High Victorian Gothic in New York

High Victorian Gothic was an eclectic architectural style and movement during the mid-late 19th century. A sub-style of the broader Gothic Revival style, it developed in England in the mid of the 19th century.

Initially, this style was inspired by English medieval architecture, but later it drew from medieval French and German traditions as well. It was essentially an urban building style and was often used to design schools and libraries.

Promoted and derived from the works of the architect and theorist John Ruskin, it is sometimes referred to as Ruskinian Gothic.


  • Always executed in brick or stone.
  • Heavy and substantial
  • Polychrome decoration and use of varying textures
  • Constructural coloration,” aka the use of polychrome materials – red brick, black stone, white granite, yellow sandstone
  • Pointed arches
  • Decorative dormers and cross gables
  • Round turrets and conical roofs
  • Varied stone ornamentation including gargoylestympanums, etc

Jefferson Market Library, 1877
Architects: Frederick Clarke Withers, Calvert Vaux
Address: 425 6th Ave
Samuel J. Tilden Mansion/National Arts Club, 1884
Architect: Calvert Vaux
Address: 14 – 15 Gramercy Park S
Tavern on the Green, 1870
Architects: Calvert Vaux and J. Wrey Mould
Location: near Central Park West and West 66th Street
The original building of the American Museum of Natural History with the entrance facing West 77th Street, 1877
Architects: Calvert Vaux and J. Wrey Mould
Location: West 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Ave
The Church of the Transfiguration or Little Church Around the Corner, 1849
Architect: Frederick Clarke Withers
Address: 1 E 29th St
The Met Museum’s original building, 1880
Architects: Calvert Vaux and J. Wrey Mould
Location: Fifth Ave between 80th and 84th Streets

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