Lutyens and the Edwardians

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9780140242690: Lutyens and the Edwardians

This book is designed as a companion to the author's book about the association between Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll - "Gardens of a Golden Afternoon". Lutyens was a humanist who was involved in the lives of all his clients. The houses he built for them express his delight in life in their fusion of enthusiasm and inventive design. This book provides a fascinating insight into the work of this country's most important architect since Christopher Wren; it will also be an interesting portrait of his clients and the social world of which he was a part.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

This bland, meandering roster of names, titles, and great houses, though spruced up by handsome illustrations, fails to live up to the elegance of its subject's designs. Best known for the magnificent country houses he built for distinguished members of the gentry, Edwin ``Ned'' Lutyens was the son of a portrait painter. Discovered and promoted by a wealthy neighbor in Surrey, Lutyens, who had demonstrated an uncanny talent for architecture from an early age, received his first commission as an architect (for a ``gentleman's cottage'') in 1889, when he was 20. He was rarely idle after that: The titled and the well- heeled beat a path to his door. ``There will never be great architecture without great patrons,'' Lutyens is often quoted as saying. He built on an ambitious, even opulent scale for several hectic decades. While he designed everything from cottages to tombs, he is best remembered for his elegant country houses: Temple Dinsley, Berrydowne Court, Deanery Garden. He also renovated a number of England's great houses, including Knole, which his romantic friendship with Lady Victoria Sackville afforded him the luxury of doing. His fortunes declined after WW I: His designs passed out of fashion, and some of his old patrons fell on hard times. He died deeply in debt. Brown seems little concerned with dramatizing Lutyens's life, however, focusing here on the lives of his patrons. Unfortunately, her narrative often seems more like a cozy society page studded with the great names of Edwardian society than a historical narrative. Indeed, her book (she is the author of Vita's Other World: A Gardening Biography of Vita Sackville-West, 1986) seems to treat distinguished names as a carefully cultivated landscape to be described without inquisitiveness or excess of passion. With too much text hindering any coffee table appeal, this will likely find an audience only among Anglophiles and DecArts & Architecture diehards. (16 color, 100 b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Since the rise of Postmodernism, the reputation of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944) has undergone a startling revival. He was the greatest English country house architect of the century-maybe of all time-and he capped his career with one of the great civic commissions of the century, the design of the new capital of India, New Delhi. This book explores Lutyens's Edwardian clients, a fascinating, artistically inclined group including such luminaries as Victoria Sackville and J.M. Barrie. Brown, a well-published English scholar of garden history, writes charmingly and affectingly about her subjects. Given current interest in Lutyens, this volume will be a fine addition to most architecture collections.
Peter S. Kaufman, Boston Architectural Ctr.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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