Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin

London-born Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was the son of French émigré August Charles Pugin and his English wife Catherine Welby.

August Charles influence was important – he worked as an architectural draughtsman and topographical watercolourist and the young Pugin began working in his father’s office shortly after leaving Christ’s Hospital School. By the age of 15, AWN Pugin had already designed silverware and furniture in the gothic style to be used in the redecoration of Windsor castle. He set up his own firm specialising in furniture in 1830.

By 1835, both his first wife and his parents had died and he had converted to Catholicism. He received a small inheritance from an aunt that allowed him to study Gothic architecture and design in England and abroad.

He was an influential architect who merged his architectural and design ideas with his faith and sense of morality. He wrote passionately on the importance of architecture and design and his work included Contrasts in Architecture (1836), True Principles of Pointed Architecture (1841) and Chancel Screens (1851) and sixteen other texts. He favoured the revival of fourteenth-century gothic and used his understanding of this architectural style to create a uniform, consistent neo-gothic style in both design and function. He was involved in over eighty-six architectural works in England and nineteen abroad. His most well-known work was the interior design of the Houses of Parliament. He also built four convents for the Sisters of Mercy: in Bermondsey (1838, destroyed in World War II), Handsworth (1840), Liverpool (1841, 1847, demolished) and Nottingham (1844). He also designed furniture, furnishing, stained glass, metalwork, textiles, wallpapers, ceramics, embroideries and jewellery.

His early death at the age of forty is often said to be a result of his intense working efforts.

Spartacus: accessed 24 January 2006

The Victorian Web: accessed 24 January 2006

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