Search Tools

Search by Article Type

Search by Location

Search by Month


Search Everything

Translate

PrimeResi Directory

Who to know; who to recommend; who to call...
A directory of the prime movers at the top of the property market.

Featured Listings

Showing 1 - 7 of 441 results

Visit the main Directory page here

Appointments

The home of luxury property careers

Latest Opportunities

RSS ____________________________

  • Business Development Executive
    We are hiring! About us: Quintessentially Lifestyle is the world’s leading Luxury Lifestyle Company. Launches in 2000 as a London based concierge service, Quintessentially Lifestyle has expanded to have offices in over 60 cities around the world. The service provided to our discerning and high net worth Members is proactive and personalised, catering to ever
  • Buying Consultant
    Company Profile Quintessentially Estates is a dedicated global property specialist with deep expertise and insider knowledge, focused on delivering extraordinary personal service. Quintessentially Estates has 11 offices across the globe with our head office located in Belgravia. Our clients seek professional and specialist advice for all property requirements, whilst simultaneously gaining access to an unrivalled
  • Social Media Manager
    Savills is looking for a Social Media Manager. Full details and how to apply here
  • Lettings Director
    We have been exclusively instructed by one of our clients to recruit a Lettings Director to run their successful lettings division. This is an exciting career opportunity with a very well established independent London estate agency that has a small but successful network of offices in West London. This is a very hands-on role where the successful candidate will
  • Residential Lettings Coordinator for a Major London Landlord
    We currently have a fantastic opportunity to work with this major London landlord based in Marylebone. This central London estate comprises of property assets worth billions of pounds, including residential, retail and offices. The estate handles most matters in-house, including management, lettings, project management, acquisitions and rent reviews. They are currently looking to recruit a Residential Lettings Coordinator to join their team in their central London
  • Lettings Associate
    This highly respected firm of estate agents and chartered surveyors, with a successful network of offices in London and the country, is looking to hire a Lettings Associate to join the new office in Mayfair. This is an excellent opportunity within a highly respected brand and our client is looking to consider applicants looking to make their next step on the career ladder.
  • Sales Associate
    Strutt & Parker is advertising an opportunity to join the Estate Agency team in Ascot. Full details and how to apply here
  • Senior Negotiator/Associate
    Knight Frank’s resi sales team is looking to recruit a Senior Negotiator or Associate to specialise in Prime Sales. Full details and how to apply here  
  • Head of Marketing & PR for Luxury Estates Company
    We are looking for a driven head of marketing and PR to join us at our London headquarters. As a strong brand marketer and PR communicator, they will be responsible for building and executing a strategic marketing and PR objective globally for all offices in USA, Europe, APAC and UK ensuring strength of execution to
  • Recruitment Officer
    Chestertons is looking for a Recruitment Officer. Full details and how to apply here

Free email newsletters

Please let us know which email address you would like newsletters to go to, and how often you would like to be kept updated.

* indicates required
Which newsletters would you like to receive?

Already signed-up? You can change your preferences by clicking the "Update your email newsletter preferences here" link at the bottom of the latest Bulletin or Briefing you received from PrimeResi.com. Or just put your email in again above and follow the links...

How Gothic buildings got associated with Halloween and the supernatural

It was a critics' conspiracy, argues Peter Lindfield of the University of Stirling

Gothic architecture is deeply entwined with the macabre and spooky, yet it’s also been called “eminently English in every respect … It is the architecture of our history and our romance”. Peter Lindfield of the University of Stirling tracks the fashion and fall of the gothic style, celebrating its pomp and grandeur while fielding a compelling theory for how its ornament and shadows became so associated with sinister things…

If you want foreboding old buildings that dark lords and werewolves are bound to frequent, look no further than Britain’s enviable Gothic architecture. From Strawberry Hill in London with its twisting corridors and glaring pinnacles, to ruined abbeys and cathedrals such as St Andrews and Jedburgh, darkness seems to thrive in these places – the perfect location for a Halloween party if you’re lucky enough to be invited.

What is often not appreciated is that this style had two distinct periods of glory, with a long time out of favour in between. And it’s not just their tall spires and endless corridors and gargoyles that brought these structures supernatural associations. The dark reputation they gained in their wilderness years helped, too.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford (Image by Peter Lindfield)

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford (Image by Peter Lindfield)

Gothic was in its pomp in medieval and Tudor Britain. Famous examples include Salisbury cathedral in southern England, Caernarfon castle in Wales and Melrose castle and Brodie castle in Scotland. The style was used by church, state and universities, Oxford and Cambridge especially. It was certainly not associated with terror in this period – more with the potential perils of sin and Purgatory, or the rigours of academia.

Gothic waned in the 17th century, replaced by the round-arched and rationalised style of Classicism. Imported from the continent and inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, the new style came to prominence in London public and private works such as the Banqueting House, Whitehall and The Queen’s House, Greenwich.

