The way in which the building was slowly and theatrically discovered by the viewer as they progressed in the garden was primordial. Consequently, garden follies were dependent on the conditions which led to their discovery. This need to control the confrontation between the viewer and the edifice is relevant of the ambiguity which lies between built and written Gothics. Indeed, while written Gothic offered buildings which were read, built Gothic edifices were shown. Telling a building allows the narrator to present it under the view that is considered the most able to arouse the desired effect.
London: Published for the author, , p. The fact that Gothic follies were buildings with no apparent purposes is also akin to the idea that it is the author who chooses the function of his diegetic edifices. Consequently, garden follies could be seen as entities halfway between literature and architecture. To obtain the most narratorial control over diegetic architecture, some architects took this reasoning to its logical extreme.
Such follies received the name of eye-catcher, a term which illustrates their graphical, restricted usage. In the same way as ekphrases in Gothic novels could override physical constraints, the framework of these follies was limited to its own stability, and the architectural features it encompasses were easy ones such as towers and arches. This simplicity of design and the fact that they were intended for display had the effect of encouraging originality, while allowing more people to design and build such follies.
Thereby, such constructions did not need an architect and many proprietor could give form to their visions more simply and inexpensively than for a real house. Garden follies, with their easy implementation were similar to the massive and cheap production of Gothic novels, as illustrated by Headley and Meulenkamp3 who denoted more than gothic follies throughout the United-Kingdom.
London: Aurum, In these follies, built and written Gothics shared the same purpose to convey emotional feelings. When written Gothic could intrinsicly enjoy the lack of physical contingencies, built Gothic did so with buildings which overrode practicalities and archaeological correctness. This oscillation between architecture and literature could also be seen as a contrast and a duality between the formlessness of the sublime — which would therefore correspond to the literary side of thoses follies — to the physical form which characterises the beautiful and the architectural beauty of such constructions.
In that case their hybridity went closer to architecture than literature. In this extract, words like citadel and fortress are rather used to convey emotion, rather than to achieve an accurate architectural description. The most important point being their lack of apparent consistency as if Paluzzi was a patchwork of different typologies. These particularities echo an ornamental Gothic folly designed by James Wyatt and Capability Brown and completed in , that is, two years after the publication of The Italian.
This mini-Saxon castle called 1 Radcliffe, Ann. Indeed, the defensive vocabulary of round towers with the narrow arrowslit-like openings contrasted with the balcony arcade of intersecting semi-circular arches, and the large non-defensive windows, which are akin to Palladian-style windows. The fact that this folly summoned different style of architecture could be seen as a foil, allowing Wyatt to display his mastery of both medieval and Renaissance architectures, as well as a desire to break with architectural traditions.
This stylistic exercise could be linked to the fact that two years earlier, Wyatt had been elected to the London Society of Antiquaries, a decision which aroused the ire of other antiquarians, such as Richard Gough or John Milner, who critisised his knowledge of the medieval tradition. It was a logic of addition, a way to enrich architecture through the materialisation of fiction, but it was not a logic of substitution. Indeed, these follies mixed fiction and reality but this process did not intend to make one appear to be the other.
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This, was the purpose of another kind of edifices, which from the middle of the eighteenth century onwards, started to increasingly use fiction in favour of reality, in an endeavour to fabricate an alternative history. This castellation was done through the construction of different extensions, as well as numerous modifications of the existent architecture, both inside and outside the edifice.
The battlements echo those shaken by thunder and wind in the novel. The display 1 Chalcraft, Anna. Walpole meticulously described the result of these extensions and modifications in his Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole. Both its architecture and the furniture were an eclectic mix of old and new materials. As a matter of fact, the designs of Strawberry Hill, which included copies of elements coming 1 Walpole, Horace. A Description of the Villa of Mr.
London: Thomas Kirgate, For each function its material; for each material its form and its ornament. In Robert Venturi published Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a work which initiated the postmodern movement. Strawberry Hill allowed him to join these values to the Walpole family, thus perpetuating his heritage. Walpole further enhanced this process by intertwining, especially through architecture, his own genealogy with the one of his novel.
Entretiens sur l'architecture. Paris: A. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Walpole displayed items in his art collection which aimed at intertwining real Strawberry Hill and fictional Otranto.
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William Cole, 9 March Postmodernism Fiction. London: Methuen, This simulation of contemporaneity is based on a combination of reality and fiction: the imaginary conveyed by The Castle of Otranto was necessary to the historical re-enactment that Walpole staged in Strawberry Hill. He projected the filial affirmation of the master of Otranto contained in his novel onto the Gothic architecture of Strawberry Hill, hence strengthening the link between Gothic architecture and lineage authenticity. It consists in introducing the story via another one, generally in the first chapter, or even in the preface, as Walpole did.
