Richard Ledderer relates the story that when St. Paul's Cathedral burned in the fire of 1666, Sir Christopher Wren was hired to rebuild it. After 35 years of work the new building was finished and Queen Anne came to see it. After a tour she told Sir Christopher that his cathedral was "awful, artificial and amusing." He was delighted! What splendid praise from the queen!
"Awful" of course meant awe inspiring.