Welcome to RIBApix!
You have no items in your basket.
Close
Filters
Search

Gothic Revival Style Guide

The Gothic Revival was a conscious movement that began in England to revive medieval Gothic forms, from the second half of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century. The 18th century examples were often domestic, with highly decorative interiors, seen at Strawberry Hill, making the style fashionable. By the early 1800s though, scholarship on medieval Gothic was growing, and a more archaeological approach emerges. This includes an increasing interest in preserving and restoring older buildings, with a need to understand the different styles of Gothic architecture. In 1817, the architect Thomas Rickman is one of the first to label the different styles of medieval architecture. He produces a chronology, entitled; ’An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of Architecture in England from the Norman Conquest to the Reformation’. In his account he divides the period into four parts; Norman style (1066-c.1190); Early English style (c.1190-c.1300): Decorated English (c.1300-c.1390): Perpendicular English (c.1390-c.1540).

These definitions were soon adopted and became the basic conceptual categories of the Gothic Revival for the rest of the 19th century.

But the key protagonist for the Gothic Revival by much of Victorian England was the architect, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852). After helping his father to survey and record medieval buildings he became convinced that Gothic architecture was not only superior aesthetically, but also morally to Classical architecture. In 1836 he published ‘Contrasts’, in which he compares different types of contemporary buildings with similar ones from the Middle Ages. For example, under ‘Contrasted Residences for the Poor’, a gracious medieval almshouse is contrasted with a contemporary prison. The book was a best seller, with many architects taking up the cause. The building of the Houses of Parliament cemented it as a national style, with many public buildings following suit and there was an ambitious programme of church building, including restoration. The revival lasted until the 1870s, when other historical revivals emerged.

What to look for in a Gothic Revival/Neo-Gothic building:

  • Pointed forms
  • irregular appearance
  • Variety of materials
  • Rich colours and decoration

Explore these galleries from the RIBA Collections illustrating the main features of Gothic Revival / Neo-Gothic Architecture

For further reading on the Gothic Revival below is a selection of books from the British Architectural Library on the subject:

  • Gothic revival architecture by Trevor Yorke. Library Reference: 72.036.4(42) // YOR
  • Gothic Revival worldwide: A. W. N. Pugin's global influence, edited by Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Jan de Maeyer, Martin Bressaini. Library Reference: 72.036.4 // GOT
  • Contrasts: and, The true principles of pointed or Christian architecture / A.W.N. Pugin; with introduction by Timothy Brittain-Catlin. Library Reference: 72.036.4 // PUG
  • George Frederick Bodley and the later Gothic Revival in Britain and America by Michael Hall. Library Reference: 72.036.4(42):92B // HAL
  • William Burges and the High Victorian dream by J. Mourdant Crook. Library Reference: 72.036.4(42):92B // CRO
  • The Gothic Revival by Chris Brooks. Library Reference: 72.036.4 // BRO
  • A.W.N. Pugin master of Gothic Revival by Megan Aldrich [et al.]. Library Reference: 72.036/4(42):92P // AWN
  • Pugin a Gothic passion, ed. Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright. Library Reference: 72.036.4(42):92P // PUG
  • The origins of the Gothic Revival, by Michael McCarthy. Library Reference: 72.034(42).8 // MAC

Style Guide written by Suzanne Waters

View as Grid List
Sort by

All Saints, Margaret Street, Fitzrovia, London

RIBA2919-27
Butterfield, William (1814-1900)

Keble College Chapel, Oxford

RIBA3146-41
Butterfield, William (1814-1900)

All Saints, Margaret Street, Fitzrovia, London

RIBA3465-60
Butterfield, William (1814-1900)

Rijksmuseum, Stadhouderskade 41, Amsterdam

RIBA3624-69
Cuypers, Petrus Josephus Hubertus (1827-1921)

Views of Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire: perspective from the south-east

RIBA3906
Wyatt, James (1746-1813)
NOTES: This was James Wyatt's last great Gothic house, finished on his death by his nephew Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville) who added the lower buildings on the right in the drawing. See RIBA95235 for Buckler's view of the house from the south-east at the time of Wyatt's death.

