From a young age A.W.N. Pugin worked under his father, the Anglo-French architect Augustus Charles Pugin; an experience which heavily influenced his approach to design after developing a profound love of Medieval architecture from numerous tours abroad. Rejecting the idea of mass-production in an era of industrialisation, Pugin believed that traditional medieval practices and craftsmanship were the purest form of manufacture. He gained his first commissions working for the royal goldsmiths Rundell & Bridge, where he largely focussed on architectural and interior decorative schemes. Whilst collaborating with the firm John Hardman and Co., who produced glass for the Houses of Parliament, Pugin supplied the company with many important designs for precious metals, furniture and ceramics.
Throughout his career, Pugin was particularly fascinated by the atmospheric effects of light and this often informed his designs for interiors. His earlier drawings of candlesticks and sconces illustrate a primary interest in form as opposed to function. Pierced foliate motifs and the introduction of reflector plates allow for interesting light effects which emulate the authentic character of dimly lit medieval settings. His works show a clear preference for ornate detail; gothic scripts, fleur-de-lis and stylised foliate motifs, and elaborate tracery are all common features of Pugin’s designs which came to define the Gothic Revival style.
Though he is perhaps best recognised for his architectural commissions, including the Palace of Westminster, Pugin’s writings and designs for furniture, ceramics and metalwork left behind a legacy for many contemporaries which helped spread the vision of Gothic Revival around Britain.
This February, a superb selection of Gothic Revival works by A.W.N. Pugin will be offered in our 'Paul Reeves: An Eye for Design including Textiles as Art II' auction. Highlights include a silver plated and gilded brass wall sconce, circa 1860; a rare pair of brass altar candlesticks, circa 1848; and a pair of painted iron and brass mounted chandeliers, circa 1850. A rare example of a copper coal and brass mounted scuttle by A.W.N. Pugin or E.W. Pugin, presumably supplied to the Houses of Parliament by Benham & Froud around 1855, is also a highlight in the sale.