Architecture and archaeology

Section of Chichester Cathedral, from The architectural history of Chichester Cathedral by Robert Willis, 1861.

Robert Willlis was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as “the greatest English architectural historian of the 19th century”. I bought this book in Chichester, not realising at the time how fine a gem it was. The tower and spire of the cathedral fell in 1861, and Willis was able to include graphic illuatrations of the collapse. The full text of the boox is availabe on the Intenrnet Archive.

Another great recorder of Britain’s architectural history was the photographer Charles Latham, who worked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He photographed mainly country houses and gardens, including in Italy as well as Britain. His photos are especially valuable for houses that have since been demolished, as they are often the only images in existence, particularly for the interiors. Coleshill House (right) with its magnificent ceilings, was demolished following a fire in 1952. Latham’s photograph was published in Later Renaissance architecture in England by John Belcher (1901). Over a thousand of of Latham’s photographs can be found on Wikimedia Commons.