By Barry Magrill
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Additional resources for A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914
Fergusson was critical of progress, as exemplified by the way he contrasted the purity and simplicity of religion against the complicated socioeconomic and technical aspects of modern engineering. ”21 His volume proceeded through architectural styles used in England, Europe, and the US, concluding with a section on civil and military engineering in which he reinforced the separation of engineering from architecture, hardly a progressive view. Architecture, he argued, was an unparalleled art. It was grounded in nostalgia for the noble edifices of the past while engineering was concerned chiefly with the management of the 33 • the r ise of comm ercial so ciet y Fig.
Architecture defined and distilled social and economic relationships in the public eye, especially when the issue of taste arose. People who stood to benefit from “enforcing” a connection between taste and the enduring, apparently permanent, aspects of antiquity intended to make this relationship proprietary to themselves alone. Church architecture became a field on which these struggles were played out, and books depicting illustrations of churches further extended that field into a commercial realm.
9). It depicted the soaring towers, lavish interiors, intricate doorways, and rich foliage popular among architects and enthusiasts. These intricate images 28 • a commerce of taste promoted Nesfield’s skill as a draughtsman, the architect’s chief art and mode of communication. The ambitious assertion of history in the service of architecture was matched by the imposing size and weight of Nesfield’s book, which meant that a reader had to stand at a table to contemplate the harmony of his large-scale designs and sweeping picturesque exteriors.
A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914 by Barry Magrill