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The Role of Sir George Gilbert Scott in Victorian Church Restoration

Part 2 Dissertation 2013
Katherine Strange
University of Liverpool | UK
Sir George Gilbert Scott was one of the most prolific nineteenth-century church restorers. His first restoration works began in the early 1840s shortly after reading Pugin’s writings, which helped to persuade him of the principles which later characterised the Gothic Revival. As church restorations began across the country, restoration principles were set down by both Scott and his contemporaries. However towards the end of his life, criticism of some of his restoration work was prominent in the preservationist writings of Morris and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

This dissertation will consider three of Scott’s restoration projects; St Mary’s Stafford at the beginning of his career in 1842, Chester Cathedral at the height of his career in 1868 and St Albans Abbey which he was working on at the time of his death in 1878. These three churches will be discussed within the context of nineteenth-century restoration literature in order to illustrate how Scott’s restorations were influenced by these writings. This study also considers to what extent Scott’s approach to church restoration changed over the course of his life, not only as a result of contemporaneous restoration literature but also as he responded to developments in knowledge and thinking of the time and indeed to controversy voiced against his own restoration work.

Katherine Strange

Professor Neil Jackson
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