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Peter F. Anson


First printed in 1948, this work is considered one of the premier resources on church architecture in English!


From the author's foreword:


"The object of this book is to provide the clergy and laity with a practical guide to the building and remodeling of Catholic churches, and to give a summary of the laws governing their planning and furnishing."


Heavily referenced concerning the traditional prescriptions on church buildings and their appointments, this book is replete with the illustrations of the author.


Every Catholic can benefit from reading this book!


Softcover, 264 pages.




American Ecclesiastical Review (Vol. CXX, No. 5; May 1949); William J. Lallou

The volume before us (...) presents so much supplementary matter, especially of an architectural and artistic character, that the author cannot be said to have compiled a book which is merely repetitious of what has already been published. Peter F. Anson, a convert from Anglican monasticism, who also tried his vocation to the religious life under Catholic auspices, brings to his work a life-long interest in the subject of the church and its various furnishings, together with ability to illustrate the text with drawings which greatly enhance both its use and its attraction. His book has been “Americanized” by the Reverend Hans Reinhold, of Sunnyside, Washington, to adapt it for practical use in this country, which has been done with no sacrifice of the engaging features of the original work.


The twenty-two chapters of Anson’s book present the legislation of the Church governing buildings dedicated to divine worship and their manifold appurtenances. The altar and its furnishings, the sanctuary and the baptistery, the nave and the sacristy, the organ and the bells, all receive adequate and interesting treatment. Sections also cover the regulations affecting the sacred vessels, the liturgical vestments, and the different ceremonial accessories. A final chapter gives some practical advice on lighting, heating, and ventilation.


The author begins with the fundamental notion that a church is built for the purpose of public worship and hence, whatever its style, the building must fulfill its functional raison d’être. Therefore, the church should be evolved in sequence of design from the inside outwards and not from the outside inwards. A series of pictures and ground plans illustrate how this fundamental idea may be realized, whether the church be, in its architecture, early Christian or Gothic, Romanesque or Renaissance, Georgian or modern. He insists, both for the building of new edifices and the restoration of old ones, on Pugin’s basic principles that a church have no features which are not necessary for “convenience, construction, or propriety,” and that all ornament should consist of “enrichment of the essential construction of the building.”


The entire volume is profusely and artistically illustrated and the text is well provided with authoritative references. An adequate bibliography prefaces the book. All in all, Churches, Their Plan and Furnishing will be an important addition to the working library of any priest, especially those in charge of parishes, and can be recommended to architects and builders who specialize in church construction.


Churches: Their Plan and Furnishing

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