P ugin took over Neo-Classical theories of design and applied them to Neo-Gothic construction. In other words, he functionalised a style which has previous been first decorative (Rococo Gothick) and then scenic (Picturesque Gothic). . . . Pugin, in effect, created the dilemma of style. For it was Pugin who injected morality into architecture. As his Times obituary put it, "It was [Pugin] who first showed us that our architecture offended not only against the laws of beauty, but also against the laws of morality." Ethical values had now replaced visual and associative values (Crook, 52-53).

As a journalist, as a caricaturist, he was unbeatable. Above all — compared for example with Ruskin — he possessed the blessed gift of brevity. And his message — the moral superiority of Gothic — caught exactly the radical, backward-dreaming, almost chiliastic mood of the 1840s. (68)


Crook, J. Mordaunt. The Dilemma of Style: Architectural Ideas from the Picturesque to the Post-Modern. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Last modified 16 July 2001