide between Anglican and nonconformist was far more important than the divide between Roman Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.