This book is from the personal collection of Dr. Mark Purcell, who is Deputy Director for Research Collections at Cambridge University Library, where he has oversight of the heritage collections of one of Europe’s largest and oldest research libraries. It forms part of a small collection of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century books, mostly illustrated, on English cathedrals. Sometimes histories, sometimes guides, and sometimes souvenir booklets, what all have in common is that they describe and illustrate these wonderful buildings as they were before the Oxford Movement and the great ‘restorations’ of Victorian times. The collection sits alongside a collection of prints of the same era, which fill the walls of a small Regency house in the centre of Cambridge.
An Illustration of the Architecture and Scuplture of the Cathedral Church of Worcester.
Charles Wild. (London: printed by W. Nicol, 1823).
This large-format plate book provides a glimpse of the great cathedral church at Worcester in the English Midlands, first founded in the year 679. A magnificent work of English gothic, and once the home of a Benedictine monastery, the church also houses the tombs of King John, and of Prince Arthur, short-lived elder brother of the future Henry VIII. The introductory essay is finely printed, but the real point of the book is the illustrations, with 11 finely engraved plates in all. Charles Wild (1781-1835) was a watercolourist by training, who issued a range of books on cathedrals in both England and France, at a time when cultivated taste was becoming seriously interested in medieval buildings. These interior views at Worcester are especially interesting, showing the church as it was before it was heavily ‘restored’ later in the nineteenth century.