William Butterfield: Gothic Revival Architect at the Intersection of Art and Religion

Mentor: Joe Lucchesi

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to study William Butterfield, a nineteenth century British High Church Gothic Revival architect and to analyze his most prominent architectural work, All Saints, Margaret Street within the context of the Gothic Revival and Oxford movements, as well as consider his influence upon the emerging Arts and Crafts movement. Butterfield has been cited by sources as being 'influential' and 'prominent', but neglected to further elaborate. Within this research I uncover how he was distinguished and influential within his roles as a practitioner of the Gothic Revival's stylistic conventions and theoretical principles and as an innovator through his unique material usage and language of design. Butterfield was a highly pious individual, who always maintained true to his convictions, despite the criticism from famous architectural critics about his works. He operated within his religious beliefs and tried to remain true to the historical context of the Gothic Revival style. He was also an active member of the Oxford movement through his role within the Ecclesiological Society and his public criticisms of leading clergymen. He was largely concerned with the loss of societal moral. Butterfield believed through his designs he could inspire humility and awe and bring people to a higher moral standing. Overall, close study of such a pious and devoted individual within the context of these movements provides a greater understanding of the intersection of art and religion during this time period. Measuring his influence towards the later Arts and Crafts movement reflects his significance.