Wednesday, July 15


Sir Walter Tapper

It never ceases to amaze me how fecund the turn of the last century was, architecturally speaking. Condemned as a period of sterile revivalism, it was precisely in that revivalism where real artistic development was occurring, rather than simple willfulness for orginality's sake. More and more, people are realizing this, and we are seeing an outpouring of scholarship on the works of men such as Cram, Goodhue, Comper, Bodley, McKim, Mead and White, and so on and so forth. One such figure was the British neo-Gothicist Sir Walter Tapper, one of whose more prominent structures, St. Erkenwald's, Southend on Sea, was pulled down in 1995. It is, in some ways, a somewhat peculiar structure, but certainly striking and intriguing nonetheless with its spiky massing and planes of austere brick. It is certainly majestic, in any case. Here is a photo of the interior, and one of the exterior while under construction.

And here is an image of his church of the Ascension at Malvern (1901), his first solo effort, a subtly perfect combination of detail, massing and really superb coloration. More traditional architects ought to use stucco; it solves the problem of budget-stripped blank walls so neatly. The mellow golden stone trim is also magnificent.

More photos of this man's work can be found here, at Sir Walter Tapper and his Churches. (Isn't the internet wonderful?)

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