Most Gothic Revival homes in the 1800s were romantic adaptations of medieval architecture. Delicate wooden ornaments and other decorative details suggested the architecture of medieval England. These homes did not try to replicate authentic Gothic styles—very few flying buttresses were structurally necessary to hold up the Gothic Revival building.
However, the great Victorian philosopher and art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) believed that man's highest spiritual values and artistic achievements were expressed in the elaborate, heavy masonry architecture of medieval Europe. His books outlined principles for design that used European Gothic architecture as the standard.
The ideas of John Ruskin and other thinkers lead to a more complex Gothic Revival style often called High Victorian Gothic, or Neo-Gothic.
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