The Cathedral of St Fin Barre at Cork: William Burges in Ireland
William Burges was one of the most intriguing and eccentric figures in the history of 19th-century architecture and decorative arts. In 1863 he was awarded first prize in the architectural competition to rebuild St Fin Barre's cathedral in Cork, with the stipulation that the cost of the new building not exceed 15,000. By 1881 100,000 had been spent on a magnificent limestone structure in the architect's favourite style, Early French. The sculpture, stained glass, mosaics, painted decorations, furnishings and metalwork were all designed by Burges, giving the building a typically Burgesian panache as well as an unusual visual coherence. A unique archive, of drawings, paintings, plaster models, and of documents of every kind, allows the authors to piece together a detailed account of the erection of this building. It is an extraordinary tale, which touches on architecture, art, the religious and social history of Ireland.
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A monument of Christian zeal
The bones of the cathedral
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