Left to right: (a) George Gilbert Scott's chapel for King's College, London, on a basilican plan with rich ornamentation. (b) Close-up of the apse, with a painted copy of a Salviati mosaic of Christ in Majesty. (c) Sir William Blake Richmond's God Creates the Dry Land in the Creation sequence in St Paul's Cathedral, London.

decorated initial 'B'yzantine elements lend an almost incomparable glory to some of our best-loved buildings. They can be found in early nineteenth-century architecture, for example in the work of Sir John Soane and James Wyatt (see Turnor 9 and 12), and also at the beginning of the Victorian period in Sarah Losh's church, St Mary's, Wreay in Cumbria (1841-42). Though highly individualistic in its blending of different elements, this small Cumbrian church can perhaps be seen as a forerunner of the Byzantine Revival. The term "Byzantine" itself takes in a great deal, since its Early, Middle and Late periods produced a variety of manifestations, up to and including the variations on it under the Ottomans. The revival, therefore, drew on a rich and complex cultural heritage, though over a very much narrower timescale than the original: the term is generally applied to architectural and decorative works from the mid-1870s to the early twentieth century. — Jacqueline Banerjee.

Byzantine Revival Architecture in the United Kingdom

Some Churches Associated with the Byzantine Revival

Related Material


A Brief History of King's College Chapel at the Strand. Leaflet available at the chapel.

Bullen, J. B. Byzantium Rediscovered. London: Phaidon, 2003.

_____. "The Byzantine Revival in Europe." Talk at King's College, London. 4 September 2014, with a version available here. Web. 20 February 2014.

"The Church of the Wisdom of God." 2001. Booklet available in the church at Lower Kingswood. 16pp.

Crinson, Mark. Empire Building: Orientalism and Victorian Culture. Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge, 1996.

Curl, James Stevens. Victorian Architecture. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1980.

Davies, Philip. London: Hidden Interiors. Croxley Green, Herts.: Atlantic Publishing, 2012.

de l'Hôpital, Winefride. Westminster Cathedral and Its Architect: Volume I, The Building of the Cathedral. 2 vols. London: Hutchinson, 1919. Internet Archive. Web. 20 February 2014.

Desing, Julius. King Ludwig II: His Life — His End. Lechbruck: Verlag Kienberger, 1976.

"Drawing" (Burges's pen and wash design of the foundation plan for Crimean Memorial Church in present-day Istanbul). Victorian & Albert Museum. Web. 20 February 2014.

Jeffreys, Elizabeth, John Haldon and Robin Cormack. The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Jenkins, Simon. England's Thousand Best Churches. London: Penguin, 2009.

Jones, Owen. The Grammar of Ornament. 1856. London: Dorling Kindersley, 2001.

Lethaby, W. R. and Harold Swainson. The Church of Sancta Sophia, Constantinople: A Study of Byzantine Building. London & New York: Macmillan, 1894. Internet Archive. Web. 20 February 2014.

Morris, William. "Gothic Architecture." Morris Online Edition (University of Iowa). 20 February 2014.

Pevsner, Nikolaus. Cumberland and Westmoreland. London: Penguin, 1967.

Popova, Natalia. St. Petersburg. St Petersburg: P-2 Art Publishers, 2007.

Sladen, Teresa. "Byzantium in the Chancel: Surface Decoration and the Church Interior." In Churches 1870-1914, the Victorian Society's journal, Studies in Victorian Architecture & Design. Vol. III. 2011. 81-99.

Steegmann, John. A Study of the Arts and Architecture from 1830 to 1870. Paperback ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1971.

Tromans, Nicholas. "The Holy City." The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting. London: Tate, 2008. 162-72.

Turnor, Reginald. Nineteenth Century Architecture in Britain. London: Batsford, 1950.

Walter, Christopher. The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition. Aldershot, Hants.: Ashgate, 2003.

Victorian Web Homepage Visual Arts Architecture

Last modified 20 February 2014