Here’s an interesting essay on the nineteenth-century Victorian architect Augustus Pugin, one of the leading champions of the Gothic revival—a man who thought Europe’s cathedrals were the world’s greatest architectural achievement, precisely because the point of pointed architecture, the aspiration of all those spires, is to reach a human hand toward God.

But what caught my eye in the essay was a line from Pugin that ought to have been the inscription on his tombstome. A sailor, when he wasn’t working on the Houses of Parliament, he is reported to have once said, “There is nothing worth living for but Christian architecture and a boat.” I don’t know; I’d have named other things, perhaps. But there’s something admirable about those who know what they like and keep at it, yes?

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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