The bicentenary of a great Catholic architect and artist: Augustus Pugin
Another interesting article on Pugin I read recently:

Quote:Part of the reason he was able to build so quickly was the coming of the railways. He would wait impatiently for each new line to open so he could build more and more Catholic churches. 'I am such a locomotive,' he wrote, 'being always flying about.'

The team of loyal builders and craftsmen he nurtured knew how to realise a Pugin design without him needing to be on site more than one or two days a month. He refused to employ an assistant. 'A clerk, sir?' he exclaimed, 'why, I should kill him in a week.'

He was wholly uninterested, unlike Sir Charles Barry, in social preferment. He dressed, except on the great feast days of the Church, in a pilot's outfit, his great nautical cloak tricked out with copious pockets for sketchbooks, drawing instruments, spare shirt and underwear. Like sailors of the time, he was long-haired and clean shaven. Like them he was short and powerful.

He had piercing grey eyes, a rolling gait and was rapid in all his movements. He was well travelled too, making 15 major tours of the Continent between 1837 and 1852.

'Like a sailor, too,' wrote his only pupil and future son-in-law, John Hardman Powell, 'Pugin was susceptible with regard to women.' Pugin eloped with his first wife, Anne Garnett, who died in childbirth a year later. He married again, to Louisa Burton, whom he described as a 'perfect Gothic woman', but she died, too. His third wife, Jane Knill, whom he married at the age of 37, managed to outlive him. He fathered eight children. He provided them with curious Gothic houses built to his designs in Salisbury and Ramsgate.

He liked to sing snatches of opera or plain chant in a deep baritone, in private or public, and made the sign of the cross whenever entering a train. An offended businessman travelling up from Ramsgate glared at Pugin and said: 'I say, my man, haven't you made a mistake?' 'Yes,' the Goth replied: 'I took this for first class.'

Pugin's charity was as spontaneous as it was famous. He returned home one day without boots because he had given them to a beggar. He rescued shipwrecked sailors. He clothed them, fed them and built a hostel for them in Ramsgate with his own money.

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Re: The bicentenary of a great Catholic architect and artist: Augustus Pugin - by The_Harlequin_King - 06-25-2012, 07:10 AM

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