Tom Tower was built only to the height of the adjoining Quad building, and did not have the large central window when Wren was appointed to complete it. It is the oddest creation of the man who, almost single handedly, introduced the Classical architectural style to England and employed and promoted the brilliant generation of Baroque architects that followed him. Built between 1681 -2, when Wren was working on The Library at Trinity Cambridge, and St Paul's and the 50 City churches of course, a revival of Gothic architecture could not have been further from his agenda. Summerson in his essay 'The Mind of Wren' argued that he was a prisoner of reason, and coldly dispassionate about his art. This appears to make sense describing a man who was a founder of the Royal Society, and it's President at the time he was designing Tom Tower. 'This Gateway was started in the Gothic, and logically should be completed in it.' Given that argument, which Wren himself used, what surprises me is how good it is, and how well it works. Could a dispassionate man have pulled that off?
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