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found by this standard to be the better, is necessarily the better for all purposes; and that it is unreasonable to talk of one style being better for a Cathedral, and another for a Foreign Office. If we survey the whole history of art, we shall find this notion, of one style for religious, and another for secular purposes, is utterly without precedent any where. In old Greece, at Rome, in mediæval Europe, temples, houses, public buildings, were all built in one and the same style. Shape and proportion of course varied, but style was one. Á Greek or Roman house had a very different plan from a Greek or Roman temple; but a house of sufficient dignity to possess colonnades, had colonnades of the same kind of pillars as those in a temple. So it was in the days of Gothic art; houses were built in exactly the same style as churches. And not only were houses built in the saine style as churches, but “the sacred details of Christian art” were profaned by being employed in the temples of another worship. Where the Jews were allowed sufficient freedom, they built themselves synagogues, and those synagogues* were, like all other contemporary buildings, Gothic. So when Italian supplanted Gothic, it supplanted it in churches no less than in houses. Perhaps it never quite supplanted it in either; but Sir Christopher Wren did not say “Italian for houses, Gothic for churches;” when he built Gothic in either, it was not by his own choosing. Whether in any or all of these periods civil architecture was most influenced by religious, or religious by civil, it is really idle to examine. Probably in all cases the civil was most influenced by the religious, simply because the temples of every style were its noblest buildings. But this does not prove Gothic, any more than Italian, to be, in the strange phrase of some of its enemies, “a church style.” The real point is, that in all ages of good architecture, the religious and the civil style have always been the same.
This last remark leads us to another misconception, which has done much to discredit the cause of secular Gothic in EngJand. People do not realise the fact that Gothic ever was a prevalent civil style. Mr. Parker's beautiful volumes on Engfish Domestic Architecture come in most opportunely to drive away this error. His book opens to us a vast store of exquisite remains of mediæval civil architecture, still existing in our own country, and gives some glimpses of the far richer stores which exist in other lands. The popular ignorance on this subject is truly amazing. Our land is still studded with beautiful fragments of mediæval domestic art; only the difficulty is, to make
* Mr. Scott, in his Faithful Restoration of Ancient Churches, has given a most striking account of the mediaval synagogue in Prague, of the best Gothic work.
people believe that they are domestic. Every practical antiquary knows how inveterate is the notion that every mediæval building must be a church, or at all events an abbey. Good plain manor-houses are said to have been lived in by monks; halls are shown as chapels; the least fragment of a Gothic door
a or window is at once set down as part of an ecclesiastical building. Some zealots, some years back, raised a storm of abuse against the magistrates of Hampshire for having the assizes held in a “desecrated church;" the desecrated church being no other than the great hall of the king's palace at Winchester, It is hard to guess whether people fancy that all their forefathers were perjured monks, or whether they think that the mediæval laity lived in tents or in dens and caves of the earth. This notion of the specially ecclesiastical character of Gothic is in truth a mere superstition, like the notions about confessionals and subterranean passages; but it is a superstition which is just now doing a great deal of practical harm.
The cause of this error doubtless is, that though the remains of Gothic domestic architecture in England are positively very abundant, yet they are but few and far between when compared with the ecclesiastical remains. For a parish to possess a Gothic church is the common rule; but for the parish also to contain an ancient Gothic house, is, except in some particular counties, the exception. You may go through large towns containing several fine Gothic churches, and not see so much as a fragment of Gothic domestic detail. But this is simply because the domestic buildings have been so much more extensively destroyed than the ecclesiastical. In many districts houses were commonly of wood; in all, their actual accommodation was small and mean compared with what modern refinement or luxury requires. Hence our Gothic houses have very commonly perished. And again, our English towns never acquired during the middle ages that amount of commercial wealth, or of local independence, which could lead to the erection, as in the cities of the Netherlands, of civic public buildings rivalling the proudest minsters in architectural splendour. In England our domestic remains are for the most part small and fragmentary. But in France it is not so. Look at Rouen, with its Palace of Justice; look at Bourges, with its house of Jaques Cour; look at Limoges and Perigueux and St. Emilion, where some specimen of Gothic domestic work meets you at every step, where there are almost more mediæval houses than there are later ones. Still less is it so in the old free cities of Germany, and in the hardly less free cities of Flanders and Brabant. The fact is simply this,-in the middle ages, an English town was commonly less rich than a continental one; now the case is reversed.
The consequence is twofold: the English mediæval houses were at once less worth preserving than the continental ones, and there has been more wealth able to be laid out in rebuilding them. Hence domestic Gothic has, in this purely accidental way, becoine much rarer in this country than on the Continent, and hence people, seeing Gothic churches constantly, and Gothic houses but seldom, have fallen into the very erroneous notion that Gothic is a specially ecclesiastical style.
