William Burges (1827-81) was arguably the greatest of all Victorian architects. But he was more than just the creator of a modest number of fabulous, and fabulously expensive, buildings. He dreamed of hundreds more, designed dozens, and in addition created some of the most remarkable furniture and jewellery of all time.
He was an art-architect. Rich, clever, well connected and short lived, he was uncompromising, profoundly learned, skilled in every process of design and explosively inventive. A brilliant talker, pungent critic and hilarious companion, he was one of Victorian London's great eccentrics and networkers, though he was bewitched by the Middle Ages.
The great buildings that he completed include Cork Cathedral, Cardiff Castle and the even more eccentric Castell Coch, the great Yorkshire churches of Skelton and Studley Royal, the magnificent country houses of Knightshayes in Devon, and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, and his own astonishing Tower House in Kensington. His furniture, fabric and jewellery designs and his unrealised projects were also hugely influential, and the former are now enthusiastically collected.
This book was a landmark in Victorian studies when first published in 1981 and is now completely revised and re-illustrated substantially in colour.