Previous title: Architectural and Design History
Key collections of manuscripts are brought together here to form an essential resource for the study of the life and work of one of the greatest exponents of Gothic architecture, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.
This includes the collection of John Gregory Crace, a devoted colleague who supplied furniture, textiles and wallpapers for Pugin's designs. In addition to this, there are materials collected by Pugin's family which provide a remarkable insight into his personal life and artistic and professional development.
This collection also makes available an unsurpassed group of manuscript books, each illustrating an imaginary scheme for an artistic subject. These begin with The Chest (1832) and gradually move towards architectural topics. This progression reveals the evolution of Pugin's draftsmanship from heavy lines to a more sophisticated and delicate penmanship. Designs include "St Margaret's Chapel; Le Chasteau"--"an imaginary project of an ideal chateau in France of the late 15th and early 16th centuries" (A.W. Cat. p.140); fine drawings and designs for an imaginary project of St. Marie's College and an illustration for an imaginary medieval town.
There are a large number of identifiable designs, especially for projects where Crace and Pugin collaborated, such as Lismore Castle, Eastnor Castle, Chirk Castle, Bakewell and Grafton Manors. By far the most significant of these drawings and designs are those for the internal decoration of the Houses of Parliament between 1845 and 1852. These drawings are still being used in restoration work. The identified drawings and designs show the power and fertility of Pugin's imagination which was allowed to range freely within the broad confines of the Gothic Revival. They also show how Pugin's skill and industry made him one of the most influential architects of the 19th century.