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Title: The French Renaissance revival in British architecture, 1824-1914
Author: Bassett, D. J. D.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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The French Renaissance revival in British architecture, 1824-1914, is a history of the revival in secular and domestic architecture of a range of French historical styles (sixteenth- to eighteenth-century), for both interiors and exteriors, beginning with the revived Louis quatorze of the 1820s and ending with the Neo-Grec style, which was associated in the Edwardian era with the Beaux-Arts influence in architectural planning and composition, as well as in education and civic design. Between these extremes lay such revivals as the decorative Francois Premier and the Loire chateau styles; most wide-spread of all was the influence of the Louvre and the hotel de Ville of Paris. This broad scope is partly determined by the fact that architects tended to combine motifs from different periods in a single building, making the isolation of any one revived French style unrealistic, and partly by the continuity possessed by the movement as a whole which paralleled that of Victorian and Edwardian architecture generally. Within a basically chronological framework, the revival is described in its evolution away from a superficial concern for motifs unrelated to the building plan, towards the absorption of Beaux-Arts principles of homogeneous composition. At the same time an investigation of the reasons for the popularity of these particular styles suggests for them a more important role in Victorian architecture than is usually recognised. The sheer volume of output in itself demands attention; but it is argued that in another sense the French styles were literally central to Victorian architecture. Like the Queen Anne movement, with which they were closely allied, they were seen as a compromise between Gothic and Classic and therefore as a possible solution to the problem of a style truly appropriate to the nineteenth century. In addition to such theory, the thesis investigates the relationship (aesthetic and associational) between style and environment, including the reasons for the earlier appearance of the Loire style in Scotland than in England. Matters of patronage, politics, economics and materials are dealt with, while special attention is paid to the literature of the movement. The importance which many Victorians themselves attached to the French styles; the influence of Beaux-Arts principles upon modern architecture; and most of all the spirited excellence of certainin individual buildings make reappraisal of this movement overdue.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available