A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, by Barry Magrill

By Barry Magrill

In the late-nineteenth century the flow of trend books that includes medieval church structure in England facilitated an unparalleled unfold of Gothic revival church buildings in Canada. enticing numerous subject matters round the unfold of print tradition, faith, and payment, A trade of style information the enterprise of church construction. Drawing upon formal architectural research and cultural thought, Barry Magrill indicates how development books provide a distinct means of learning the relationships among flavor, ideology, privilege, social switch, and economics. style used to be an idea used to legitimize British - and to an volume Anglican - privilege, whereas different denominations resisted their aesthetic edicts. trend books ultimately misplaced keep watch over of the exclusivity linked to style as advances in printing know-how and transatlantic transport introduced extra books into and readerships increased past the pro sessions. via the early 20th century style had develop into diluted, the architect had misplaced his heroic prestige, and architectural differences between denominations have been much less obvious. Drawing jointly the background of church development and the wider styles of Canadian social and ancient improvement, A trade of style offers another point of view at the unfold of non secular monuments in Canada via taking a look squarely at development books as resources of social clash round the factor of taste.

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Through his disavowal of economic interest Wills asserted a greater respect for the symbolic value of his production, which would indirectly – and thus legitimately – lead to monetary benefit. Wills veiled self-promotion behind humility with an approach not unfamiliar to church missionary movements that spread among settlers. Interestingly, within twenty years this sense of decorum was virtually Fig. 10 Specimen page of design no. 8, plate 15, from Church Architecture. 31 • the r ise of comm ercial so ciet y eroded from the architectural profession in the US, and to some lesser extent in Britain, by architects blatantly marketing their designs for churches in pattern books.

6 Taste was a marketable commodity in the church pattern books that manifested publicly in the fabric of a church. In the field of architectural practice, which was itself a commercial endeavour, the circulation of print constituted a parallel commercial culture. Architects, amateurs, and enthusiasts upheld the system that distributed church pattern books, which had economic, social, and cultural ramifications. Different groups of readers responded to the church pattern books according to their social positions.

The canon of classical motifs and proportions represented in the architect Vitruvius’s text De Architectura, written in the first century bce, was rediscovered by Classical enthusiasts such 17 • the r ise of comm ercial so ciet y as Sebastiano Serlio in The General Rules of Architecture (1537) and Andrea Palladio in The Four Books of Architecture (1570). There can be no doubt that these volumes canonized Classical architecture for generations of architects and designers that followed, influencing Colen Campbell’s production of Vitruvius Britannicus in three volumes (1715, 1717, and 1725) and James Gibb’s A Book of Architecture (1728).

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