To What Extent Can Ideas of Tradition and Dissent Be Applied to Assist Our Understanding of the Rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster?

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Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin worked as an assistant to Charles Barry on the design of the New Palace of Westminster. Prior to the rebuilding of The Palace of Westminster, Britain had seen an unparalleled metamorphosis from a Roman Catholic Country to a Protestant. This affected many aspects of life in the following years including architecture. Pugin himself had already dissented from his Protestant upbringing and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1835. This internal dissent from tradition certainly affected Pugin’s view of what the true Christian style of architecture was. Pugin blamed the Reformation for the architectural decline in Britain and he championed the medieval, Gothic style that he felt was, “distinctly English”, (Richardson, 2008, page 113). All of these points demonstrate dissent however, was Pugin in fact a, “radical traditionalist”, (Mckellar, 2008, p131). In order to explore the ideas of Tradition and Dissent that was applied to the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster. I will be discussing Pugin’s abstractions, beliefs and ideologies and how they diverged from the Classical-Protestant views of the day, also, illustrating the features that could be interpreted as traditional or dissenting. An unfortunate fire at the Palace of Westminster in 1834, obliterated most of the Old Palace. This event brought about the catalyst for the social acceptance of the Gothic Revival; however this was initially seen as dissenting. Following the fire a committee met and decided that the new palace would be Gothic or Elizabethan in style and accepted designs from prolific architects and designers. Neo-classicism was the architecture of the time and had been for two hundred years. This decision was met with much discord and was a definite break from tradition. Pugin argued that the Classical traditional style was “derived from ancient Greece and Rome”,
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