Lutyens is in the details

Treasure Hunt

If you are looking for some winter-time reading matter you could do worse than get Elizabeth Wilhide’s book about the interiors of the great Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

It zooms in on the architectural and decorative details Lutyens excelled in.

As with the buildings of Sir John Soane, you get a palpable sense of Lutyens’s enjoyment in solving the puzzles of volume, light and flow. The visual puns, references and juxtapositions draw you into the architectural game and invite you into Lutyens’s mind.

Some elements of his buildings are just plain beautiful, as when he foregrounds interesting materials and contrasts.

In the introduction to the book Candia Lutyens, the architect’s granddaughter, mentions how unpopular Lutyens was in the middle of the twentieth century, as his eclectic and referential style was out of synch with the purity of high modernism.

I can still remember having a slightly dubious reaction…

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