A Tale of Two Churches: ‘Protestant’ Architecture and the Politics of Religion in Late Nineteenth-Century Rome

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Abstract / Description of output

The two Anglican churches in Rome by the distinguished nineteenth-century English architect George Edmund Street — St Paul's Within-the-Walls (1872–6), Via Nazionale, and All Saints’ (1880–7), Via del Babuino — are notable examples of High Victorian design. Yet little scholarly attention has been afforded either church, especially All Saints’. This article considers both these buildings not so much as works of architecture but as markers of cultural intent in an environment (and age) fraught with political and religious tension and conflict. It seeks to understand them in the difficult and often fluid context of Risorgimento Italy out of which they emerged, including the city of Rome immediately following its capture by Italian national forces on 20 September 1870. The aim is to establish an interpretation of the two buildings that pays due attention to their political and religious agency. In so doing this article considers closely how architecture was understood as a mediating force in the struggle over politics and identity in the late nineteenth century. In taking a fresh look at the extant archival documentation, alternative possibilities are offered (and revealed) as to how we might further decode the significance of these beguiling if still largely misunderstood works of architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-296
JournalPapers of the British School at Rome
Volume88
Early online date27 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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