Open main menu

Pullan, Richard Popplewell (DNB00)

PULLAN, RICHARD POPPLEWELL (1825–1888), architect and archæologist, born at Knaresborough in Yorkshire on 27 March 1825, was son of Samuel Popplewell Pullan, solicitor, of that town. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, and became a Grecian, and was afterwards a pupil of R. Lane, architect and surveyor, of Manchester. Mr. Alfred Waterhouse, R.A., was a fellow-pupil. At Manchester Pullan earnestly studied old missals and illuminated manuscripts in the Chetham Library, and became an early convert to mediævalism. He developed a passion for heraldry, and amused himself with emblazoning pedigrees in colour. In 1844, when not more than nineteen, he sent in a design for the royal robing-room of Queen Victoria at the House of Lords, which attracted notice from its richness of colour, but he was considered too young to carry it out. Subsequently he made designs for stained glass, and never relinquished the study and practice of polychromy.

During a visit to Italy he mainly studied church architecture. On his return he assisted Sir Digby Wyatt in the polychromy of the Byzantine and Mediæval Courts of the Crystal Palace, opened by the queen on 10 June 1854. In October Pullan went to Sebastopol during the siege, and made sketches and models of the contours of the district. On coming home he exhibited a model of the country and the fortifications about Sebastopol.

In 1856, in conjunction with Mr. Evans, he sent in a competition design for Lille Cathedral, and obtained a silver medal. Next year he was appointed by the foreign office architect to the expedition sent to survey the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which Charles (afterwards Sir Charles) Newton had excavated in 1856. Pullan arrived at Budrum on 25 Aug. 1857. He not only measured the architectural remains, but attempted a restoration of the mausoleum, in accordance with the descriptions of Pliny the Elder, Hyginus, and Guichard. He displayed great ingenuity in showing a construction of the pyramid that admitted of the stone trabeation between the peristyle and the pteron. Pullan, in conformity with Newton's instructions, went to Cnidus, and discovered a gigantic figure of a lion, ten feet long, six feet high, weighing, with its case, eleven tons, which he sent to England. It is now in the Elgin Room of the British Museum. He made a restoration of the tomb which the lion crowned, a survey of the principal sites in the island of Cos, and drawings of the remains. All these restorations are depicted in ‘A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidæ, by C. T. Newton, M.A., assisted by R. P. Pullan,’ London, 1862–63. Afterwards the Society of Dilettanti employed him on further investigations of a like kind. In April 1862 he began excavations on the site of the Temple of Bacchus at Teos. Pullan found the temple to be hexastyle, as described by Vitruvius (lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 8), and with eleven columns on the flanks, but not pseudodipteral, and consequently not the one built by Hermogenes. In his opinion it was erected in Roman times. In 1862 Pullan visited the remains of the temple of Apollo Smintheus, or the Mouse-queller, near Kulakli, in the Troad, which had been discovered by Lieutenant Spratt in 1853. He returned thither from Smyrna on 5 Aug. 1866, and completed the excavation and drawings on 22 Nov. 1866. There were sufficient remains found to show that it was an octastyle pseudodipteral temple, with only fourteen columns on the flank. It is rather superior to the temple of Minerva Polias at Priene, and probably of about the same date. In 1869 Pullan, under an order from the society, excavated the site of the temple of Minerva Polias at Priene, which had hitherto been encumbered with ruins. Accounts of Pullan's work on the three temples were published in the fourth part of ‘The Antiquities of Ionia’ in 1881. At the same time Pullan visited most of the Byzantine churches in Greece and Asia Minor, and published an account of the examples of Byzantine and classical work that had been accumulated by himself and Charles Texier, in two volumes, entitled respectively ‘Byzantine Architecture,’ 1864, and ‘Principal Ruins of Asia Minor,’ 1865. By Pullan's advice, too, Lord Savile, the British ambassador at Rome, undertook excavations on his property at Civita Lavinia, on the Alban hills (Lanuvium), where the ruins of the imperial villa of Antoninus Pius were discovered, and magnificent fragments of sculpture, as well as some archaic terra-cottas.

Pullan contrived to combine with his archæological exploration a good architectural practice in London. He competed for the memorial churches at St. Petersburg and Constantinople, for Truro and Lille cathedrals, the war and foreign offices, the Liverpool Exchange buildings, the Natural History Museum (South Kensington), the Glasgow municipal buildings, the Dublin Museum, and the Hamburg town-hall.

His principal executed works were churches at Pontresina and Baveno, and the conversion of Castel Aleggio, between Lago Maggiore and Lago d'Orta, into an English Gothic mansion. The church at Baveno is octagonal in plan, and of the Lombard type, and was built for Mr. Henfrey in the grounds of his villa. The whole of the coloured decoration was designed by Pullan, and much of it was executed with his own hand; a view of it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1882. On the death of Pullan's brother-in-law, William Burges [q. v.], in 1881, he completed all Burges's unfinished works.

Pullan, who had long suffered from bronchitis, died at Brighton on 30 April 1888. He married, on 24 Feb. 1859, Mary L. Burges, sister of William Burges, A.R.A., the architect. Mrs. Pullan shared the dangers and hardships of a residence in Asia Minor with her husband. On Burges's death they removed to the house Burges built for himself in Melbury Road, Kensington. Mrs. Pullan survived her husband. There was no issue of the marriage.

Besides the works already noticed, Pullan published: 1. ‘The Altar, its Baldachin and Reredos,’ pamphlet, 8vo, London, 1873. 2. ‘Catalogue of Views illustrative of Expeditions to Asia Minor,’ pamphlet, 8vo, London, 1876. 3. ‘Remarks on Church Decoration,’ 8vo, London, 1878. 4. ‘Eastern Cities and Italian Towns,’ 8vo, London, 1879. 5. ‘Elementary Lectures on Christian Architecture,’ 8vo, London, 1879. 6. ‘Studies in Architectural Style,’ fol., London, 1883. 7. ‘Architectural Designs of W. Burges,’ fol., London, 1883. 8. ‘The House of W. Burges, A.R.A., edited by R. P. Pullan,’ fol., London, 1886. 9. ‘Architectural Designs of W. Burges,’ 2nd ser., fol., London, 1887. 10. ‘Studies in Cathedral Design,’ fol., London, 1888. Before the Royal Institute of British Architects, Pullan read papers on ‘Classic Art’ on 24 May 1871; ‘Decoration of Basilicas and Byzantine Churches,’ 15 Nov. 1875; ‘Works of the late W. Burges,’ 17 April 1882; ‘Decoration of the Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral,’ 4 Dec. 1882.

[Personal knowledge; Pullan's Works.]

G. A-n.