London: Henry G. Bohn, 1850. Three volumes. Quarto (12 1/4 inches tall), original pebbled navy cloth, coated endpapers, top edges gilt. Bookseller's tickets, gentle bumping to several corners, small nicks to upper corners of volume II, shallow tideline to uppermost corner of volume III not affecting text or plates, cloth clean, gilt bright, bindings sound. A very handsome set. Item #941
"VITAL SOURCE BOOKS FOR THE GOTHIC REVIVAL" Collected set of this extraordinary treasury of English Gothic Architecture—complete with 224 beautifully engraved architectural plates. Begun by Augustus Charles Pugin—and completed by his son, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin—this survey of the "antient edifices" of medieval England was comprised of three volumes, with text ("the literary part") by Edward James Willson. Volume I, focused primarily on structures in Oxford and Norfolk, includes a frontispiece ("West Gate of Magdalen College, Oxford"), a brief Preface by A.C. Pugin (dated, "105, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London. / July 1831") and Willson's introductory Remarks on Gothic Architecture and Modern Imitations. After the elder Pugin died in December 1832, the torch passed to his son (and collaborator) A.W.N. Pugin, as evidenced by the caption of the elaborately bordered frontispiece in the second volume: "This Book was Begun in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty One by Augustin Pugin Architect and Completed by His Son Augustus Welby Pugin Architect I Thousand VIII Hundred and XXXIV." Inspired by his aesthetic interest in medievalism, A.W. Pugin converted to Catholicism in 1834, part of the revivalism of the age: "The romantic nineteenth century largely repudiated classicism so that from 1840 the Catholic revival and the Gothic revival were largely one and the same thing" (Roderick O'Donnell). With the second volume, the younger Pugin "established himself from 1838 as the architectural impresario of the Catholic revival in the British Isles, and, even more than his buildings, his journalism and publications spread this message" (Roderick O'Donnell). Pugin's brief Preface ("St. Mary's Grange, Salisbury / July 1836") includes a footnote describing the frontispiece depicting "an Artist of the fifteenth century, seated in his study amidst his books and drawings, making an architectural design." The third volume contains a tinted frontispiece ("Manor House, South Wraxhall, Wilts") and a dedication to "the Committee and the Members of the Architectural Society of London, this Volume is Inscribed with every sentiment of respect gratitude and esteem, by their most obedient humble servant, The Author." With a Preface to Part I and a Preface to the Second Edition, both by Thomas Larkins Walker (dated, "London, February 1840"). This collected edition, published only two years before Pugin's death (at age 40) in 1852, proved to be extremely influential. In "these vital source books for the Gothic revival, the generation of Cram and Goodhue found just what it wanted" (Roderick O'Donnell). Roderick O’Donnell, Pugin in America (The Institute for Sacred Architecture).