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The influence of the architectural literature of Britain, 1715-1845, on the architecture of colonial Tasmania


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Grant, MR 2003 , 'The influence of the architectural literature of Britain, 1715-1845, on the architecture of colonial Tasmania', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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What inspires architecture? What fuels the generation and regeneration of architecture? Is
it merely a printed image or is it a more complex set of influences.
This study analyses the architectural literature that influenced colonial Australian
architecture, how it has been used by contemporary architectural historians, how texts (and
literary sources generally) may have influenced architectural design, and how they may be
interpreted in the physical form, detail and method used in colonial Australian architecture.
It also looks closely at the design process and attempts to demonstrate where and how
architectural publications can influence that process. In particular, it explores the influence
the trades had on colonial Australian architecture and will suggest that this is a field that is
poorly understood. While very much a work of architectural history, this study is also a
work of architectural theory that is equally applicable to the present as to the past.
This study will suggest that contemporary architectural historians are interpreting the
architectural literature of the colonial period in a limited manner and ignoring a whole range
of other possibilities in the interpretation of the influence of these works. It will suggest
that contemporary architectural historians only see the relationship between these works
and the social and political elite and fail to see, or acknowledge, a relationship between the
works and the working class people of England and colonial Australia. This study seeks to
broaden out the way we view the architectural literature of the late 1700s and early 1800s
and seeks to show that they could be and were used in many different ways by many
different people.
Many contemporary writers have limited their understanding of these works to a simplistic
'matching' scenario where a completed building is matched to an image in what they refer
to as a pattern book. This study suggests that the direct copy scenario, with no other
source, could not exist without some form of active shaping taking place, rather, it will
demonstrate other ways in which these works can influence the development of
architecture, both directly and indirectly. It will suggest that if these works are to be used
they should be used in a more intelligent manner where the broad range of possibilities are
This work is not a bibliographic study of potential sources of influence, nor is it a study
which seeks to attribute the influences on any particular building. The primary aim of this study is to demonstrate, in an abstract manner, the many ways the early architecture of
Australia may have been influenced by the published material of the time. It does not limit
its scope to architects or the social and political elite, but views building tradesmen as
equals in the development of Australia's colonial Architecture.
This thesis will demonstrate that the printed architectural image was not nearly as important
to classicism as was the social cohesion of the style. The 'patterns' that determined the
Australian colonial Georgian architecture came here as part of the social and cultural fabric
not simply as printed images.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Grant, MR
Keywords: Architecture
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis ( M.Des.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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