Imperial Gothic (Hardcover)

Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, 1840-1870

By G. A. Bremner

Paul Mellon Centre BA, 9780300187038, 364pp.

Publication Date: June 25, 2013

List Price: 65.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The Gothic Revival movement in architecture was intimately entwined with 18th- and 19th-century British cultural politics. By the middle of the 19th century, architects and theorists had transformed the movement into a serious scholarly endeavor, connecting it to notions of propriety and “truth,” particularly in the domain of religious architecture. Simultaneously, reform within the Church of England had worked to widen the aesthetic and liturgical appeal of “correct” gothic forms. Coinciding with these developments, both architectural and religious, was the continued expansion of Britain’s empire, including a renewed urgency by the English Church to extend its mission beyond the British Isles.

In this groundbreaking new study, G. A. Bremner traces the global reach and influence of the Gothic Revival throughout Britain’s empire during these crucial decades. Focusing on religious buildings, he examines the reinvigoration of the Church of England’s colonial and missionary agenda and its relationship to the rise of Anglican ecclesiology, revealing the extraordinary nature and extent of building activity that occurred across the British world.

About the Author

G. A. Bremner is senior lecturer in architectural history at the University of Edinburgh.

Praise For Imperial Gothic: Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, 1840-1870

Winner of the 2013 Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.

— Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion

“Although wide in scope and rich in scholarly detail, Bremner remains focused and easy to follow in his arguments. By considering the unique cultural context for each religious building, he sets a model for future scholarship in this field and demonstrates that the ideas behind the Gothic Revival Movement were not simply adapted or diluted for imperial export, but were actively developed across the globe.”—Francesca Herrick, Burlington Magazine

— Francesca Herrick

“He brings a great quantity of new information, and a magnificent collection of illustrations to illuminate it.”—Peter Howell, The Art Newspaper

— Peter Howell

“Bremner’s study is a rewarding and, while scholarly, an accessibly written one, which will do much to expand the knowledge and thinking of those with interests in ecclesiastical architectural history and the 19th-century ecclesiological movement in particular as well as in the history of the British empire.”—Paul Harron, Perspective

— Paul Harron

“This splendid work superbly illustrates and describes churches created in the cause of global Anglicanism. ‘Groundbreaking book’ is an over-used term, but that it what this is: a beautiful reminder of the high-minded aspirations of what was once considered to be not an ignoble undertaking.”—James Stevens Curl, Times Higher Education Supplement
— James Stevens Curl

“Bremner’s Imperial Gothic provides a most substantial enrichment to our knowledge of early and mid-Victorian church architecture.”—Stefan Muthesius, The Victorian

— Stefan Muthesius

Shortlisted for the 2013 Whitfield Prize sponsored by the Royal Historical Society.

— Whitfield Prize

“A magisterial survey . . . Imperial Gothic is formidable for the sheer breadth and scope that it introduces to the study of architectural history.”—Zirwat Chowdhury, Marginalia Review of Books

— Zirwat Chowdhury

Winner of the Historians of British Art Book Prize for books published in 2013 in the Single Author after 1800 category.

— Book Award

Winner of the 2014 William MB Berger Prize for British Art History sponsored by the British Art Journal in association with the Berger Collection Education Trust of Denver, Colorado

— William MB Berger

“In Imperial Gothic—wide-ranging in scope, lavishly adorned with nearly 400 images, and challenging in its marrying of architectural, religious, political, and cultural history in a global perspective-G. A. Bremner traces the coordinated effort by the Church of England in the mid-nineteenth century to spread the gospel and attendant membership in British civilization across the Empire.”— Margaret M. Grubiak, Victorian Studies

— Margaret M. Grubiak