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George Gilbert Scott

(1839—1897) architect and scholar


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(1839–97). English architect, the eldest of ‘Great’ Scott's five sons, known as ‘Middle’ Scott. Articled to his father in 1857, he later worked for him as an assistant, carrying out the restoration of Cheddleton Court, Staffs. (1863–6), and the sensitive restoration and enlargement of the Hall and Combination Room, Peterhouse, Cambridge (1868–70), for both of which jobs he used William Morris's firm for stained-glass and other decorations. G. F. Bodley, who had also been the elder Scott's pupil, was a major influence on the younger Scott's architecture, and, with Garner, Micklethwaite, Sedding, and ‘Middle’ Scott himself, was responsible for altering the thrust of English ecclesiastical design from the 1870s by turning to English and late Gothic precedents instead of the C13 and Continental exemplars that earlier had been de rigueur. Indeed, Scott went further than Bodley in championing Perp., which, from the time of Pugin's denunciations, had been despised as decadent. His masterpiece was undoubtedly the Church, School, and Vicarage of St Agnes, Kennington Park, London (1874–91— destroyed), designed for the English liturgy and Anglo-Catholic ritual. Beautifully furnished, it had the characteristic nave arcade mouldings ‘dying’ into the piers, without capitals. Other churches included St Mark, New Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwicks. (1876–9), All Hallows, Southwark, London (1879–92—destroyed), St Mary Magdalene, East Moors, Yorks. (1879–82—supervised and subtly altered by Temple Moore during construction), and the First Pointed St John the Baptist, Norwich (1884–1910, now the RC Cathedral— completed by J. O. Scott), a scholarly and satisfying essay in the C13 style. He designed a new building at Pembroke College, Cambridge (1879–83), in a Perp. style, and sensitively enlarged Wren's Chapel at a time when C17 Classicism was not appreciated in many quarters. He also designed the new building fronting St Giles's, Oxford, for St John's College (c. 1881–99). Scott was also a master of the Queen Anne style, as demonstrated at his Garboldisham Manor, Norfolk (c. 1868–83—demolished), and a remarkable group of houses at Westbourne Park, Hull (1876–9), known as ‘The Avenues’, but they have not been treated well.

Scott published An Essay on the History of English Church Architecture Prior to the Separation of England from the Roman Obedience in 1881, the year after he himself became an RC. He also edited his father's Personal and Professional Recollections (1879). His last years were marred by scandal and mental instability, and he was confined to hospitals. Outstanding works were completed by Temple Moore, apart from St John's at Norwich. He died of dissipation, heart disease, and exhaustion in his father's Grand Midland Hotel, St Pancras.

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

Subjects: Architecture.


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