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between the England of Edward I. and the England of Queen Victoria. If any body thinks there is, we can only advise him to read attentively through Blackstone's Commentaries and Lord Macaulay's History.
We have said that our style should not only be Gothic, but by preference English Gothic. We say merely by preference, because it is only common sense to draw upon the other kindred nations if our own stores fail us in any particular case. In our churches and our private houses we have but little occasion to do so, though we should make no kind of objection to borrowing some of those features of French or German churches and houses in which they certainly surpass our own.
In public secular buildings we are less rich, and may often be driven to seek for hints from other lands. Mr. Scott surely did wisely to draw the general conception of his design for the Foreign Office from the magnificent town-halls of the Netherlands. So did the architects of the new museum at Oxford no less wisely as regards the general conception of the grand front, whatever we say either as to the details or as to the rest of the building. If England, Belgium, Germany, and Northern France all fail us, we should not refuse to draw hints from the works of those who in the Gothic era were our fellowsubjects of Aquitaine. But this is as far as we can go. We must refuse to pass the Alps. Since Mr. Ruskin first began to abuse English and French Gothic, and to set up Italian in their stead, we have had a sort of counter-revolution against the true Gothic movement. Northern Gothic has been discovered to be “savage;" English Perpendicular to be “detestable;" St. Ouen's tower to be “ base;" buttresses are to be eschewed as “crutches;" towers are not to be crowned with pinnacles, because there ought to be “a monarch and his lowly train,” and for some inconceivable reason about the heads, leys, and horns of the Ruminantia.* These propositions have been demonstrated by putting forth a comparative view of an English and an Italian tower, in which the English tower, brought in to be beaten by its competitor, is not Canterbury, or Gloucester, or Wolverhampton, not Wrington, or Evercreech, or Wells, or Glastonbury, or North Petherton, not the tower of Magdalen or Merton,-neither of them surely unknown to him who is emphatically the “Oxford graduate,”—but the modern gateway turret of a Free-Church college at Edinburgh! Since then “ Italian Gothic" has been the rage.
it is not Gothic at all. To us it seems that the Italians judged very ill when they deserted their own glorious Romanesque for an attempt to innitate forms which they could not transplant in their purity. The
• Seven Lamps of Architecture, p. 115.
To our eye
Italian Gothic, to our taste, is not Gothic at all; it is the native Romanesque spoiled by the intrusion of one or two Gothic forms. You get the pointed arch, just as you do in Saracenic architecture, but both in Italian and Saracenic you get it without that appropriate system of ornament which the northern architects worked out for it. But even supposing that the Italian Gothic be good in Italy, there can be no need for us, with such stores of beauty north of the Alps, to transplant it into any Teutonic country. If we want models for brickwork, we need not go into Lombardy for them ; eastern England, northern Germany, and southern France, will supply us with brick churches and brick houses of the noblest kind. The churches of Toulouse and the manor houses of Norfolk are built of brick, and yet are as pure Gothic as Cologne Cathedral and Thornbury Castle. Still, with all these facts before our eyes, Italian Gothic has become a rage, and, strange to say, the ecclesiological school, once so ultra stiff in its nationality, has taken a leading part in its propagation. On the other hand, warning voices have not been wanting; Mr. Parker* especially, whom few men can surpass in knowledge of continental buildings, has come forward vigorously to recall us to the architecture of our own island. Of the Gothic buildings of the last two or three years, a very large number exhibit features which, so far from being English Gothic, are not Gothic at all. Such a building as that which has supplanted the late venerable and picturesque chapel of Balliol Colleget has lost nearly all true Gothic character. Perhaps it might be paying it too high a compliment to call it Italian; the odd sort of entablature which runs across its east end looks like an attempt of the architect to devise a new Grecian order. Nearly all the inferior architects have been bitten with this madness; even Mr. Scott himself has not always been quite unhurt. His combined genius and good sense, indeed, always preserve him from any prominent departure from the principles of the northern Gothic. His last great work, the noble chapel of Exeter College, a glorious contrast to that of Balliol, exhibits Teutonic architecture in a pure and perfect form. One or two only of the very minutest details just remind us that Mr. Scott has read Mr. Ruskin. So too, in his design for the Foreign Office, the general outline and composition are purely and nobly Teu
See especially two articles in the Gentleman's Magazine for March 1859, by Mr. Parker, and his son Mr. James Parker.
† The oddities of this building drew forth the felicitous name of “ the streakybacon style” from an undergraduate of a neighbouring college.
| Perfect and splendid as far as Mr. Scott is concerned. But his great work is sadly marred by the supposed necessities of the College refusing all opportunity for a west front, and condemning the magnificent apse to be almost con. cealed by the rector's house.
tonic; but here and there we find details which savour of the other side of the Alps. They are of very little importance indeed; they in no way affect the great questions at issue between Mr. Scott and his enemies; but they are just enough to show that even he has been, not carried away, but just shaken, by the force of the prevailing torrent. In his case, all that is wanted to satisfy the most strictly insular criticism, would be to change here and there a capital or a moulding, in which nontechnical eyes would hardly perceive the difference. But we cannot say that so easy a process would Anglicise or Teutonise
a all the works which have been built under the influence of Mr. Ruskin's theories.