Classicism continued to spread in the 18th century, while Gothic came to be seen as barbaric. It was intentionally connected with the Goths by critics who favoured Greek and Roman architecture. These included the Renaissance artists Raphael and Vasari, and Georgian intellectuals such as John Evelyn and architects like Isaac Ware (Ware would later introduce certain Gothic elements into his work). These people often argued that when the Goths sacked Rome in the fifth century, they destroyed “proper” Classical architecture and introduced a backward, coarse style – Gothic – in its place.

In the first half of the 18th century in particular, almost all the major architects promoted Classicism. As the Scottish minister and writer Alexander Gerard put it in 1759:

The profusion of ornament, bestowed on the parts, in Gothic structures, may please one who has not acquired enlargement of mind … where refinement is wanting, taste must be coarse and vulgar.

Worse still in those days, Gothic was associated with the Catholics. Catholicism in the 1700s was viewed with suspicion and concern, thanks partly to the Jacobite risings. Both were considered a threat to the Hanoverian and Classical order – never mind that the great medieval abbeys spared destruction in the Reformation had been put into the service of the Protestant church.

Torchbearers

Gothic was not cast aside entirely, however. One leading enthusiast was writer and historian Horace Walpole, the youngest son of Sir Robert, Britain’s first prime minister. In 1748 he redeveloped Strawberry Hill, a collection of 17th-century tenement houses in London which are now known as the most important mid-Georgian example of Gothic Revival.

Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. Paul Williams, CC BY-SA

Strawberry Hill in Twickenham
(Image by Paul Williams, CC BY-SA)

Walpole’s choices were rooted in a love of medieval architecture and genealogy. He presented his project as realising the castle of his ancestors, painting their coats of arms on the walls of the house’s armoury, for example.

Horace Walpole by John Giles Eccardt (1754)

Horace Walpole by John Giles Eccardt (1754)

Gothic’s grim associations meanwhile found an outlet in its other notable form in Georgian Britain, the Gothic novel. Horace Walpole was again a pioneer. The Castle of Otranto (1764) tells of incest, brutality and deceit and is set within what we can only interpret as a Gothic structure. Subsequent authors from Ann Radcliffe to Bram Stoker also located terrifying scenes and ghastly encounters in and around such buildings.

The form became so popular that an anonymous letter published in The Spirit of the Public Journals for 1797 proposed a satirical “formula” for writing a Gothic novel. It highlights the centrality of Gothic structures to the genre:

Take — An old castle, half of it ruinous.
A long gallery, with a great many doors, some secret ones.
Three murdered bodies, quite fresh.
As many skeletons, in chests and presses.
An old woman hanging by the neck; with her throat cut.
Assassins and desperadoes quant suff.
Noise, whispers, and groans, threescore at least.

The second coming

Then in the 19th century, Gothic made a stylistic comeback. This was helped by antiquaries in the mid-Georgian period who had studied Gothic works and treated them as part of Britain’s architectural heritage.

By the time the Palace of Westminster was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1834, fashions had come full circle. For a competition to commission a new building, the brief said it had to be “either Gothic or Elizabethan”. It had to preserve “those venerable and beautiful remains of [Gothic] antiquity, the cloisters and the Crypt of St. Stephen’s Chapel”.

One supporter argued:

Gothic is eminently English in every respect … It is the architecture of our history and our romance. Our kings of old held court in Gothic structures.

Dissenting voices such as the scientist and thinker WR Hamilton believed this revival “may possibly throw us back to the middle ages”, but for the next few decades they were ignored. Gothic revivalism went hand in hand with top-hatted Victorians and their fixations with death and religion. We can still see the results in the likes of monuments to Prince Albert in London, and Sir Walter Scott in Edinburgh.

Scott monument, Edinburgh ChrisA1995, CC BY-SA

Scott monument, Edinburgh
(Image by ChrisA1995, CC BY-SA)

When Gothic fell out of favour a second time in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, it was because of the availability of new materials such as glass and steel – and new priorities, such as functionality. Suggestions of Gothic barbarism and un-Britishness were left in the past. Ominous turrets and groaning archways may sometimes seem best suited to the sets of Dracula movies, but these glorious structures will always have a treasured place in British heritage.The Conversation

Peter Lindfield is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Literature and Languages at the University of Stirling

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Sections
- Features -- Opinion -ArchitectureEditors' ChoiceHeritageLifestyleThe Salon
Media Partner
Follow PrimeResi

MORE STORIES

PrimeResi Cookies Policy

Our website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use this site, you are essentially agreeing to this. Please visit our Terms & Conditions page for more information about cookies and how we use them.

PrimeResi.com will be re-launching very soon, with a significant upgrade to the website… Stay tuned!