Travel Reference
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ous scheme. To develop a discerning eye for such minutiae is an essential step if one is
to benefit from the prophylactic qualities of architecture. I have drawn a much later phar-
macy opposite, and I propose to discuss it in connexion with another drawing, that here
of Purdey's, the gunsmiths in Mayfair. Both these shops belong to a rather special kind of
Victorian architecture of the late 1870s and especially the 1880s, which has received little
attention and has no precise label. You might, for want of a better name, call it Early Oscar
Wilde though this lacks definition. In both, a kind of Gothicy flavour (the ironwork above
Purdey's fa├žade and the doors and corbel in Cooper's pharmacy) is combined with debased
Renaissance details. Fused together, these styles combine to form this pure late Victorian
style which is found in various parts of London. Ornamental pilasters are a feature, togeth-
er with exaggerated curved pediments, cut brick, and the sunflower device. This architec-
ture coincides with the fashionable acceptance of the work of Morris and Co., the nursery
illustrations, formal and classically flavoured, of Crane and his followers, and the begin-
ning of the Art and Craft movement, of which Norman Shaw's suburb of Bedford Park is
a monument - a memorial to the fortunately faded dream world of News from Nowhere
- a fusty, unattractive Socialist utopia peopled by handloom weavers, cheerful and vastly
disagreeable, at work on folksy objects.
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