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 to Lutyens’s work when first encountering it, being then an earnest young devotee of modern art. His work seemed almost too beautiful, too harmonious.
But now that modernism is increasingly recognised as being just another historical style rather than the end of history we are in a better position to appreciate Lutyens’s intelligent historicism.
And I have just learned that, by complete coincidence, Adrian Colston has also just featured the interiors and exteriors of Lutyens-designed Castle Drogo on his Dartmoor blog, with his own fascinating photographs.