By Barry Magrill
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Additional resources for A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914
For this reason, the iconography of neo-Gothic churches that reflected and reinforced British, and particularly Anglican, socioeconomic and cultural advantage, in essence became unanticipated points of contention. It is also worth bearing in mind that the notion of a “modern colonial society” grew from the term Empire, coming into popular use to describe British expansion in all of its political, economic, and cultural – even religious 10 • a commerce of taste – associations. In that regard, the use of the term Dominion to describe British North America – months in advance of official Confederation 1 July 1867 – had biblical origins.
The pattern books both purveyed an enduring sense of taste 16 • a commerce of taste as well as acted as ciphers of the new transience of the economy linking architecture with the latest building fashions. 5 The exchanges of social, cultural, and economic capital democratized the art of architecture and consequently destabilized the nascent stage of architectural professionalization in Canada. A remarkable aspect of the pattern book, and especially its representation in church-building enterprise, was the balance of commerciality and the sense of decorum that appealed to church-builders.
It was quite clear to medievalists that those who controlled the architectural language in things like pattern books 39 • the r ise of comm ercial so ciet y had the ability to frame a national architectural image. Whether by conscious design, or more likely by the operations of a capitalist market, architects intent on nationalizing the Gothic Revival in Canada issued book after book in order to infuse their preferred idiom with freshness. All of this was actually problematized by the fact that architectural grammar had a way of crossing national boundaries.
A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914 by Barry Magrill