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John Thomas Micklethwaite

(1843—1906) architect and ecclesiologist


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(1843–1906). English architect, a pupil of ‘Great’ Scott, he commenced practice in 1869, and was later in partnership (1876–92) with George Somers Clarke (1841–1926). In his important book, Modern Parish Churches (1874), and other writings he denounced Go, over-pedantic antiquarianism, and vulgar commercialism as the enemies of good architecture, for ugliness and showing off were not signs of originality, taste, or strength. He turned against the architecture of Scott, and, with others of his generation, repudiated almost the whole mid-Victorian Gothic architectural output as having led nowhere and been an aberration. Advocating a return to rational ecclesiastical design, the study of liturgical requirements to determine the plan and volume of a church, the need to evolve a type of architectural solution for the future, the abandonment of ecclesiological antiquarianism (and dreamy medievalism), and, most significantly, a return to principles of design established by Pugin and R. C. Carpenter, he pointed the way forward to the evolution of late-Victorian church architecture. With Somers Clarke, he designed the Church of St Paul, Augustus Road, Wimbledon Park, London (1888–96), a satisfying mixture of Second Pointed and Perp., with the chancel differentiated by means of a Rood-screen and more elaborate colouring on the timber roof. Micklethwaite's church architecture was scholarly and correct. A list of his works is given in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), but perhaps his most important appointment was to the Surveyorship of Westminster Abbey in 1898 on the death of Pearson. His works of renewal on the south transept and west front were carried out with W. D. Caröe, and he aimed primarily at conservation. He became Master of the Art-Workers' Guild in 1893.

From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.


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