Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852)


Augustus Pugin was born in London, son of a French draughtsman, and trained in his father's atelier making drawings of Gothic churches. He worked for Charles Barry on the Houses of Parliament, being responsible for much of the decorations and sculpture, and the decorative character throughout. He wrote widely and was important in the revival of Gothic architecture in England with books such as Contrasts (between mean, vulgar modern Classical or minimalist Gothic buildings and what he saw as the far more noble earlier Catholic Gothic), and True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841). He also had a strong influence on John Ruskin and some of the early workers in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Apart from his work on the Houses of Parliament, he designed some hundred or so buildings, mainly churches, and his work includes several Roman Catholic cathedrals, including St Ostwald's in Liverpool, and the one in Birmingham (St Chad's), and St George's in Southwark, since rebuilt after WWII damage. He also designed Scarisbrick Hall, Lancashire, since passing to Liverpool University. In all his work, even on the smaller scale, his work is distinctive and eye-catching, effortlessly eclipsing bulkier buildings nearby.

After his early death, his son Edward Welby Pugin (1834-1875) took over his business, and completed the buildings his father had left unfinished.

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