In England Gothic Architecture can be traced through the Middle Ages to the Baroque period; it reappeared on the Gothick follies in Rococo Gardens. Around 1750 Horace Walpole decided to build Strawberry Hill. His house would be “a little gothic castle”. The idea came from English garden experiments, or, perhaps, influenced by the Lisbon Aqueduct. Walpole’s letters reveal that he was well informed, in touch with Portugal.
The “castle” was constructed experimentally, embodying continuous historical and archaeological research. Since then, the origins and a consistent theory explaining Gothic architecture was not yet produced. According with new ideas, we have a proposal: There were connections between Theology and Geometry; a Diagram became an architectural leitmotiv. First it was a symbolic-decorative form, afterwards a supporting element - the Pointed Arch. Our explanation makes clearer the difference between Survival and Revival Gothic.
Throughout the eighteen-century, some Grand Tour travellers came to Portugal. The Earthquake, Lisbon Aqueduct, Alcobaça and Batalha Abbeys, were attractive; and also the opportunities for business: Gérard Devisme, was granted a Monopoly, became millionaire and his houses famous.
He spent summer in Sintra, where he constructed Monserrate. This “Chateau” has been seen the first Neogothic house in Portugal. Later William Beckford inhabited it, but when he left Portugal, the mansion was abandoned altogether.
Byron visited the place, and after, c. 1860, another English millionaire rebuilt the manor, with plans of James T. Knowles. The reformed building is a strange blend of Gothic and Oriental elements. As it became usual, architects employed patterns from archaeological discoveries:
It combines forms of the Batalha Monastery, the Alhambra Palace, and Venice Palazzos. The decorations revealed by James Murphy, Owen Jones and John Ruskin last studies, are inscribed in Monserrate:
This masterpiece of High Victorian architecture is a Venetian Gothic Revival, influenced by “Stones of Venice” (1851-3).
Apesar de ser em português - Monserrate, uma nova história* - está
no catálogo de algumas bibliotecas influentes, por exemplo:
Despite being in Portuguese – our Monserrate, a new story - is in the catalog of some influential libraries, for example:
* Monserrate, uma nova história, Livros Horizonte, Lisboa 2008