Port Eliot Red Book — Designs for Lord Eliot by Humphry Repton (1792-3)

Port Eliot Red Book: Notes on Gothic Style


It may perhaps be observed that in the Cloister proposed I have not strictly followed the architecture of the Abbey, which is either Saxon or Norman (a distinction on which very learned antiquarians have differed in opinion). It is certainly of a style anterior to the kind of Gothic distinguished by pointed arches and pinnacles or small turrets; but I conceive there is no incongruity in mixing these different species of Gothic, because we universally see it done in every Cathedral in this kingdom. Indeed, the greatest part of this Abbey itself is of the date and style which I have adopted. I believe there is no instance of the Saxon or Norman architecture having been used – even in the repairs of those buildings – since the time of the Crusades. I trust, therefore, although I have introduced in the Gateway an arch and window of the latest species of Gothic, I shall be deemed to have classically adhered to the general character of Gothic – so long as I studiously avoid the least appearance of Grecian architecture. For however it may be allowable to mix the several styles of Gothic in the same old English building, I hold it utterly incongruous with good taste to blend with it that style of architecture which was only introduced into this country in the seventeenth century. For this reason, I have shewn the Gable in the centre of the north front with battlements instead of the Grecian pediment which at present disgraces that side of the house.

For ease of reading, punctuation and capitalization have been modernized.