British and Irish Stained Glass (1811–1918) - Influences On The Revival of Stained Glass - Philosophic

Philosophic

Romanticism

In the 18th century there was a growing trend for philosophers, writers and painters to commune with nature. Nature was seen as all the more attractive if it contained signs of the grand aspirations, ideals and follies of humankind. Few things were considered more romantic than a medieval ruin which conjured up images of the traditional "romances" or idealistic sagas of the Middle Ages. England contained a great number of large Medieval ruins. These were chiefly castles destroyed by the Civil War in the 17th century and, even more significantly, vast abbey churches ruined at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. These ruined abbey churches suffered three long-term fates. Some were used as quarries for their building materials. The more remote abbeys were simply left to slowly decay. Those that were conveniently placed were awarded, with their associated lands, to favourites of King Henry VIII and his heirs. Thus it was that many of England's nobility grew up in homes that included within their structure part the Gothic remains of an ancient church or its associated monastic buildings. Some of these houses, such as the poet Byron's home, Newstead Abbey, contain reference to their origin within their name.

In the 18th century the owning of such a pile became fashionable. Those of noble lineage who did not have a ruin or a battlemented tower or an interior with pointed arcades promptly built one. Among the earliest of these creations was the novelist Horace Walpole's refurbishing of his London villa, which gave its name to the pretty and somewhat superficial style of architectural decoration known as Strawberry Hill Gothick. The movement gained impetus- Sir Walter Scott built himself a Scottish Baronial mansion, Abbotsford; the castles of Warwick, Arundel and Windsor were refurbished by their owners. The movement was just as strong in Germany where "Mad" King Ludwig II of Bavaria indulged his medievalism by building the Disneyland icon of Neuschwanstein. All over Europe, those who could afford to do so began the restoration and refurbishment of Medieval buildings. The last great Romantic flourish was the building of Castle Drogo by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1910 and 1930.

The Oxford Movement

Begun in Oxford in 1833 by the theologian John Keble and supported by John Henry Newman, the Oxford Movement stressed the universality or "catholic" nature of the Christian Church and urged priests of the Church of England to reconsider their pre-Reformation traditions in both Doctrine and Liturgy. While reinforcing the concept of direct descent from the Apostles through the Church of Rome, the movement did not advocate a return to Roman Catholicism. In practice, however, several hundred Anglican priests, including Newman, became Roman Catholic. The long-term effects of the Oxford Movement were the rapid expansion of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Catholic liturgical styles in many Anglican churches. The emphasis on liturgical rites brought about an artistic revolution in church building and decoration.

The Cambridge Camden Society

Formed in 1839 as a society of Cambridge undergraduates with an interest in Medieval architecture, this group developed into a powerful movement for the recording, study preservation of England's ancient churches, the analysis and definition of architectural style and the dissemination of such information through its publications, chiefly a monthly journal The Ecclesiologist (1841–1869). The Cambridge Camden Society did much to bring about a revival of medieval styles in the design and appointments of 19th century churches, as well as in the restoration of older ones. Their notions were often highly prescriptive, inflexible and intolerant of diversity within the church. They were insistent upon revival rather than originality.

John Ruskin

John Ruskin, (1810–1900), an art critic, wrote two books that were highly influential in Art Philosophy. In The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and The Stones of Venice (1851–1853), he discussed the moral, social and religious implications of buildings, emphasising the desirability of an ethical approach to the practice of the arts. His thinking influenced the Pre-Raphaelites, whose artistic style Ruskin defended against criticism.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 1849-1853

This group of artists, of whom Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt were the central figures, rejected the indulgent classicism, the materialism and the lack of social responsibility that they perceived in the artistic trends of mid-19th century painting. They sought to recreate in their works the simple forms, bright colours, religious devotion and artistic anonymity of the period of art that preceded the rise of the great and famous individuals of the Renaissance period. They initially exhibited their works signed only with the initials PRB, Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

The Arts and Crafts Movement

William Morris (1834–1896) was for a time a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and was influenced by their ideals and those of John Ruskin. As a precociously diverse designer, he saw the creation of arts in terms of social responsibility. He rejected, as Ruskin did, the mass-production of ornate and decorative wares of all sorts, such as those products of industry that were displayed in the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition. Morris advocated a return to cottage crafts and the revival and promulgation of old skills. To this end he formed a business partnership with Marshall and Faulkner, employing Ford Madox Brown, another highly creative and dynamic artist and thus began what is termed "the Arts and Crafts Movement". Stained glass was just one of many products of their studio. Morris and Brown saw themselves as original artists working in the spirit of their antecedents. They did not reproduce earlier forms exactly, and because of disagreements with the philosophy of the Cambridge Camden Society, rarely created stained glass windows for ancient churches. William Morris's success as an entrepreneur was such that he was able to keep Rosetti, Burne-Jones and others in regular employment as designers. Through their teaching at the Workingmen's College in London the group had enormous influence on many designers of all sorts.

The Aesthetic Movement The Aesthetic Movement was a reaction against both the works of industry and the influential Socialist and Christian idealism of Morris and Ruskin who both saw art as directly linked to morality. Followers of the Aesthetic Movement, who included Burne-Jones and other stained glass designers such as Henry Holiday, propounded a philosophy of "Art for Art's sake". The style that evolved was sensuous and luxurious, linked with the rise of Art Nouveau.

Read more about this topic:  British And Irish Stained Glass (1811–1918), Influences On The Revival of Stained Glass

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