Frances Spalding

Weighty Matters

The Architect's Secret: Victorian Critics and the Image of Gravity

By

John Murray 228pp £20 order from our bookshop

THIS SMALL BOOK touches on a large subject: style in architecture. But do not conclude from the title that it merely revives the battle of styles in Victorian architecture. Mordaunt Crook’s new study of four Victorians, only one of whom was a professional architect, makes the reader aware of ‘style’ in a deeper sense. The reasoning is supplied by Coventry Patmore, who, though better known as a poet and fringe Pre-Raphaelite, is here claimed to have been an architecture critic of extraordinary powers. Style, in his view, does not only clothe this or that building according to the architect’s or owner’s personal taste, but runs deeper: it is integral to a whole culture, and symbolic of collective ideals.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,
    • What did Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Edmund Burke all have in common? Clare Bucknell reveal… ,
    • 'Behind Berlusconi’s greasepaint and his rictus grin, the performance of Toni Servillo suggests the affectless holl… ,