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Gothic Revival 1830-1880

  • Picturesque asymmetry with complementary landscape
  • Asymmetrical plan and elevation with minor gables and elaborate porches united by monochromatic color scheme
  • Stone, stucco, flush boards or board-and-batten siding
  • Steeply-pitched roofs, gables, decorated with bargeboards (some fanciful), pinnacles, crenelations, turrets
  • High-pointed arch over windows and doorways
  • Window tracery and labels, casement and bay windows
  • Exuberant decoration: polychrome brickwork, corbels, gargoyles, stained glass, patterned tiles


[History needed. One or two paragraphs.]


Clark, Kenneth. Gothic Revival an Essay in the History of Taste. Icon (Harpe), 1974. [View on Amazon]

Lewis, Michael. The Gothic Revival (World of Art). London: Thames & Hudson, 2002. [View on Amazon]

McCarthy, M., Origins of the Gothic Revival. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987 [View on Amazon]

Stanton, Phoebe B. The Gothic Revival & American Church Architecture: An Episode in Taste, 1840-1856. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997 [View on Amazon]

Verpoest, Luc and Jan De Maeyer, editors. Gothic Revival: Religion, Architecture and Style in Western Europe 1815-1914; Proceedings of the Leuven Colloquium, University of Leuven, 7-10 November 1997. Coronet Books Inc, 2000.

Primary Resources


Davis, Alexander Jackson. Rural Residences, Etc.: Consisting of Designs, Original and Selected, for Cottages, Farm-Houses, Villas, and Village Churches, With Brief Explanation (1837).. New York: Da Capo Press, 1979. [View on Amazon; as Rural Residences, compiled by Sarah E. Mitchell]

Downing, Andrew J. Cottage Residences (1842), reprinted as Victorian Cottage Residences (1873 edition), New York: Dover Publications, 1981 [View on Amazon]

Downing, Andrew J. The Architecture of Country Houses (1850), New York: Dover Publications, 1969 [View on Amazon]

Sloan, Samuel. The Model Architect. Philadelphia: E.S. Jones & Co., 1852. Reprinted as Sloan's Victorian Buildings: Illustrations and Floor Plans for 60 Residences and Other Structures. Reprint of the 1852-3 Ed Pub in 2-Vols., New York: Dover Publications, 1981 [View on Amazon]

Vaux, Calvert. Villas and Cottages. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1857. Republished by Dover Publications, 1991[View on Amazon]


Langley, Batty, Ancient Architecture, Restored and improved by a great variety of grand and usefull designs, entirely new, in the Gothick mode, etc. 1742

Langley, Batty, Gothic Architecture, Improved by rules and proportions, in many grand designs of columns, doors, windows .. etc. 1747

Pugin, Augustus Welby Northmore. A.W.N. Pugin: Master of Gothic Revival. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996 [View on Amazon]

Pugin, Augustus Welby Northmore, The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841). St. Martin's Press, 1973. [View on Amazon]

Ruskin, John. The Seven Lamps of Architecture. (1849), New York, NY: Dover Publications, reprint 1990 [View on Amazon]

Ruskin, John. The Stones of Venice (1851-53). New York: Da Capo Press, reprint, 2003 [View on Amazon]

Rhode Island and other area examples open to the public

Kingscote (1839-41), Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island. Preservation Society of Newport County

Bowen House / Roseland Cottage (1846), Woodstock, Connecticut. Historic New England


Friends ofStrawberry Hill

The Villa

...”is the country house of a person of competence or wealth sufficient to build and maintain it with some taste and elegance...”

“And what should the villa be architecturally?”

“It should first, firstly, be the most convenient; secondly, the most truthful of significant; and thirdly, the most tasteful or beautiful of dwellings.”

“The highest rule of utility is that which involves convenience. In all architecture, adaptation to the end view is important; in domestic architecture it is a principle which, in its influence on our daily lives, our physical comfort and enjoyment, is paramount and imperative...”

“The villa...should above all things, manifest individuality. It should say something of the character of the family within...

Downing, Country Houses

[A villa is] “a country residence, with land attached, a portion of which, surrounding the house, is laid out as a pleasure ground...with a view to recreation and enjoyment, more than profit...the end in view, in forming the villa, is to produce a healthy, agreeable, and elegant country residence.”

Loudon, J.C.Encyclopedia, B. III, No.1620, p.763.

The Cottage

"What we mean by a cottage in this country, is a dwelling of small size, intended for the occupation of a family, either wholly managing the household cares itself, or, at the most, with the assistance of one or two servants. The majority of such cottages in this country are occupied, not by tenants, dependents, or serfs, as in many parts of Europe, but by industrious and intelligent mechanics and workingman, the bone and sinew of the land, who own the ground upon which they stand, build them for their own use, and arrange them to satisfy their own peculiar wants and gratify their tastes.”

Downing, Country Houses

Printing Pattern Books

“In a country like this, where the printing-press accompanies each stride that is made into new localities, and where every step is marked by a building of some sort, it seems inconsistent that there should be but little popular literature on architectural matters... It has not, certainly, till within the last few years been an easy matter to place before the public the necessary illustrations in a convenient form.... Now, however, with the present rapid development and general application of the art of wood-engraving in the United States, this hindrance no longer exists.”

Calvert Vaux Villas and Cottages Harper and Brothers, 1857

“Accordingly, so far as practice would admit, the designs were embellished in various degrees, and the best artists were secured for the engraving [sic]. Great care and pains have been expended to make it handsome, interesting, and credible, without detracting in the least in its practical value.

Samuel Sloan The Model Architect E.S. Jones & Co., 1852

“They [the illustrations] are engraved [rendered] in lines, which is a style much preferred by many persons for architectural drawings, to the tinted [tone] plates heretofore given...The advantage consists in having a sharper outline, from which measurements may be taken, while at the same time the general effect is retained, so as to present a truthful and pleasing picture. Some few buildings in the preceding parts of our work have been delineated in this way, and have met with decided approval, while we must confess that to us it is preferable, as being more in the usual style of the best architectural drawings. The plate before us, as close examination will show, has been lithographed with a [grease] pencil instead of a pen [engraver], and hence presents more of an appearance of a sketch, thus affording the artist an opportunity of producing better effects than can be produced by an engraver’s pen.”

Samuel Sloan The Model Architect E.S. Jones & Co., 1852, Vol. II