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Charles Barry Quotes


Charles Barry
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Charles Barry
  • Born: 23rd May 1795 Westminster, London
  • Died: 12th May 1860 London
  • Resting place: The Nave at Westminster Abbey
  • Occupation: Architect
  • Notable achievements: His Role In Rebuilding The Houses of Parliament (Westminster)
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"I drank, deeply of the CastaHan spring, but did not find my poetic faculty improved thereby"

Charles Barry

"The columns stepping up one after another, and the cornice and entablature following the rise of the steps, have to my mind an unnatural, and therefore a disgusting, appearance"

Charles Barry

"Egypt, is a country which, so far as I know, has never yet been explored by an English architect"

Charles Barry

"Even the hieroglyphics and the most delicate parts of the ornamentation were as sharp and vigorous as when they were first executed"

Charles Barry

"In comparison with which even those of Greece and Rome sink into insignificance"

Charles Barry

"No object I have yet seen, not even the Parthenon itself (the truest model of beauty and symmetry existing), has made so forcible an impression upon me" (About the great temple of Dendera)

Charles Barry

"It astonished us, by its unexpected magnitude, and gave me a high idea of the skill and knowledge of the principles of architecture displayed by the Egyptians"

Charles Barry

"The most striking feature of the building is its vast portico, six columns in front and four in depth, giving a depth of shadow and an air of majestic gravity such as I have never before seen"

Charles Barry

"In comparison with which even those of Greece and Rome sink into insignificance" [about Egypt's architecture]"

Charles Barry

"The finest street, except the High Street of Oxford, I ever saw" [about the Toledo at Naples]"

Charles Barry

"I wish I could say that my faith had been strengthened by a pilgrimage in the Holy Land"

Charles Barry

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Charles Barry Biography

Sir Charles Barry was born in Westminster, London on the 23rd May 1795 and received a private education until aged 15 when he started an apprenticeship learning architecture and surveying.

He showed an aptitude for drawing which he exhibited many times to the Royal Academy whose goal was to promote the work of artists and architects.



A large inheritance bestowed upon Charles Barry in 1817 gave him the financial means to travel extensively throughout the historic cities of Europe and the middle east. He spent three years sketching his way around the architectual splendour of France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine and Syria. He completed over 500 complex sketches in all and these were to be used as his architectural inspiration in years to come.

Once back in England Barry was appointed to design many churches mostly in the Gothic style. Following the 1934 fire at the houses of parliament Barry won a design competition for the new building and he devoted the rest of his life to this project.

Sir Charles Barry died in London on 12th May 1860 and he was interred in Westminster Abbey. His son Edward Middleton Barry took over the reins of his fathers work and completed the building of the houses of parliament which is also known as the Palace of Westminster

Quotes About Charles Barry

The Emperor Nicholas once described the Houses Of Parliament thus: "It was a dream in stone"

The French architect M Hittorff gave this assessment: "It was only after he built the Travellers and Reform Clubs that we recognised in him a capacity truly unusual, joined to a quality rare amongst the English - I mean a predominant sentiment of art"

The designer John Hardman Powell shared this observation: "Barry's touch was a careful, methodical 'quill pen', giving each form its distinct value"

His fellow architect Augustus Pugin made this remark: "I could not have made that plan. It was Barry's own. He was good at such work"


Charles Barry quote I drank deeply of the Castahan spring but did not find my poetic faculty improved