Info

interior galleries which rise above the aisles and pierce the buttresses adapt the medieval precedent set by Albi Cathedral in France. Both stone choir screen and chancel are covered in profuse sculptural decoration. Pearson's St Agnes, Sefton Park, Liverpool (1883-5) lacks a tower but has a memorably serene interior. Its ashlar vault is almost playful in its inventive subtlety. Equally distinctive are the tall steeple of St Mary's, South Dalton, Yorkshire (1858-61) and the impressive triple spires of Truro Cathedral (1880-1910). With his son, Frank, Pearson provided the designs for St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, in Australia (from 1887).

The most remarkable nineteenth-century Anglican cathedral outside England is William Burges's St Finn Barre's, Cork, in Ireland (1863-1904). Burges (1827-81) also designed two fine country churches in Yorkshire (Christ-the-Consoler, Skelton-on-Ure, 1870-6 and St Mary's, Studley Royal, 1871-8), but his triple-spired St Finn Barre's is his most ambitious and successful ecclesiastical work. Certain aspects of the Cork cathedral design derive from Burges's success in winning an international competition, with his partner Henry Clutton, to design a new cathedral at Lille in 1856. Although a foundation stone was laid, and prize money was awarded, the cathedral was not finally built to Burges's plans. Burges and Clutton may have been the victims of local chauvinism (being neither French nor Catholic). Certainly in Ireland ecclesiastical commissions were allotted exclusively to Catholic architects. The most talented of these was the Dublin-born James Joseph McCarthy (1817-82), who was responsible for the construction of the new St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh for the Catholic Primatial See. The building was begun in 1840 as a much-reduced version of York Minster in the English Perpendicular style. Construction was well advanced when McCarthy took over in 1853. He drastically adapted the earlier design, adding spires to the two western towers and crucially changing the style of the building to a severer English Decorated (expressed with a distinctly French accent). McCarthy was also to design Catholic cathedrals for Derry, Monaghan and Thurles, the facade of the last being loosely derived from that of Pisa cathedral. The distinct preference for French over English Gothic precedent, evident in McCarthy's work, determined the architecture of what might be described as the Irish cathedral in exile, the eclectic, twin-towered St Patrick's, New York, designed in 1858 by James Renwick (1818-95). St Patrick's is imposing, and clearly proclaims the Catholic presence in New York, but there is a certain awkwardness about it, in part the consequence of the limited funds available to the architect.

The most distinctive ecclesiastical architect in nineteenth-century America drew his inspiration from Romanesque rather than High Gothic precedent.

0 0

Post a comment