Funeral of Sir George Gilbert Scott, R.A.: Entering the Cloisters [of Westminster Abbey], from the Illustrated London News of 6 April 1878. Image reproduced by kind permission of K. Park Prints and Collectables. Text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the source and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

In an appendix to Scott's Recollections, his son describes how he felt about his father's rather early death at the age of 66. He explains that his father had loved working on Westminster Abbey, and looked forward to an old age in which he would still be able to enjoy it. Apparently he had told his valet once: "When I get old and past work, I shall take a house near the Abbey, so as to be able to attend the daily service there, and to wander about the dear old place," and, he had added, "I think that I shall be very happy."

However, his son continues,

a still happier lot was to be his. A kindly Providence spared him the sad consciousness of failing powers, the weariness of enfeebling old age, and the slow misery of a lingering sickness. Too soon, alas ! for those to whom he was most dear, but for himself, in truest kindness, not too late, he was called away, and where he had thought to wander as a worn-out old man he now lies at rest, taken from us in the fulness of his powers, which years had ripened to maturity, and age had not commenced to wither. [381-82]

The funeral was a very grand affair. One of the royal carriages was sent to attend the procession, and many dignitaries served as pall-bearers, including Charles Barry Jr., then President of the RIBA, and many representatives of important institutions, such as the Royal Academy, the Society of Antiquaries, the Ecclesiological Society and so forth.

The Dean of Westminster, Arthur Stanley, delivered the funeral sermon on the next day, and it is reprinted in the next appendix. The sermon dwells on Scott's "enduring and extensive influence" as a Gothic Revival architect, seeing the Gothic Revival itself as an "awe-inspiring retrospect" (qtd. in Scott 391, 393), giving full credit to Scott as its most widely recognised exponent, and marvelling at the great number and extent of his works. He talked at length too of the fine character of the man himself, praising Scott for "his indefatigable industry, his child-like humility, his unvarying courtesy, his noble candour," and describing his loss as that of "one of those just, gentle, guileless souls who in their lives have lifted, and in their memories may still lift, our souls upwards" (qtd. in Scott, 395).


Scott, Sir George Gilbert, R.A. Personal and Professional Recollections, edited by his son, G. Gilbert Scott, F.S.A. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1879. Internet Archive. Web. 11 September 2015.

Created 11 September 2015