Saturday, February 25, 2012

200 Years of Pugin Brings Celebrations, Special Events

2012 marks the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of A.W.N. Pugin, one of the great Victorian architects, and was responsible for a number of well-known buildings as well as countless beautiful designs for tiles, metalwork, furniture, wallpaper, stained glass and ceramics.

For Pugin, Gothic architecture was the greatest style of building, and was hugely influential on other architects and designers of the Gothic Revival throughout the Victorian era.Some of his best known work includes the magnificent interiors of the Houses of Parliament, the church of St Giles, Cheadle, in Staffordshire, and his own house, The Grange, in Ramsgate, Kent, together with the nearby church of St Augustine. As Clive Aslet notes in The Telegraph:

"Before Pugin came to prominence in the 1830s, the Gothic Revival had been an antiquarian affair, a style to titillate the imaginations of Regency aesthetes, in whom ivy-covered ruins and rusty armour roused a frisson of pleasurable gloom. Almost single-handedly, Pugin gave it a new seriousness. What he called Pointed or Christian Architecture became a moral crusade that went global, carried to every part of the world where English was spoken and cathedrals were built, from Brisbane to Bombay"

In celebration of Pugin's 200th anniversary in 2012 here will be events around the country, organised by the Pugin Society and by others. Here is a partial list of just some of the planned events; you can visit the Pugin Society website to find out more.


Thursday 1 March: Commemorative Mass and Reception, Ramsgate

A commemorative mass will be sung in remembrance of A.W.N. Pugin on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth on 1 March at St Augustine's Ramsgate, the church he designed and built on the West Cliff of Ramsgate. Mass will be at 12.00 and is open to all. This will be followed by a champagne reception with light refreshments in the Cartoon Room nearby by kind permission of the Landmark Trust, courtesy of the Pugin Society and assistance of Friends of St Augustine's. A toast to the memory of Pugin will be proposed by Lord Deben, formally John Selwyn Gummer. Pugin Society members are invited to the free reception, but asked to apply for tickets as numbers are strictly limited. Please send stamped addressed envelope. Apply: Professor Julia Twigg, 9 Nunnery Road, Canterbury, CT1 3LS, , 01227 766879.

Wednesday 21 March: Grand Reception and Address at the Palace of Westminster

We are holding a grand reception in honour of Pugin in the beautiful River Room of the Palace of Westminster by kind arrangement of Baroness Wheatcroft and with the support of Laura Sandys MP. The address will be given by Dr Tristram Hunt MP, the well-known social historian, on Pugin, Medievalism and Modernity. Wine and canapÈs. 6.00-8.00 Tickets: £25 with SAE. Apply: Professor Julia Twigg, 9 Nunnery Road, Canterbury, CT1 3LS, , 01227 766879.

Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 May: Art Workshop for young people, based around Pugin Themes

by Dawn Cole, award-winning printmaker, and Tony Roche, from the Wallpaper History Society, who is an accomplished wallpaper designer. Wednesday afternoon (2.00-4.00) will focus on details in the Grange and St Augustine's to learn something about Pugin's design principles. On Thursday (1.00-4.00) these ideas will be put into practice with opportunities to make Pugin-inspired relief prints and stencilled wallpaper designs in the Cartoon Room, by kind permission of the Landmark Trust. Cost: £5.00. Space is limited, no more than ten. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact Catriona Blaker for further details.

13-14 July : International Conference: New Directions in Gothic Revival Studies Worldwide, University of Kent, Canterbury

This interdisciplinary conference will be the primary international academic event marking the bicentenary of the birth of A.W.N Pugin. Plenary speakers include: Professor Stephen Bann on Pugin and the French Connection; Professor Barry Bergdoll on Pugin and the Paradox of Historicism; Dr Margaret Belcher on Pugin's Letters; and Professor Thomas Coomans on the Belgium Gothic Revival Worldwide. The conference will be based at the University of Kent in Canterbury, but there will be opportunities before and after to visit key sites in Ramsgate and Cheadle. The conference is organised by Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin of Kent School of Architecture. A special rate is available for Pugin Society members. For further details and joining information:

Visiting The Grange and St. Augustine's

Throughout the year it will be possible to visit The Grange, the house that Pugin designed and built for himself on the West Cliff of Ramsgate, and St Augustine's the church he designed and built next door. The Grange, under the ownership of The Landmark Trust, will be open as usual on Wednesday afternoons 2-4 (booking in advance required 01843 596401). St Augustine's is also open on Sundays 2-4 every week and every Wednesday 2-4. Please note that some restoration will be in progress in St Augustine's during the year. This should not affect visiting, but just in case, if you are coming from any distance, it might be as well to ring 01843 592460 or 01843 596401 to check in advance. Whilst visitors to St Augustine's are welcome to wander at will, there will be official tours at 2.30 on the first Sunday of each month, starting from March, and on Wednesdays (weekly) at 2 and 3.

Open Weekend at the Grange and St Augustine's: Friday to Monday 20- 23 April:

The Grange: every day 10-4 except Monday 10-1. St Augustine's Church: Friday 11-4, Saturday 10-4, Sunday 2-4, Monday 10-1.

Open Weekend at the Grange and St Augustine's: Friday to Tuesday 7-10 September:

The Grange: every day 10-4 except Tuesday 10-1. St Augustine's church: Friday 11-4, Saturday 10-4, Sunday 2-4, Monday 10-4, Tuesday 10-1.


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