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Gothick Picturesque Architecture 1788—c. 1840 Victorian Neo-Elizabethan

Inveraray Castle in 2005. Fonthill Abbey — also known as Beckford's Folly — was a large Gothic revival country house built at the turn of the 19th century in Wiltshire, England, at the direction of William Thomas Beckford. The 90m tower was completed 3 times and collapsed 3 times. The building was later demolished. Imitation fan-vaulting in the Gothick Long Gallery at Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill
Fonthill Abbey Fonthill Abbey central octagon Staircase, Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire
James Wyatt, architect (1796-1806)
Government House, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney
Vaucluse House, Sydney City Hall, Northampton, MA, USA  
The revival of the Gothick style and the developments of naturalistic gardens took place at the same time. Indeed, Gothic buildings and architectural devices played a key part in those landscapes…Gothic ruins played an important role… Those ruins were either genuine or “created”. In Yorkshire in the 1750s and 1760s parts of Fountains Abbey were incorporated in different landscapes… In 1744 Stukeley designed a gothic bridge for the duke of Montagu. In 1738 Stukeley had a gothic hermitage built in his garden. Buildings were in fact part of the scenery and the medieval style was exploited for its visual effect. This approach is characteristic of the picturesque Gothick. The term picturesque comes form the Italian word pittoresco that is to say “after the manners of painters” (particularly Poussin – Le Lorrain). When they looked at a landscape, people wanted to have the impression they were looking at a painting: in fact the buildings were built for their pictorial impact, Gothic towers were meant to be looked at; they were eye catchers. James Wyatt, a great inventor of such eye-catchers, built a Gothick dairy fitted out in the shape of a cruciform church (at Ottershaw Park, Surrey): its central tower could be seen in the distance…

William Beckford, author of the Gothick novel (and oriental tale!) Vathek also created “Fonthill Abbey” with James Wyatt.

It is sometimes difficult to see a clear cut division between those two phases since Rococo Gothick and Picturesque Gothick are both characterized by the use of Gothic elements. However the Rococo Gothick is expressed in decoration, while the picturesque Gothick is expressed in composition….
The ordered classicism which pervaded British eighteenth-century art and architecture contained the seeds of its opposite—rebellious romanticism. Bored by predictability, followers of fashionable taste began to luxuriate in states of pleasurable gloom and terror brought on by the melodramatic images of the Middle Ages conjured up by poets and novelists. Ignored for centuries, the ruins of medieval abbeys came to be noticed and admired, not in spite of their decay but because of it.
The Gothick (with an eighteenth-century k) style began in Britain as a free, imaginative adaptation of the architecture of the Middle Ages, with a sense of Rococo frothiness in its details. A Gothick building was often conceived as an intriguing point of interest in a landscape picturesquely contrived for the pleasure of its aristocratic landowner. Key buildings in the style were the sham ruins designed by Sanderson Miller in the mid-eighteenth century; Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole’s house (from 1750 onwards); and Fonthill Abbey (1796— 1807), the astounding folly of a mansion designed by James Wyatt to satisfy the megalomania of Wilham Beckford. By the early 1800s John Nash, for whom Francis Greenway worked briefly, had built some houses in a none-too-serious medieval vein, but as the nineteenth century progressed the essentially hedonistic Gothick was ‘lost in a tide of passionate loyalty to medieval architecture allied to a deep religious faith’, and the earlier mode was regarded as primitive.
In early nineteenth-century Australia, as in Britain and America, the flames of romantic medievalism were fuelled by the enormously popular novels of Walter Scott. The Gothick Picturesque style was seen as a most acceptable alternative to classicism for buildings that sought to express religiosity and venerability. As the Gothick style relied on a certain unpredictability, pattern books were used extensively as a source for ideas, none more than
J. C. Loudon’s Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, published in London in 1833.. Twentieth-century eyes tend to see the pseudo- medieval trappings of Gothick Picturesque buildings as ‘thin’ and ‘unscholarly’, but it should be remembered that archaeological correctness was not the principal aim of their designers and that a spirit of unabashed make-believe was often close to the surface.
The "Gothick" details of Walpole's Twickenham villa, "Strawberry Hill", appealed to the rococo tastes of the time, and by the 1770s, thoroughly neoclassical architects such as Robert Adam and James Wyatt were prepared to provide Gothic details in drawing-rooms, libraries, and chapels, for a romantic vision of a Gothic abbey, Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire. Inveraray Castle, constructed from 1746 with design input from William Adam, displays early revival of Gothic features in Scotland. The "Gothick" style was an architectural manifestation of the artificial "picturesque" seen elsewhere in the arts: these ornamental temples and summer-houses ignored the structural logic of true Gothic buildings and were effectively Palladian buildings with pointed arches. The eccentric landscape designer Batty Langley even attempted to "improve" Gothic forms by giving them classical proportions.