William Butterfield (1814-1900)

William Butterfield, one of the most important Victorian Gothic architects, was born in London, and worked for a London builder before an apprenticeship with an architect in Worcester. He established his own practice back in London in 1840, and built up a large architectural business. In 1844 he became a member of the Ecclesiological Society, and from then on, most of his work was building and restoring churches, though he also designed a number of schools. He did not enter architectural competitions, but had major patrons, including Beresford Hope, President of the Ecclesiological Society, and a certain Viscount Downe, who paid for many Yorkshire churches by Butterfield.

Butterfield was one of the most High Victorian of architects, designing Gothic churches typically making a strong feature of the building materials, often favouring polychromatic decoration inside and out. This is epitomised by one of his most excellent surviving churches, All Saints Margaret Street (behind Oxford Street), London (1849-59). Later, his colours became more quiet. Other London churches by Butterfield are St Matthias's, Stoke Newington (1850-2), and St Alban, Holborn. He also built St Ninian's Cathedral in Perth, Scotland, and the Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia. In Oxford, Butterfield was the architect of Keble College (1875), and Balliol College Chapel, and in Winchester, his is the County Hospital (1863).

Top of page

Architecture pages // Full list of artists