In The Italian for instance, the reader learns in the introduction that a parchment telling the story of the Order of the Black Penitents is submitted to the perusal of an English toursist doing his Grand Tour. The reader soon learns that this parchment turns out to be The Italian itself. The desired effect is to produce an impression of veracity and authenticity, as if the story was nothing else than History itself.
It is the action of metalepsis to allow the intrusion of the former into the latter, with the consequence to tie the distant past and the immediate present, but also to enhance authenticity through an efficient presentation. Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, Gothic architecture was seen as an alternative to the family tree and could therefore be considered as a buyable proof of lineage.
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A commodification of this architectural effect ensued in the very beginning of the nineteenth century. In , John Plaw published a book about the different possible ways to modify a house inexpensively. This description illustrates the way by which fiction could be injected into architecture in order to make it more attractive: Elevation to the foregoing plans; is of a grotesque Gothic character, with trunks of trees in their rude state; and pointed Gothic arches; the roof and arches thatched with straw or reeds. Consequently, what these new pattern books offered at the dawn of the nineteenth century was based on the same fictional aura that Gothic architecture bore in Gothic fiction.
York: J. Despite these associationist inclinations, Eastlake acknowledged that it displayed a medieval aura. The metalepsis which somehow blended literary and material realms, had the effect of blurring the boundary between the physical reality of Gothic architecture and the feeling induced by its perception. London: Longman, , p. This pattern book also relied on the idea that beyond the aesthetic of Gothic architecture were the historical and political allusions it conveyed.
In plate number seventeen, 3 one can notice the metaleptic desire for theatrical effects through chivalric and medieval references which aimed at legitimating the family. The overall strategy was to offer a new and inexpensive Gothic style, which allowed its owner to avoid being ruined by a property too expensive to maintain while still benefiting from its noble aura. The main argument was to propose a process in which a house receiving some slight modifications would allegedly benefit from a full stylistic transformation.
It was the case of Adlestrop House, a propriety of the Leigh family which was built during the sixteenth century and whose castellation was entrusted to Sanderson Miller. As one can see on the engraving 4 made in , the house was not completely rebuilt but was applied some Gothic features, especially a three-storey gothic bow-window on the south-west front and several columns. In , Richard Payne Knight, the author of the Analyctical Inquiry into the Picturesque also chose to have his house castellated.
Having no ancestral nobility, Knight came from a family which had recently made its fortune as iron founders. A Collection of Designs for Rural Retreats.
Principally in the Gothic and Castle Styles. Carpenter, Two architects, at the end of the eighteenth century can be seen as the major contributors to the built architecture of the Gothic Revival, they are James Wyatt and John Nash. The former is well-known for the building of Fonthill Abbey. Nash is famous for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton as well as his remodelling of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, but his career is interesting for the fact that he also applied this principle of castellation to several country houses in Ireland and Wales that he turned into picturesque Gothic edifices, such as Ravensworth Castle.
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These designs show to what extent the novelisation of architecture was not limited to wealthy aristocrats. If this improvement was often seen as a cultural achievement, with for instance the Grand Tour which became a symbol of good breeding, as well as a conventional way for young aristocrats to polish themselves — Hurd wrote about these benefits in his Dialogues on the Uses of Foreign Travel in — polite learning was also a matter of hypocrisy.
The inexpensive solutions suggested by Malton or Plaw may have played a significant role in the advancement of this architectural flexibility, as well as the establishment of Gothic architecture as a more readily available commodity. This architectural intervention was minimal and somehow as hypocritical as polite learning could be since the ground plan of the house was not modified, nor its inside which remained a typical neo-classical interior.
The choice of a family to castellate their mansion could be seen as the built equivalent of a conversation piece painted in a new, fashionable background. It did not represent reality, but conveyed a genteel and polite image of the family. In , Scott attested that this strategy, to which was central the idea of cultural heritage, had spread throughout the nation: The Gothic order of architecture is now so generally, and, indeed, indiscriminately used, that we are rather surprised if the country-house of a tradesman retired from business, does not exhibit lanceolated windows, divided by stone shafts, and garnished by painted glass, a cup-board in the form of a cathedral-stall, and a pig-house with a front borrowed from the facade of an ancient chapel.go to link
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But in the middle of the eighteenth century, when Mr. Walpole begans to exhibit specimens of the Gothic style […] he did not comply with the dictates of a prevailing fashion.
London: Psychology Press, , pp. Scott, Walter.
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This state of fact illustrates how architecture and literature in the eighteenth-century were based on a system of thoughts in which perception mattered more than reality. In The History of British India, James Stuart Mills observed that since India did not have any written records of its history, the British settlers could give it one, especially through the architecture of the Gothic Revival which contained clear English references.
If built Gothic could favour an impression of ancestral nobility, it could also help to maintain British hegemony across the Empire. London: Sherwood, Jones, and Co.
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