M930.50.1.307 | Gothic revival cottage

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Gothic revival cottage
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
7.1 x 9 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Print (10661) , residential (1255)
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Keys to History

The 19th-century was an era when houses and domestic possessions were an important and accepted means of communicating status. Wealthy Victorians turned to historical styles for inspiration and championed many different architectural revivals for their homes. Hugh Allan's Italianate Montreal mansion, Ravenscrag, had 34 rooms, each featuring a different architectural style. The dining room and entrance hall had Italian themes, while the ballroom was French.

On a less grand scale, this Gothic revival cottage was a dream home for Victorian women who wanted to project a nostalgic, even romantic, facade. Plans for similar cottages appeared in Downing's Cottage Residences (1842) and Godey's Lady's Book (1850).

Andrew Jackson Downing, Cottage Residences; or, A Series of Designs for Rural Cottages and Cottage-Villas, and Their Gardens and Grounds Adapted to North America (Appleton and Co., 1842). Reprinted as Victorian Cottage Residences (New York: Dover Publications, 1981).

  • What

    Whether this wood engraving was of an existing home or someone's dream cottage remains unknown.

  • Where

    Gothic revival and Italianate style homes were common forms of domestic architecture in mid-19th century Canada.

  • When

    This engraving was made during the 1850s.

  • Who

    John Henry Walker (1831-99) was a Montreal artist whose work included advertisements, newspaper illustrations and paintings. His career spanned almost 50 years.