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Westminster Cathedral and Its Architect, Vol. 1 of 2 (Classic Reprint)

Westminster Cathedral and Its Architect, Vol. 1 of 2 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Westminster Cathedral and Its Architect, Vol. 1 of 2

Many years ago I had the privilege, by Mr. Bentley's permission, of seeing over every part of the Cathedral. I appreciated it, but not enough. Spectators have a way of thinking that a "piece of architecture" is erected so that they shall come and say whether they like it or not, and they usually say that they don't quite like it, and something ought to be different. A younger man indeed may not understand the burden of such a work; the tens of thousands of decisions, adjustments, compromises, the power of getting things done, the responsibility, the strain - all are hidden except the skill of a wise master builder.

The opportunity of again recording my admiration for Mr. Bentley's Cathedral gives me much pleasure. The great things are the masterly structure and the sincerity of the whole work. The taste and learning are exquisite and astonishing, yet this taste and learning are the least parts of Bentley's work. He had to supply them to justify himself to his employers and his epoch, but the merit of the Cathedral goes altogether beyond stylism. It is a building nobly planned, carefully balanced, and soundly constructed. Beyond the echoes there is the universal and the living. Throughout all the preliminary talk about the choice of a style Bentley must have known that he wanted to build, and he has left us a building serious, serene, and really modern.

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