Chapter

On Display: The Building, Its Contents, and English Protestantism

Geoffrey Cantor

in Religion and the Great Exhibition of 1851

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596676
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725685 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596676.003.0005
On Display: The Building, Its Contents, and English Protestantism

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While many religious writers praised Paxton's innovative design, often likening it to a temple or the modern equivalent of a medieval cathedral, High Churchmen and Roman Catholics abhorred the design, comparing it most unfavourably to the neo‐Gothic style then in vogue for ecclesiastical and public buildings. Certain exhibits also proved controversial, none more so than Pugin's contributions to the Medieval Court, which were often seen as importing Catholic devices into the very heart of the Exhibition. This chapter centres on the religious controversies surrounding the Crystal Palace and its contents in order to show that it was a highly contested space and that protagonists across the religious spectrum endowed it with different spiritual meanings.

Keywords: Catholicism; Crystal Palace; display; Great Exhibition; High Churchmen; neo‐Gothic; Paxton; Protestantism; Pugin

Chapter.  9549 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Christianity

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