The Oxford Museum
Henry W. Acland
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A guided tour through key architectural and design philosophies underpinning this marvellous building. Henry Acland played a key role in the building of Oxford's new science museum in the 1850s. In this essay, he describes expectations for the building - its construction was nearing completion as he wrote. He also discusses its famous connection to the "Gothic style". While guiding readers through some of the building's chief features, Acland leaves no doubt this was a project meant to combine nature and God; reverence and rigour. It's a vision of science that's largely forgotten today. Acland appends two 1858/9 letters from John Ruskin. The great advocate of Gothic design elaborates core principles of this approach and relates them to Oxford's museum. A superb summary of Gothic Revivalism. Acland also adds 1859 correspondence from John Phillips, describing plans to integrate geological materials into the building's decorative features.