HAWKSMOOR, Nicholas
(b. 1661, London, d. 1736, London)

Exterior view

1714-29
Photo
Christ Church, Spitalfields, London

Christ Church, Spitalfields appears at first sight to have a basilican plan but is in fact a centralized interior stretched along the west-east axis. The three central bays of the 'nave' are differentiated from those at the ends, and the cross axis is marked by side entrances. The design of Christ Church continued to develop during the 1720s: the Gothic broach spire, originally adorned with crockets, and the portico in the form of a giant, three-dimensional Venetian window were late additions.

Hawksmoor's style is Baroque; that is evident in those later works of his where he was fully responsible for design and execution, and especially in his London churches. The composition of Christ Church seems deliberately disjointed, the portico with its odd arched centre of Late Roman origin, and the next stage, virtually receding and repeating the same motif with pilasters on a surface wider than that of the tower proper. The composition is crowned by a spire which adds to the Late Roman Baroque of the picture an odd Gothic note.