Augustus Welby Pugin

Key Works Available in Facsimile Editions

Introduced by the architectural historian and Pugin authority

Dr Roderick O’Donnell


Pointed or Christian Architecture


The Revival of Christian Architecture

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852) came to exercise a seminal influence articulated through Gothic Revival principles on British architecture in the nineteenth century. He was to observe at the end of his short life, and even shorter career (no more than sixteen years) as an architect, that his writings had ‘revolutionised the Taste of England’.

Pugin had been trained in his father's drawing office, a powerhouse of architectural and antiquarian scholarship, where his brilliant draughtsmanship developed. In this long and distinguished tradition he found a quite new, and to him causal, connection between art and life. The driving force behind his mission was his deep Catholic faith.

In an age of booming opportunities in print, Pugin’s books, pamphlets and journalism established him as an architectural and Catholic controversialist. True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture was published in 1841, when Pugin was 29 years old. In it he presented coherent arguments for the revival of the Gothic style, the case for which he had made pictorially in his sensational book Contrasts, first published in 1836. For Pugin, the Gothic Revival was ‘not a style but a principle’ and this he laid down in his most influential architectural treatise, True Principles, which introduced functionalist and rationalist as well as moral criteria into architectural discourse, much of it still resonant in the twentieth-century Modern Movement.

An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture appeared two years after True Principles in 1843. Much of his thought in An Apology is on architectural education, and in shuffling off the straitjacket of neoclassical architectural principles Pugin exercised a great influence in mid-Victorian architecture and the applied arts, and in a wider design reform movement. His own house, the Grange, Ramsgate (1843) begins the best and most creative period of Victorian domestic architecture as it was to develop up to 1914.

Though long in influence, Pugin's books were short-lived as publications and neither True Principles nor An Apology were reprinted during his lifetime. True Principles was republished in a new edition in 1853 (the year after Pugin’s death), then again at the end of the nineteenth century. Facsimile editions of both works appeared in the mid twentieth century but have been long out of print.

Since the original edition of An Apology is often bound together with True Principles in its 1853 reprint it seems historically appropriate to reissue the two works once again as one volume, but in facsimile of the first edition of each, providing an opportunity for the architectural student and the Pugin enthusiast to acquire these important source books in a practical inexpensive edition.

144 pages 978 0 85244 611 9 - 166 pages - £9.99 pb - illustrated

The Present State of Ecclesiastical Architecture in England and Some Remarks… relative to Ecclesiastical Architecture and Decoration

Augustus Welby Pugin

In  The Present State (1843) we find minutely detailed descriptions with 36 illustrations of his churches up to the year 1844.  But his most revealing autobiographical writing is found in Some Remarks.. which takes the story almost to the end of his life, and describes his conversion to Catholicism (1835) as well as the many churches he built between 1838 and 1848.

9780852446263 - 232 pages - £12.99pb - illustrated

A Treatise on Chancel Screens and Rood Lofts

Augustus Welby Pugin

This is Pugin’s last book. Published in the Spring of 1851, some eighteen months before his untimely death, it is Pugin’s answer to those critics who questioned the need, and indeed the rationale for rood screens in the new Catholic churches of the nineteenth century.  In this work Pugin argues the case - a first class one in his view - for providing screens in churches, tracing their history back to the early Christian times, and illustrating his argument with a galaxy of examples drawn from all over Europe, and not just medieval ones.

Largely ignored at the time of its publication, and since, it has never been reprinted, now available again in a facsimile of the original Victorian edition.

9780852446607 - 146 pages - £12.99pb - illustrated

The Pugins and the Catholic Midlands

Roderick O'Donnell

Shows how Pugin exercised a crucial influence on the direction that the Catholic Revival took in the Midlands - itself a key area for the restoration of Catholicism as a National Church in England - and this book provides a detailed account of his work there and the circle of friends and patrons in which he moved. It is a practical guide to the many buildings and interiors that remain to attest Pugin's genius, and that of his sons Edward Welby and Peter Paul Pugin. Over fifty churches, convents and colleges designed by the Pugins are included, splendidly illustrated in both contemporary and historic photographs, the latter are sadly a reminder of how much has been lost in recent times.

9780852445679 - 144 pages - £7.99 -  Illustrated -  Reprinting

George Myers: Pugin’s Builder

Patricia Spencer-Silver

George Myers (1803–1875) was one of the mid-nineteenth century's great master builders. From his workshops, first in his native Hull and later in London, he directed a nationwide contracting business executing many large and important contracts. But it was as the favourite builder of  A. W. N. Pugin, that Myers became well known, to the extent of earning himself the soubriquet “Pugin’s builder”. Described by Pugin as “a rough diamond, but a real diamond”, Myers executed most of Pugin’s English commissions, among them no fewer than four Catholic cathedrals—Birmingham, Southwark, Newcastle and Nottingham—all built within the space of a single decade.

978085244184 8 - 294 pages - £20.00hb - Illustrated

English Catholic Heroes

John Jolliffe (Editor)

A book to inspire Catholics of all ages and to inform non-Catholics of the impressive gallery of England's Catholic heroes - including Augustus Welby Pugin.

978 085244604 1 - 224 pages - £9.99 - Illustrated   

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