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Temple Moore: An Architect of the Late Gothic Revival


by Geoffrey K Brandwood. Paul Watkins Publishing (Stamford, Lincs.), 1997. 310pp. £49.50

Many people may wonder why we need a study of the late Gothic Revival church architect Temple Moore (1856-1920), writes Julian Holder. Beyond the obvious passion with which Geoffrey Brandwood views his subject, there are compelling reasons. Moore was one of the group of late Goths which included Charles Nicholson, Walter Tapper and Ninian Comper. Equally remote, you may think - but why, then, is the 1988 riba exhibition on Comper still among its most successful?

It is clear that as revisionism continues to spread its balm over histories of architecture, Gothic will be seen to have survived (along with Classicism) well into our century - and no doubt will survive beyond it. Trained by George Gilbert Scott Jnr, and the mentor of Giles, Moore provides a link with the 'real Goths' in a line of tradition that stretches back to Pugin and forward to Liverpool Cathedral - one of the century's enduring monuments. His work moved from a gaunt refinement to a missionary Gothic (all brick and whitewash inside), but it is his planning of town churches which deserves our special notice today.

Architectural history tends to go a little fuzzy around the turn of this century in terms of where to place importance. There is still the urge to concentrate on pioneers of the Modern Movement, despite decades of debunking Pevsner. Little wonder that the Gothic Revival of these years hardly gets a look-in, and when it does, it is secular buildings such as Basil Champney's John Rylands Library in Manchester that receive attention.

Brandwood's copiously illustrated, scholarly book begins to correct the omission. It is not just a study of Moore - it is the first serious book- length account of the Gothic Revival of the twentieth century.

Julian Holder is an architectural historian

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