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Gothic Survival

Gothic Survival. Continuation of Gothic elements in architecture in C16 and C17, of which St-Eustache, Paris (1532–1640), the Chapel at Lincoln's Inn, London (c.1619–23), the Cathedral of St Columb, Londonderry (1628–33), and the Hall staircase, Christ Church, Oxford (c.1640), are important examples. In England, the tradition of Gothic, designed and built by masons, continued, having survived both the Reformation and the upheavals of the Civil War and the Commonwealth. One of those places was Oxford, but there were plenty of churches or parts of churches that were erected in Gothic elsewhere: examples include Low Ham Church, Som. (consecrated 1669), the tower of Condover Church, Salop. (1662–79), and the central tower of Sherston Church, Wilts. (1730–3—by Thomas Sumsion (c.1672–1744) ). In London, however, after the fire of 1666, the monopoly of the Company of Masons was undermined because many artisans (not associated with that company) had to be employed in the works, and they laboured under Wren's direction using the architectural language of Classicism from Europe, not the ancient language of Gothic. Gothic survived in areas where there was good building stone (the West, the North, and parts of the Midlands), and was kept alive by masons working on repairs to churches or building new ecclesiastical work. Gothic certainly survived as a living tradition well into C18: it was the fact that masons lost ground to architects, that architects pushed the newfangled Classicism from the Continent, and that when architects turned their hands to Gothic the results bore little resemblance to that real Gothic tradition which had been kept going by masons, which spelled the end of Gothic Survival. The acceptance of International Modernism by architects in C20 had an even more devastating effect on traditional craftsmanship and skills. When the Gothic Revival proper got under way, Gothic had to be relearned, and only gradually was lost ground recovered, largely through painstaking scholarship, such as that of Bloxam and Rickman.

Bibliography

Colvin (1999);
J. Curl (1986);
Eastlake (1970)

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