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The Architectural Expression of Anglican Rituals as Disseminated Through a Photographic Enquiry of Six Devon Churches


PhD Abstract


There have been a number of publications that have set out to clarify the relationship between architectural, liturgical and ritual developments within the nineteenth century Anglican church; especially that part of the Victorian Gothic Revival where fundamental developments in architectural design and doctrinal change occurred - 1840 to 1900. A variety of graphic illustrations have supported these texts and as

a photographer who has had a long standing interest in visual forms of religious expression, it raised the question as to whether new meanings of the architectural/ ecclesiastical relationship could be established through a photographic-based research investigation


During the MPhil stage of the project the research brief was directed towards the selection of churches for detailed investigation and the construction of the photographic methodology appropriate to the research.  Within the national developments of this period, Devon was a particularly significant county in respect of nineteenth century architectural and ecclesiological advancement, containing individual buildings such as St Andrew’s Exwick, the presence of architects such as William Butterfield and George Edmund Street, and one of the most active ecclesiological groups to exist outside that of the Cambridge Camden Society and the Oxford Tractarians - the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society.  It was from this basis that the subject of the PhD was developed.


Using photography as primary material the methodology utilised physical and conceptual viewpoints to explore the uses of spatial configuration, light, structural forms and colour, surface and texture within each interior. This work provided the visual form through which it was possible to re-examine the visual and symbolic use of architectural expression and make direct visual comparison between the churches.  At the same time the photographic images are important pieces of design work which are presented as both visual documents and creative interpretations.


The final thesis was constructed from an exhibition which used the formulations of panoramic, composite and sequential photographic imagery and a critical text that aligned the elements of historical contextualisation and analysis of the photographic enquiry. The research argues that the photographic works, by applying contemporary practices in the form of reconstructions, re-establishes the meaning and purpose of the architectural designs and promotes the use of photography as primary research.


The images here are a small selection of those made over the six year period of the study, with an example of how the images were then used in a subsequent touring exhibition entitled  Journeys of Enlightenment.

Journeys of Enlightenment

St Davids Focus
Babbs Focus
St Davids Diptych
4.2 Fig 5ii
Wells 1 Web
Intro 1
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