Image: Public Domain/Frederick BodleyAn English Gothic Revival architect, George Frederick Bodley was born March 14, 1827 and died October 21, 1907. He fundamentally shaped the architecture, art, and design of the Anglican Church throughout England and the world. Bodley believed that every element of a building must be part of an integrated design strategy. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1854 and was elected an associate of the academy in 1881 and a full academician in 1902. Bodley was multi-faceted. He was also a draftsman, art connoisseur, published poet (1899), inspired John Strudwick, painter. Bodley was an accomplished wallpaper and textile designer for Watts & Company which he founded in 1874 along with Thomas Garner and George Gilbert Scott, Jr. This company is now celebrating its 140th anniversary to manufacture ecclesiastical vestments, textiles, and wallpapers. He was the first major patron of William Morris's stained glass. Bodley was a prime warden of the Fishmongers' Company ("The Fishmonger's were granted their first Royal Charter by Edward I in 1272. At one time they enjoyed a monopoly in trade of fish in the city. As fish was such a staple part of the diet and the city being intimately connected to the Thames and the Sea, this increased the influence of the company significantly. Now the company still maintains links with its past and provides support for a number of fish and fisheries related organizations. The Fishmongers Hall is on the city side of London Bridge on the banks of the Thames." Inspiring City) from 1901-1902. Early in his career he worked closely with Pre-Raphaelites and did a great deal Gilbert Scott was his mentor. Bodley worked with Thomas Garner, one of the leading English Gothic revival architects of the Victorian era, in partnership for much of his career.

Under the influence of architect, George Gilbert Scott, Bodley was taken with Gothic revival. He became known as the chief exponent of 14th century English Gothic, and the leading ecclesiastical architect in England. He is regarded as the leader of the resurgence of interest in English and Northern European late-medieval design. Noted for his pioneering design work in the Queen Anne revival.

From 1869 he worked in a twenty-eight year partnership with Thomas Garner, designing collegiate buildings in Oxford and Cambridge, country houses and churches throughout the British Isles. One cathedral was completed to his design: St David's Cathedral, Hobart in Tasmania, Australia (first design, 1865; revised 1891; building completed 1936). In 1893 the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia was granted a charter from Congress to establish the cathedral and the site on Mount Saint Albans was chosen. Bishop Satterlee chose Frederick Bodley, England's leading Anglican church architect, as the head architect. Henry Vaughan was selected to be the supervising architect. The building of the cathedral finally started in 1907 with a ceremonial address by President Theodore Roosevelt. When construction of the cathedral resumed after a brief hiatus for World War I, both Bodley and Vaughan had passed away; American architect Philip Hubert Frohman took over the design of the cathedral and is known as the principal architect. The Cathedral has been the location of many significant events, including the funeral services of Woodrow Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower. Its pulpit was the last one from which Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke prior to his assassination. The Cathedral is the burial place of many notable people, including Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, Admiral George Dewey, Bishop Satterlee and the architects Henry Vaughan and Philip Frohman.

Note: "In 1919 Frohman began making preliminary sketches for revisions of Bodley's designs at the invitation of the Bishop of Washington, The Right Reverend Alfred Harding. During the next two years he formed a partnership with E. Donald Robb and Harry B. Little and in November 1921, the firm of Frohman, Robb and Little was officially designated Cathedral Architects. Robb died in 1942 and Little followed in 1944, after which Frohman served as the sole architect of the cathedral." Philip H. Frohman

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Note: For further reading, Michael Hall is a noted architectural historian and the author of several books on Victorian architecture and the Gothic Revival.
George Frederick Bodley
The National Cathedral
Henry Vaughan
Frohman, Philip H. Architect
First posted: Jan 29, 2015
Last update: Jan 31, 2015