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Pugin Bicentenary 2012

Pugin Bicentenary 2012

27th January 2012

2012 marks the bicentenary of Augustus Welby Pugin (1.3.1812 14.9.1852). A Pugin Trail, events and exhibitions will highlight his legacy in Birmingham.

Pugin was arguably the greatest British architect, designer and writer of the nineteenth century. Some of his finest work includes the interiors of the House of Lords, the Catholic church of St Giles, Cheadle, and his own house, The Grange, Ramsgate. 

Pugin designed or contributed to six main sites in Birmingham, with St Chad’s Cathedral his greatest achievement. The building of the (demolished) King Edward’s School in New Street was also a highly significant project, as it began the working relationship between Charles Barry the architect, and Pugin the designer. Together they went on to rebuild the Houses of Parliament in London, an iconic British building, recognised the world over. Many of its interior fittings, designed by Pugin, were made in the Hardman workshops in Birmingham.

The bicentenary of his birth provides the opportunity to highlight Pugin's legacy in Birmingham.

The Birmingham Pugin Trail

A specially designed trail, highlighting the connections of Pugin and Hardman with Birmingham, will be available from late February from the city’s tourist information offices, museums and libraries as well as other key venues including St Chad’s Cathedral.

St Chad’s Cathedral

1 March sees the formal opening of the city’s bicentenary celebrations at 7pm with a service and choral intermission, the launch of the Birmingham Pugin Trail and the opening of a Pugin exhibition in the crypt, followed by a reception.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is home to a number of objects designed by Pugin, including Hardman (metalwork), Minton (tiles) and a table by J.G. Crace. One of the largest items, which will be on display in the industrial gallery by 1 March, is the Rood Screen from St John’s Church, Alton, Staffs.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

A delightful print display and trail ‘Pugin, Dürer and The Gothic’ is now open, and runs until 24 June. Exhibits are from the Barber’s own collection and include a late medieval Brussels wood carving of Joachim and Anna, once owned by John Bernard Hardman; an early Netherlandish triptych of the Deposition, once owned by Pugin; a collection of eight prints and one drawing by Dürer, widely recognised as the greatest German Renaissance artist and a prime inspiration to Pugin, and a Pugin octagonal table on loan from King Edward’s School.

Lunchtime talks: 29 February (1.10pm); 1 March and 29 March (1.15pm). 

Admission to the exhibition is Free. Further information: www.barber.org.uk  

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

In 1838, Pugin persuaded his friend, John Hardman (1811-1867), to turn his Birmingham button-making business to making metalwork and later stained glass for his new churches.  Based in the Jewellery Quarter, John Hardman & Co quickly rose to fame as makers of fine medieval-style metalwork based on Pugin’s research, drawings and publications.  Their work found its way into churches and cathedrals in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter features a number Hardman pieces in its displays, and most of the techniques and processes demonstrated on the fascinating factory tour are exactly the same as used in the 19th Century by Hardman and similar metalworking firms.

For the Pugin Bicentenary the museum will be mounting a special exhibition on Hardman & Co, which opens on 22 March.

St Mary’s Convent, Handsworth

The House of Mercy by A.W.N.Pugin, a Gothic Revival gem in the heart of Birmingham, has a programme of guided tours throughout the year. Special tours to celebrate the bicentenary in March. Advanced booking essential.

See website: www.mercyhandsworth.org.uk

King Edward's School

King Edward’s School has photographed its Pugin collection, which can be accessed on the school website: http://kes.org.uk/gallery/Other/Pugin 

For more information about Pugin and his bicentenary visit:


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