From the picturesque to the sublime: Henry Darbishire and the architecture of philanthropy

The name of the architect may not stick in the memory; his greatest work most certainly will. Like many people, I learned about the Columbia Market in Bethnal Green and its tragic fate thanks to Hermione Hobhouse’s Lost London. Somewhere in my mid-teens, I discovered the book in the reference room of Kingston-upon-Thames public libraryContinue reading “From the picturesque to the sublime: Henry Darbishire and the architecture of philanthropy”

J.P. Seddon at Birchington-on-Sea: from ‘Vigour and Go’ to Sweetness and Light

The subject of this post is a particular favourite of mine. Over the course of his long life, he was hugely industrious, not just in architecture but also in the applied arts – furniture, ceramics, stained glass, wall and ceiling painting, textiles and metalwork. Active as an author, polemicist and lecturer, he wrote almost prolificallyContinue reading “J.P. Seddon at Birchington-on-Sea: from ‘Vigour and Go’ to Sweetness and Light”

The Gothic horrors of a Victorian worthy – Charles Buxton and Foxwarren

The roots of the Gothic Revival extend as far into literature as they do into archaeology. The endeavours of one of its key progenitors, Horace Walpole (1717-1797), to recreate the Middle Ages in brick, wood, plaster and stone through his remodelling of Strawberry Hill were inextricably bound up with his evocations of the Middle AgesContinue reading “The Gothic horrors of a Victorian worthy – Charles Buxton and Foxwarren”