On first glance, the plates in Pablo Bronstein’s new book look like a set of yellowed reproductions of 18th-century architectural prints. The Anglo-Argentinian artist’s drawings of elegant, apparently Georgian buildings lie framed with lavish curlicues of scallop shells, serpents, and swags of heavy fabric. Look closer, however, and incongruous details start to emerge—a contemporary drugstore sign on one page, or the thicker modern window frames currently spreading across London on another. On closer inspection, some of the old buildings don’t look all that old.
That’s because they aren’t.
Bronstein’s book, Pseudo-Georgian London, looks not at London’s 18th and early 19th century architectural heritage, but at the buildings constructed in recent decades that seek to imitate it. If you haven’t visited Britain recently, it might be hard to imagine just how numerous such buildings are. Nearly every city, town, and village in Britain now has buildings less than 30 years old that are nonetheless adorned with cornices, stone cornering, sash windows, brick lintels, and neoclassical porches. The antique effect is brought together with a facing of yellow brick veneer.