A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, by Barry Magrill
By Barry Magrill
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Extra info for A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914
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).