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Victorian Architecture

Author : James Stevens Curl

Publisher : Newton Abbot: David & Charles Publishers plc, 1990
ISBN: 0-7153-9144-5 (pbk)

This book is a celebration of the great variety found in Victorian architecture, examining in detail the main stylistic themes of the age: Gothic Revival, Classical, Romanesque, Italianate and Free Style, all of which are too often dismissed as derivative. The author, an established authority on the subject, argues that Victorian buildings are very much a product of their own age and cannot be confused with those of earlier periods. His vivid and concise text, together with a wealth of attractive illustrations and photographs, will enable all those interested in the Victorian age to look at the architecture around them with a more informed and discerning eye.



‘Curl’s new book ... begins with a laudatio of the Victorian City and the chiding of later trends of suburbanization. (It) attempts to present a neat survey of the whole its price and with its very numerous and well-chosen illustrations (specially interesting are some lesser-known buildings in Northern Ireland), is very welcome, even more so because of the fact that, again, books on Victorian architecture are few and far between’.

Stefan Muthesius in the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Newsletter 44 (Summer 1991) 13-14

‘With over 200 illustrations, many taken by the author, Victorian Architecture is the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey of the subject now in print. Curl is particularly strong on the European context of Victorian architecture. Familiar with developments in France and Germany, he is also unusually thorough on Irish architecture, so that Belfast, for example, emerges more strongly than in other accounts of the subject. [Victorian Architecture] ... is a delight ... combining impeccable scholarship with lively interpretation.’

David Watkin in Apollo (February 1991)

‘Curl marshals his facts and the well-chosen illustrations skilfully to range over a chronological and geographical panorama which includes all the major figures and buildings and a good proportion of minor ones...’

Derek Linstrum in The Journal of the Royal Society of Arts cxxxviii/5409 (August 1990) 645

‘Both the influence, of E.-E. Viollet-le-Duc and the Scottish-Baronial style are duly described in the course of two substantial chapters entitled “The Question of Style” that makes up most of the first part of Curl’s Victorian Architecture; so too, necessarily, are other setters of aesthetic trends, Pugin and Ruskin, and a range of other fashions in building, from the Egyptian Revival through the Rundbogenstil to the Arts and Crafts movement.’

Nicholas Adams in The Times Literary Supplement (27 July-2 August 1990)

‘Professor Curl’s spirited survey ... is ... aimed at the general reader ... The text is enlivened by some excellent photographs, many of them taken by the author ... The book is provided with a useful bibliography.’

Martin Cherry in English Heritage (June 1990)
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