Design for Leeds Grammar School

RIBA3924
Barry, Edward Middleton (1830-1880)

Blickling Hall, Norfolk: design for a fireplace in the library

RIBA3975
Pollen, John Hungerford (1820-1902)

Church of the Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, London

RIBA4037
Bodley, George Frederick (1827-1907)
NOTES: Work on the construction of the church commenced in 1901 and was completed in 1907.

Park House, Park Place, Cardiff, seen from the west

RIBA4099
Burges, William (1827-1881)

Downton Castle, Downton-on-the-Rock, Herefordshire

RIBA5264
Knight, Richard Payne (1750-1824)
NOTES: Built by Richard Payne Knight, virtuoso, archaeologist and anthropologist, c.1772-1778, this house is one of the earliest contrived castellated castles. Knight was assisted in the early stages of building by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard.

Gothick villa, Holly Village, Highgate, London

RIBA6018
Darbishire, Henry Astley (1839-1908)
NOTES: Holly Village was designed by Henry Astley Darbishire for the philanthropist Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts. It consists of four detached houses and four pairs of adjoining cottages built around a green.

Tower Bridge, London

RIBA6058
Barry, Sir John Wolfe (1836-1918)
NOTES: This bridge over the Thames was designed by Sir Horace Jones and engineered by Sir John Wolfe Barry.

Albert Memorial, Kensington Gore, London, seen from the south

RIBA6067
Scott, Sir George Gilbert (1811-1878)

St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London

RIBA6088
Pearson, John Loughborough (1817-1897)

St Andrew, Ombersley, Worcestershire

RIBA6756
Rickman, Thomas (1776-1841)

Church of St Lawrence, Lighthorne

RIBA7169
Gibson, John (1817-1892)

Columbia Market, Bethnal Green, London

RIBA7367
Darbishire, Henry Astley (1839-1908)

All Saints, Chapel Street, St Kilda

RIBA7608
Billing, Nathaniel (1821-1910)
NOTES: The church was designed by Billing and opened in 1861. The east end was completed to designs by Wyatt in the 1870s.

Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London: the Long Gallery with Gothick fan-vaulted ceiling

RIBA9224
Chute, John (1701-1776)
NOTES: Horace Walpole purchased Strawberry Hill, a follly, in 1747 and spent until 1776 expanding and redecorating it to his own specifications. He was assisted by two friends, the amateur architect, John Chute, and the draughtsman, Richard Bentley. William Robinson of the Royal Office of Works oversaw the construction.

Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London: detail of the Gothick fan-vaulted ceiling of the Long Gallery

RIBA9225
Chute, John (1701-1776)
NOTES: Horace Walpole purchased Strawberry Hill, a follly, in 1747 and spent until 1776 expanding and redecorating it to his own specifications. He was assisted by two friends, the amateur architect, John Chute, and the draughtsman, Richard Bentley. William Robinson of the Royal Office of Works oversaw the construction.

Quantock Lodge, Over Stowey, Somerset

RIBA11185
Clutton, Henry (1819-1893)

Black Church (or St Mary's Chapel of Ease), Mountjoy Street, Dublin

RIBA11657
John Semple & Son
NOTES: The building is now offices.

Hafod House, near Pontarfynach: the south-west front

RIBA11812
Baldwin, Thomas (1750-1820)
NOTES: The house was built originally by Baldwin (begun 1786) for Thomas Johnes (1748-1816). A library and conservatory were added by John Nash 1793-1794. A disastrous fire in 1807 destroyed all of NashÔÇÖs work, but the house was rebuilt by Baldwin (1807-1810) retaining NashÔÇÖs library. A large extension was added by Anthony Salvin in 1846-1851 and the house was altered again from 1872. The estate declined in the early 20th century and the house was abandoned in 1942. It was demolished in 1956.
Close
)
CLOSE