By Barry Magrill
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Extra info for A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914
Wills veiled self-promotion behind humility with an approach not unfamiliar to church missionary movements that spread among settlers. Interestingly, within twenty years this sense of decorum was virtually Fig. 10 Specimen page of design no. 8, plate 15, from Church Architecture. 31 • the r ise of comm ercial so ciet y eroded from the architectural profession in the US, and to some lesser extent in Britain, by architects blatantly marketing their designs for churches in pattern books. By the early 1870s, the US architects Frederick Withers and Henry Hudson Holly produced pattern books that exclusively contained a series of churches they had proposed and built in various US towns and cities.
Public access to visual material in the pattern books tended to produce copies of British churches rather than flexible turns of an architectural Gothic phrase. Commercialized taste became a component in the identity-making process associated with church-building in the decades after official Confederation. The result of marketing taste in the public domain, especially in print media, conflated the transience of fashion with the enduring and permanent aspects of taste. Taste-cum-fashion became a leveller in colonial society because of increased access to money and goods, formerly associated with 20 • a commerce of taste Old World landed gentry.
Fripp, who owned a copy of James Kellaway Colling’s pattern book, Art Foliage (1874) (fig. 12), understood that church pattern books produced after the 1840s subtly marketed all sorts of new architectural ideas masquerading as traditional building technique. Depicting a series of architectural details, including foliated capitals, tile patterns, and carved ornament, the book marketed history as a dynamic field of representations of knowledge. Publishers keen to present the full spectrum of progressive-to-conservative church designs as a form of cultivated education created books that appeared to be expensive, bound editions of hand-pulled etchings.
A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914 by Barry Magrill