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Read online or download a free book: Hawksmoor's London Churches: Architecture And Theology

Pages: 200

Language: English

Publisher: University of Chicago Press (15 Jun. 2000)

By: Pierre Du Prey(Author)

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Six remarkable churches built by Nicholas Hawksmoor from 1712 to 1731 still tower over London. Their striking limestone steeples and luminous interiors were designed by him for a parliamentary commission intent on affirming the majesty of the Anglican Church. In "Hawksmoor's London Churches", architectural historian Pierre de la Ruffiniere du Prey argues that though each church is unique, they can be viewed as an integrated whole - a single masterpiece that reflects the architect's design principles and his client's wish to return to the purity of early Christian times. Du Prey constructs his book in three stages like an intricate Hawksmoor steeple. He begins with Hawksmoor's education under Christopher Wren, from whom Hawksmoor learned to appreciate Classical and Judeo-Christian antiquities. He then reveals how the writings on early church liturgy that inspired the commission meshed with Wren's and Hawksmoor's theories of architectural evolution. He concludes by analyzing the churches themselves, focusing closely on the architect's preparatory drawings for the towers. Individually they reveal his ability to translate theological ideas into distinctive landmarks of stone. Cumulatively they explain how his vision of the history of architecture from antiquity to primitive Christianity to the Middle Ages inspired an imaginative personal style. Hawksmoor's churches have become increasingly beloved by architects, critics, historians and tourists. This book should appeal to anyone interested in Hawksmoor, architectural history, religion or London's many-spired skyline.

"Du Prey's well-argued book enhances our understanding of Hawksmoor's design processes, and sheds light into the murky corners of early 18th-century theological and political concerns. This latest book adds lustre to an engaging writer's reputation." - James Stevens Curl, Building Design "The close study of Nicholas Hawksmoor's churches in London extends du Prey's fascination with the legacy, appropriation, and adaption of classical principles and motifs in the evolving pattern of architectural representation.... The resulting book is a fascinating reconstruction of the social networks and cultural resources upon which Hawksmoor drew in designing his remarkable churches, enriched by intelligent analysis of the architectural fabric." - Choice


Read online or download a free book: Hawksmoor's London Churches: Architecture And Theology.pdf

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Customer reviews:

  • By paul.trynka@emap.com on 2 February 2001

    This book attempts to build a theoretical framework behind Hawkmoor's six imposing London churches; and for the most part succeeeds. The opening chapters address the attempts of English theologians to reconstruct buildings such as Solomon's Temple; this led to various ideas of what a 'modern' church, in the closing days of the Stuarts' reign, should be. It's a fascinating investigation, and the author's case is that these studies heavily influenced Hawksmoor's work. They undoubtedly did, but the book unfortunately omits any real analysis of other important influences. There's nothing about the city churches on which Hawkmoor worked with Wren. Recent discoveries suggest that Hawkmoor was the sole designers of many spires formerly attributed to Wren, which should surely be discussed in a book on Hawksmoor's religious architecture. There's also no reference to Hawksmoor's final two churches, collaborations with John James of Greenwich. However, there are fascinating new insights into Hawksmoor's 'archeological' approach; the author suggests Hawksmoor aimed to evoke the feel of early Christian buildings built over several centuries, using recycled Roman remains. It's a convincing argument; anyone who's visited both Hawksmoor's churches and the early Christian basilicas of Umbria would agree that the Enlgih architect certainly captured the desolate simplicity of these primitive churches - churches which the English architect had never seen. The photos and illustrations are excellent, and given that this is the only Hawksmoor book currently in print, it's certainly welcome. However, it bears the stamp of its academic origin, and is more an interpretation than a definitive guide to Hawksmoor's work. It therefore complements, rather than replaces, Kerry Downes's two landmark books on Hawksmoor - one of which, written in 1969, is intermittently available via Thames & Hudson.

  • By UWAS on 23 May 2001

    Explores the thesis that Hawksmoor was influenced by notions of what early Christian churches might have been like, and the possibility that some of his designs (notably St George-in-the-East) seek to show how early Christian churches might have been assembled from 'spoliae'. Author seems to have little real feeling for what makes Hawksmoor's work so singular; also fails to mention the two other London churches in which Hawksmoor had a hand. Style rather academic.All in all, not a patch on Kerry Downes as a sympathetic exploration of Hawksmoor's work. Some nice pictures though.

  • By Alan M on 9 February 2010

    Recommended for any fans of eighteenth century architecture, London history or theological debate or church history.

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