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Michael McCarthy

Term used in a more or less discriminatory way to identify the 18th-century works of the Gothic Revival in British architecture and interior design. Some historians use the term as a convenient shorthand for the 18th-century phase of the Revival; others intend it to highlight the ways in which the ‘Gothick’ of the 18th century—the fanciful and thinly decorative architecture associated with dilettanti and antiquaries—is manifestly distinct from the more historicist works of the 19th-century ‘Gothic Revival’, whose architects not only drew upon different forms or styles of medieval Gothic but were motivated by liturgical, religious and social concerns rather than by 18th-century Associationist aesthetics. Both spellings were used in the 18th century, but during the 19th century ‘Gothick’ became obsolete: Eastlake (1872) wrote only of ‘Gothic’ and Clark (1928) followed his example. That preference has been maintained by such historians as Macaulay (1975) and McCarthy (...