Closely connected with this mistake is one still more fatally impeding the cause of civil Gothic architecture,—the notion, which we have already mentioned, that it has been fairly tried, and has failed. Up to this time it is certainly true that the Gothic revival has been much less successful with houses than with churches. This is owing to several causes. It is only quite lately that any of our best Gothic architects have seriously turned their attention to domestic work. Mr. Scott had won high fame as an ecclesiastical architect before he either wrote his most thoughtful and practical book on Domestic Architecture, or had himself produced any important Gothic secular building. The commonwealth of Hamburg did not choose him to rebuild their senate-house till they had already tried his skill in the splendid church of St. Nicholas. Any thing like a real revival of civil Gothic is very recent indeed. An attempt at it, indeed, actually preceded the ecclesiastical revival; but its products were something worse even than the worst of modern Gothic churches. And no wonder, for there were at least plenty of ancient Gothic churches for the revivalists to imitate, while they seem to have been absolutely ignorant that there were any Gothic houses. The only Gothic buildings of which people seem to have had any notion at the beginning of this century were abbeys and castles. Hence arose the folly so justly and so unmercifully lashed by Mr. Pugin. People wanted to build Gothic houses; and by way of Gothic houses they lodged themselves, some in sham abbeys, and others in sham castles. Undoubtedly, some of our very noblest examples of domestic architecture are to be found within the walls of our medieval castles; such buildings, for instance, as the halls of Conway, Chepstow, and Caerphilly. But of course a castle, looked at as a whole, is an utterly inappropriate model for a modern house; yet the “Gothic architects of those days thought it essential to Gothicism to give you all the gateways and towers and turrets which Edward I. had found necessary to keep down the turbulent countrymen of Llwelyn. To be sure, in many cases they looked very like a gingerbread or card-board imitation, but there they were; an Englishman's house is his castle, and why should he not make it look like what it is? The buildings thus produced were
intensely ludicrous, because intensely unreal, as pieces of architecture; and they moreover proved any thing but convenient as modern dwelling-houses. Vagaries of this sort naturally brought Gothic civil architecture into discredit. Then came the great experiment of the Houses of Parliament, which supplies the anti-Gothic party with their most constantly-repeated argument. “ Gothic has been tried in the Houses of Parliament, and Gothic has failed ; the Houses of Parliament are uncomfortable and inconvenient; therefore we will have no more Gothic for our public buildings.” This argument, or rather this fallacy, has been answered over and over again; but the oftener it is answered, the oftener it is repeated unaltered,-according to the style of logic which Lord Macaulay attributes to James II. We must therefore ask our readers to bear with us while we answer it yet again, even at the risk of saying what they may have heard or read half-a-dozen times already.
Now, first of all, whether the objections to the Houses of Parliament are well or ill founded, -and we suspect they are not all quite so well founded as is sometimes taken for granted, -a good many of them have nothing to do with styles of architecture at all. The building may be ill ventilated; but good or bad ventilation has nothing whatever to do with the question between Gothic or Italian. A round arch and a pointed one allow exactly the same freedom of passage to a given current of air. The building may be incommodious, but that is not the fault of its architectural style. If Sir Charles Barry has any where sacrificed the practical objects of the building to any notion of the æsthetical requirements of the style, he has therein sinned against an architectural law higher than any controversies about particular styles. Neither Gothic nor Italian, in the hands of a master of either, requires any such sacrifice. If such be the case, it is not Gothic which is in fault, but Sir Charles Barry's false conception of the requirements of Gothic. Again, the building is said to be needlessly costly. And no wonder. It is overloaded with masses of ornament copied from Henry VII.'s Chapel, which we feel sure that no mediæval architect would have thought of adding to a building of this nature.
Secondly, granting that Gothic has practically failed in the hands of Sir Charles Barry, that affords no sort of presumption that it will fail in the hands of Mr. Scott. We do not wish to speak a single disrespectful word of Sir Charles. Compared with the ideal perfection of a Gothic building, his work is certainly a failure; but, under the circumstances of the case, it is a very great success. It is not positively good, but it is highly creditable to Sir Charles Barry that it is not much worse. Sir Charles Barry's whole experience, his whole sympathies, lay in
another line; he was an Italian architect working in Gothic against the grain : real success in such a case was impossible; he did not even succeed so far as his great predecessor Wren did in the like case. Wren despised Gothic, and knew nothing of Gothic detail ; but he had the eye of a consummate architect. When constrained to work in Gothic, he caught at once the general conception of what he was to produce. His towers, both at Westminster and at Warwick, have the true Gothic outline, though their details are wretched beyond expression. Sir Charles Barry, on the other hand, has given us a front whose general feeling is Italian, and has overlaid it with Gothic detail of a purity unknown to Sir Christopher. But we must remember, it is twenty years since-twenty years of unspeakable
-importance in the bistory of art. Twenty years ago many of our rising architects were children; Mr. Scott himself was far from being what he is now. The true principles of Gothic architecture, above all, of civil Gothic architecture, were then so little known, that we very much doubt whether a better design could then have been had. Sir Charles Barry had at any rate sense enough to preserve him from any monstrous absurdity; he knew that he was building a house and not a church. He did not, like one of his competitors,—whose name we forget, but who afterwards published his designs,-send in a composition which we can only describe as two French cathedrals running full tilt against one another. Of his two towers, indeed, one, we think, is ugly in itself, the other is too ecclesiastical. But these are really small charges to bring against a design now almost a generation old. The building at least proclaims itself to be what it is, a great civil public building. We may be very thankful that it is not a sham minster or a sham castle. But had it been bad with the badness of that yet earlier state of things, even that would prove nothing against Gothic in 1860 in the hands of Mr. Scott. Nothing but wilful blindness can shut its eyes to the fact, that the twenty years of architectural study which have intervened, -we should add, the far greater architectural genius of Mr. Scott,-just make all the difference between the two cases. There is no knowing what may happen ; Mr. Scott may fail as well as Sir Charles Barry; but, at any rate, let us be fair and logical. Sir Charles Barry has failed; his failure does not afford the slightest presumption that Mr. Scott will be equally unlucky.
These are the main objections; there are a few more trifling ones, which we may clear off in a very summary way. To admire Gothic art, especially to support Mr. Scott's design, is held to be the badge of a sect or a party; sometimes it would seem political, and sometimes religious. This is a development of the