So-called 'High Art' confronts us often where we may least expect it. The industrial heritage of the United Kingdom includes factory chimneys built during the Industrial Revolution and designed to emulate the beauty of an Italian Renaissance bell tower or campanile.
In his 1915 novel, 'Of Human Bondage', Somerset Maugham writes:
“In themselves there is nothing to choose between the Campanile of Giotto and a factory chimney. … beautiful things grow rich with the emotion that they have aroused in succeeding generations. That is why old things are more beautiful than modern.”
Maugham’s favourable comparison of a factory chimney with an Italian campanile – or bell tower – was no accidental observation. Many factory chimneys built during the Industrial Revolution were, indeed, deliberately modelled on the Italian campanile.