Thursday, 4 August 2011

Berating your client

Following on from the brief we’d all like to have received, here is the letter of desperation to the client that we’ve all probably composed in our head, but never sent. Augustus Pugin did send this letter, though, when his client had the temerity to suggest the addition of a gallery (a solecism in a Gothic church):

‘… here are no Less than 5 protestant archdeacons pulling down galleries of every kind, all the works of the Camden & oxford societies denounce them & now after I had ingeniously got rid of the organ Monstrosity your lordship proposes to erect a gallery in the only perfect revival that has been accomplished. what Can I say or do, the gallery would not hold 20 people if crammed full & it would utterly ruin the church. all the Learned men will flock to this church as a Model & then they will see this Monstrosity. what a miserable fate awaits every architect of this wretched country. I have Lived to see almost every building on which I have set my heart either upset or ruined & now a gallery at Cheadle. perfect Cheadle. Cheadle my consolation in all my afflictions. Mercy I entreat.’

Pugin’s client relented. The gallery was not built.

Rosemary Hill, God’s architect: Pugin and the building of romantic Britain (London, 2007) p. 268

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