SWEETNESS AND LIGHT: The ""Queen Anne"" Movement, 1860-1900 by Mark Girouard

SWEETNESS AND LIGHT: The ""Queen Anne"" Movement, 1860-1900

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Girouard's book arrives just when there's an increasing interest in--but a dearth of literature on--the oddly named ""Queen Anne"" movement in architecture. As he observes, there is now, as in the 1870s, a growing fondness for eclecticism and a disillusionment with dogma. This substantial survey of the movement takes in not only architecture, but also home furnishings, picture-books, gardens, and the design of new communities. Its ambitious scope seems, however, to impede a clear assessment of the movement's significance to the history of art. Girouard is also hampered by the somewhat uncertain nature of the subject: ""Queen Anne,"" more style than theory, combined plain red brick with Dutch, Flemish, Adamesque, and other domestically-scaled details. The author is at his best in discussing the rejection of the ostensibly rational raid-Victorian Gothic revival style for a new freedom of self-expression, a freedom to compose. Through a series of well-illustrated examples of buildings and projects, he traces the style's strong beginnings in Philip Webb and Norman Shaw to its final ""indigestibility"" in the hands of less discriminating architects. ""Queen Anne"" in America--ultimately the Shingle Style--is also given an extended look. Girouard makes a convincing argument for the style's reflection of a society's moment of ""happy hopefulness,"" a period when all things seemed reconcilable, though he does not probe the inherent contradiction of using 17th- and 18th-century pre-industrial forms to clothe an increasingly industrial culture. Handsomely produced, the book forms a companion volume to Girouard's well-received Victorian Country House (1971).

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1977
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press