Friday, 7 November 2014

Mini Masterpiece

What really floats your boat, architecturally? For me there are a few things: wrought iron, old brick walls, lots of glass, towers and turrets, everything Arts & Crafts... I could go on, but I think the picture of me as a bit of a romantic is emerging. One thing I really love is tiles. So when I spotted this Victorian Gothic Revival gem at St Paul's Church, Canterbury, at the Knit & Crochet Social last week I was enthralled (the stained glass was just stunning too, but my little phone ran out of space so I didn't get any snaps of that).

I did a bit of googling and discovered that this pretty ancient church was given an overhaul by Sir George Gilbert Scott. I often wish I had a lot better working knowledge of the personalities that shaped our architectural heritage, so I did a little research into him too, and discovered that, embarrassingly, he was a master whose name I did not know.

I know some of his work, as I'm sure many people do: the Albert Memorial, the St Pancras Hotel... he even did some restoration work on Canterbury Cathedral. The man was prolific, and despite a depressing catalogue of workhouses and prisons (showing just what a man of his time he was), his catalogue of beautiful creations is immense, and according to Wikipedia he worked as far afield as Bombay and New Zealand.

Interestingly, he seems to have been a keen exponent of the (very pagan) tradition of incorporating a Green Man, or Jack in the Green, into his religious buildings. I am a bit of a fan of the folk tradition of the Green Man, so much so that I have often daydreamed about getting a tattoo of one... Sometimes I just wish is was a Green Woman.


In the interests of educating myself, and enjoying the sight of some more Victorian beauty, I'm planning to try to visit some more of his creations.

Unfortunately, St Paul's Church is not generally open to the public, but if you are ever nearby and have the opportunity to glance in, I urge you do so.

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