We have now pretty well had our say both as to the comparative merits of Gothic and Italian, and as to the merits of Mr. Scott's design as a specimen of the Gothic style. Into the history of the competition we have not room to enter at length; and really, if we could give a whole Number to it, we should get utterly bewildered among the successive First Commissioners of Works, the judges, the professional judges, the assessors, the report of the committee, the three several competitions, and their three several and very varying class-lists. From our own point of view it might be enough to say that we hold Gothic to be the best style, and that by common consent, certainly by common consent of all officially concerned, Mr. Scott's is the best design in that style; and that it is not only the best design among
those sent in, but a thoroughly good design in itself. Still Mr. Scott and his supporters have been made the objects of such violent and such unscrupulous attacks, that we cannot belp saying a few words on one or two of the points which have most struck us in the personal controversy.
À fierce outcry has been raised against the late Government for selecting a design which did not win the first prize. To this there are several answers. The Government was in no way bound to take any of the designs sent in in the competition. This is clearly explained in the Report of the House of Commons' Committee. If it be asked, Why, then, have a competition at all? the answer is plain, that, among the designs sent in, it was probable that some one would be worthy of being executed as it stood, or nearly so; it was certain that the result of the competition, even if no one design was chosen, would be to throw great light on the requirements of the building, and on the capacity of the architects competing. A competition which did not produce a design which could be erected as it stood, might nevertheless reveal who was the best architect, and, in the worst case, it could not fail to draw out many hints for the proposed building. It was then open to the Government to choose which design it pleased; though we allow that, when the competitors were so eminent, and the prize designs so good, there would have been practical unfairness in passing them all by. Lord Palmerston, however, must think otherwise; he wanted to give the work to an architect who did not compete at all. But in choosing Mr. Scott's design, the late Government not only exercised a discretion fairly open to them; they really carried out the recommendation of the judges, the committee, and the committee's witnesses. Mr. Scott was placed by the professional judges second for the Foreign Office and second for the War Office; the first place in each competition being won by two different designs. This is really coming in first in the competition as a whole. Any Oxford or Cambridge examiner will tell you that a man who is second in two papers stands higher than a man who is first in one paper and nowhere in another. And the competition really must be looked on as one whole. It would never do to have the War Office and the Foreign Office in two different styles; it would hardly do to have them built by two different architects. Again, there was a wide difference of opinion as to the merit of some of the designs; for instance, that of Messrs. Coe and Hofland was placed first by one set of judges, and only sixth by another. But every body agreed in placing Mr. Scott very near the top; those who placed Messrs. Coe and Hofland first, placed Mr. Scott third; those who placed Messrs. Coe and Hofland sixth placed Mr. Scott second. Again, Mr. Scott is, by common consent, acknowledged to be, what nobody else is, first in his own class. Every set of judges, in every competition, places Mr. Scott's above all other Gothic designs; there is no such agreement as to the first place among the Italian designs. All this evidence of different kinds quite bears us out in the opinion which we have ourselves formed independently, that the greatest amount of aggregate merit belongs to Mr. Scott.
The competition was to be perfectly open in point of style. Therefore it is utterly unfair in Lord Palmerston to rail at Mr. Scott's design simply because it is Gothic. Theoretically it might have been better to have fixed the style beforehand, as was done in the case of the Houses of Parliament. Practically we think the course taken was the best, as giving Gothic a much fairer chance. And in another way also it was fairer. We prefer Gothic to Italian, but we do not prefer all Gothic to all Italian. We do not prefer such Gothic as the modern parts of Pembroke, University, and Balliol Colleges to such Italian as the noble hall and chapel of Queen's. We doubt whether we could ever bring ourselves to recommend the erection of an Italian building, but it is quite possible that we might, in an open competition, have given the first prize to an Italian design. The committee was most fairly appointed; it very properly included Mr. Beresford Hope; it no less properly included Mr. Tite. The committee worked very zealously and very fairly ; the examination of the witnesses was most creditable alike to the examiners and the examined. Even the honourable and artistic member for Bath had the opportunity of learning many things which he seems to have since taken the opportunity of forgetting. Hostile witnesses fairly confessed that Gothic was neither dearer nor more inconvenient than Italian; the committee most truly and fairly reported that, practically looked at, the two styles stood on an equality. It was not their business to recommend a particular architect; but in their tenth clause they make a plain statement of facts, from which no one can help drawing the inference that Mr. Scott really stood first. And yet, after all this, Lord Palmerston and Mr. Tite are not ashamed to take up again all the exploded objections which have been answered over and over again, and not least effectually in answers made in Mr. Tite's hearing, and recorded in a blue-book, which Lord Palmerston ought to have read. And now Lord Palmerston coolly expects Mr. Scott to withdraw the Gothic design which won him the appointment, and to make an Italian one instead. Lord Palmerston might as well be asked, perhaps better, to give up the policy which won him his appointment, and to take up another which his political convictions conscientiously reject. He might as well be asked, as the price of office, to be no longer "the minister of England,” but “ the minister of France, Russia, or Austria.” That Lord Palmerston knows or cares any thing about architecture, his own speeches sufficiently disprove; but it is convenient to attack his predecessor in office, and the matter, if dextrously treated, may win him an extra cheer in Exeter Hall. As for Mr. Tite, the best excuse for him is, that perhaps he may be of a Lacedæmonian turn, that the evidence was very long, that he may have forgotten the former part, and not have understood the latter.* If he rejects this judgment of charity, we can only hint another explanation. The conduct of other architects makes us think that two of a trade may agree.
Mr. Tite's constant tirades, in Parliament and out of Parliament, cannot but make us think of the words,
“Urit enim fulgore suo qui prægravat artes
Infra se positas.” Had Mr. Tite been less violent in his attacks on Mr. Scott, it
Οι δέ σφι τη πρώτη καταστάσει υπεκρίναντο τα μεν πρώτα λεχθέντα επιλεληθέναι, τα δε ύστερα ου συνιέναι. Herod. iii. 46.