Lutyens: New Delhi
Gavin Stamp


Gavin Stamp

©Monica Pidgeon

A great change came over English architecture at the beginning of the twentieth century. After the death of Queen Victoria and with the accession of her son Edward VII there was a new feeling for the monumental, for large classical building, a new feeling came over English architecture. There was a desire to make London a more monumental city, full of large classical public buildings. Lutyens, whose early work had been in the country, who had specialised in romantic country houses, was also affected by this new mood. In 1903, he wrote to his friend in South Africa, Herbert Baker: "In architecture, Palladio is the game. It is so big; few appreciate it now, and it requires training to value and realise it. The way Wren handled it was marvellous. Shaw has the gift, to the average man it is dry bones, but under the hand of a Wren it glows and a stiff material becomes plastic clay". When_he wrote that, Lutyens had had no opportunity to put such ideas into effect. But in 1904 came a commission where he showed what he could do with the classical grammar.


Country Life Building, 2 - 10 Tavistock Street, London, 1904

©Gavin Stamp

His client, Edward Hudson, for whom he had already built Deanery Garden, asked him to design a new Headquarters for the magazine Country Life in Covent Garden. And for this office building Lutyens adopted the manner of Wren - the brick and stone manner of Hampton Court. Two years later, in 1906, came a house which marks Lutyens' maturity as a classical architect.

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