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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/13

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years assisted his work as an archæologist, architect, and illustrator. In his thirteenth year he was sufficiently advanced to accompany his father on an architectural visit to Paris; and a drawing of Christ Church, Hampshire (reproduced in Ferrey's ‘Recollections’), testifies to his precocious powers of sketching.

In 1826 he was engaged in making investigations and drawings of Rochester Castle, and in the following year was taken ill from overwork while sketching in the cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris. After assisting his father in preparing a scheme, which resulted in the establishment of Kensal Green cemetery, he engaged in June 1827 in his first important independent work, the designing of the furniture for Windsor Castle. This commission led incidentally to an acquaintance with George Dayes, son of the artist Edward Dayes [q. v.], and it was through him, says Pugin in his ‘Diary’ (26 June 1827), ‘that I first imbibed the taste for stage-machinery and scenic representations, to which I afterwards applied myself so closely.’ His enthusiasm for theatrical accessories led him to fit up a small model stage at his father's house in Great Russell Street (on which was presented a moving panorama of ‘Old London’), and it culminated in 1831 with the execution, by Pugin, of scenery for the new ballet of ‘Kenilworth,’ an adaptation of a spectacular piece which had been first presented at Drury Lane in January 1824 (Genest, Hist. ix. 232). He was subsequently employed in the rearrangement of the stage machinery at Drury Lane. While still under age and in uncertain health, he developed another taste which exercised a great influence on his life: he became passionately fond of sailing, purchased a smack, and subsequently a lugger, and at one time took to trading by sea in a small way. In 1830 he was shipwrecked off Leith, and made his way to the residence of James Gillespie Graham [q. v.], the architect, to whom he was a complete stranger. Graham gave him, besides some good advice, the compasses which figure in Herbert's portrait of him. His passion for the sea was never subdued. His ordinary costume was that of a pilot, and, but for his hatred of beer and tobacco, he might have been taken for one. ‘There is nothing worth living for,’ he is reported to have said, ‘but Christian architecture and a boat.’

In 1831, at the age of nineteen, he married Ann Garnett (a connection of George Daves), who died in childbirth on 27 May 1832, and was buried at Christ Church Priory. Soon after the marriage Pugin was imprisoned for debt, and after his release opened in Hart Street, Covent Garden, a sort of workshop of architectural details. His intention was to supply to architects drawings and architectural accessories, such as carving and metal work, for designing which he justly felt he had unequalled capacity. The venture was not pecuniarily successful, and Pugin was forced to abandon it, though he ultimately paid his creditors in full. In 1833 he married his second wife, Louisa Burton, and established himself at Salisbury. In 1835 he bought an acre of ground at Laverstock, an adjoining hamlet, and built on it a house named St. Marie's Grange. In 1841 he left Salisbury for a temporary sojourn at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. Subsequently he settled at Ramsgate, where resided his aunt, Miss Selina Welby, who eventually made him her heir. At Ramsgate he built for himself a house with a church adjoining on the West Cliff, and was wont to assert that these were the only buildings in which, being his own paymaster, his designs were not hampered by financial restrictions. Soon after his second marriage he was received into the Roman catholic church. He took this step under a sense of its spiritual importance, though on his own admission he was first drawn to Roman catholicism by his artistic sympathies. He believed the Roman catholic religion and Gothic art to be intimately associated, and came to regard it as almost a religious obligation for catholics to encourage Gothic architecture and no other (cf. W. G. Ward and the Oxford Movement, pp. 153–5). At Ramsgate, profiting by the propinquity of his church, he spent much time in the observance of religious rites, and practised a rigid asceticism.

Meanwhile Pugin began a regular architectural practice. Accident had made him acquainted with the Earl of Shrewsbury, to whose patronage he owed some of his most congenial opportunities of architectural work. He designed for the earl the additions to Alton Towers, the church at Cheadle, and the chapel and other buildings at St. John's Hospital, Alton, and rebuilt the castle on Alton Rock. In 1835 he first appeared as an architectural author, publishing his ‘Gothic Furniture in the Style of the Fifteenth Century’ (London, 4to). This was followed in 1836 by his ‘Ancient Timber Houses’ (London, 4to), and by a more remarkable and very polemical publication, the celebrated ‘Contrasts’ (Salisbury, 4to), in which, by means of satirical sketches and cutting sarcasm, the so-called ‘Pagan’ method of architecture is compared to its disadvantage with the ‘Christian.’

In the same year (1836) the report of the