William Burges (1827-81) was arguably the greatest of all Victorian architects. But he was more than just the creator of a modest number of fabulous, and fabulously expensive, buildings. He dreamed of hundreds more, designed dozens, and in addition created some of the most remarkable furniture and jewellery of all time.
He was an art-architect. Rich, clever, well connected and short lived, he was uncompromising, profoundly learned, skilled in every process of design and explosively inventive. A brilliant talker, pungent critic and hilarious companion, he was one of Victorian London's great eccentrics and networkers, though he was bewitched by the Middle Ages.
The great buildings that he completed include Cork Cathedral, Cardiff Castle and the even more eccentric Castell Coch, the great Yorkshire churches of Skelton and Studley Royal, the magnificent country houses of Knightshayes in Devon, and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, and his own astonishing Tower House in Kensington. His furniture, fabric and jewellery designs and his unrealised projects were also hugely influential, and the former are now enthusiastically collected.
This book was a landmark in Victorian studies when first published in 1981 and is now completely revised and re-illustrated substantially in colour.
'A readable and detailed account of its subject, and the additional illustrations and updated information make its re-publication welcome.'
- Art Newspaper
'This lovely book should now find exactly what it deserves, a whole new readership primed to enjoy Crook's insights into his subject's "strange genius", and indeed into its wider Victorian context . '
‘A much enlarged and beautified format, all the better to do justice to its subject.'
- World of Interiors
'Joe Crook’s exuberant and coruscating writing is ideally suited to describing Burges’s eclectic aestheticism. Every page produces a firework: shutters are ‘alive with quirkish patterns’, furniture sparkles with ‘domelets of mirrored glass’, entering a room is ‘like stepping into an upturned kaleidoscope’. The glitter is underpinned by massive scholarship (192 columns of footnotes). With its glorious illustrations, this is a very beautiful book and a compelling read. The first edition was good. This is better.'
'Crook has improved on the original with a little extra signposting for readers.'
- RIBA Journal
JOE MORDAUNT CROOK CBE is one of the leading authorities on Victorian Architecture and culture, formerly director of the Victorian Studies Centre at London University, and the author of numerous books.
Binding: Hardback, 432 pages ISBN: 9780711233492 Format: 305mm x 250mm
300 illustrations in colour and b/w