Remarks on the Architecture of the Middle Ages: Especially of Italy

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Professor of natural and experimental philosophy at the University of Cambridge, Robert Willis (1800-75) mostly lectured on mechanism, and was elected an honorary member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1838. But Willis's interests also included Italian Gothic architecture, and his observations on the style, amassed in 1832-3 while travelling in France, Italy and Germany, were presented in this book, first published in 1835. The work is a pioneering study of Italian Gothic, a mode overlooked by his contemporaries, and key examples are brought together. It places Italian Gothic architecture within a European context and argues that the style represents an evolutionary assemblage of architectural motifs from different places and earlier periods. Willis's narrative refocused attention on Italian Gothic, winning the approval of the Institution of British Architects, which made him an honorary member in the year of its publication.