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Re-Categorizing Great Britain's Medieval Architecture: A Lesson in Nineteenth-Century Visual Taxonomy

Long, Courtney S (2016) Re-Categorizing Great Britain's Medieval Architecture: A Lesson in Nineteenth-Century Visual Taxonomy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores the intersections of architectural history and natural science in the first half of the nineteenth century in Great Britain. Examining a set of seven British architectural historians between 1800 and 1850, an alternate approach to our contemporary understanding of Nineteenth Century architectural history writing is offered through an analysis of visual representations showing change over time. Each chapter confronts shifting notions about the developmental progress of biological and architectural species presented by some of the renowned theorists of natural science and architectural history from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The theories about change over time from Carl Linnaeus, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Charles Lyell, and Charles Darwin, to name a few, are offered in order to contextualize pictorial arrangements of visual knowledge showing change over time in architectural histories of medieval British ecclesiastical buildings. The visual examples from works by Thomas Warton, James Storer, John Britton, Thomas Rickman, Robert Willis, Edmund Sharpe, and John Ruskin present their own narrative of progress and change over time as each new author arranged a different set of building examples for illustration that, when examined together, highlight the synchronic and diachronic relationships between space and time, text and image, and art and science. Nineteenth-century notions about vision, objectivity, and Truth to Nature are included in order to situate these often-overlooked images in the context of contemporary art historical thinking. Since its mid-nineteenth century formation as an academic discipline, the teaching of art history has been influenced by the history of science and scientific research. The correlation between natural science and architectural history, however, has been largely ignored. What is missing from recent British architectural historiographies is an investigation of theoretical and artistic production pertaining to ideas of change over time in the nineteenth century. This dissertation situates medieval British ecclesiastical architectural history within the broader framework of natural history through an analysis of nineteenth-century taxonomic systems. Examining pictures and diagrams, the following chapters investigate how natural historians and architectural historians present, in pictorial form, evolutionary descent, the typical in species, and their synchronic relations among different types and forms.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Long, Courtney Slong.courtney.s@gmail.comCSL100000-0001-8649-9612
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairArmstrong, Christopher
Committee MemberSavage,
Committee MemberEllenbogen,
Committee MemberMcDermott,
Date: 6 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 April 2016
Approval Date: 6 June 2016
Submission Date: 15 April 2016
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 214
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Architecture-Great Britain; Art and science; Architecture, Gothic; Visualization; Windows-England; Visual taxonomy
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 20:45
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2021 05:15


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