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LUTYENS, Edwin Landseer

Born: 1869 03 29
Died: 1944 01 01

Architect


Year registered: 1938

ARIBA (1897); FRIBA (1917); ISAA (1938); KCIE; RA; MIA.

LUTYENS visited South Africa twice, in 1910 and in 1919. The first visit was enthusiastically encouraged by his friend Herbert BAKER, the second took place after the famous quarrel between the two architects had taken place over New Delhi. Both visits provoked mixed reactions from South African architects, some regarding him with reverence and some with hostility, both with some awe, his reputation preceded him. In 1910 LUTYENS, rather to BAKER's surprise, was invited by the Johannesburg Art Gallery Committee, headed by Lady Phillips and her advisor Hugh Lane, to draw up plans for a gallery in the city. Lady Phillips's own interest in the arts, her frequent visits to Britain and her consequent exposure to collectors and patrons inevitably made her aware of LUTYENS's fashionable London practice. Regarded as a plum job, there was considerable outcry from local architects at the commission being given outside the country. Hussey (1950) recalls both BAKER's and LUTYENS's anticipation of local hostility, LUTYENS writing to BAKER: 'if the South African architects are on their hind legs about my going out, we can't help it - they must stay there - rampant' (Hussey 1950:203.) This was to be the first gallery LUTYENS had designed and was the only gallery he designed that was ever built. Contemporary with the design of Castle Drogo in Devon, it shares in LUTYENS's exploration of stone vaulting and dome work. It was soon apparent that there was too little money for a stone building and although LUTYENS suggested that it be built in brick, the committee pursued the stone concept. The result being that funds ran out and the Gallery remained half a building until its completion in 1986 in Post Modern style.

LUTYENS's 1910 visit lasted for about six weeks from November to the end of December and during this time he was further commissioned to design the Rand Regiment Memorial in Eckstein Park. It was among LUTYENS's first war memorials, a genre of work in which he (and BAKER) became a master.

Through his part as one of the leading architects of the War Graves Commission during and after the First World War he would have had influence on younger South Africans engaged there, namely GEG LEITH, W LUCAS and WC VON BERG.

On the occasion of LUTYENS's second visit to the country in 1919, this time to Cape Town alone, the editorials in the Architect, Builder and Engineer alternated between flattery and caustic comment, particularly regarding his parting advice on the topic of the Registration of Architects, which he opposed. The occasion of his visit was to advise JM SOLOMON (who had once worked in LUTYENS's office in London) on the work of designing the new University of Cape Town, where he encouraged and advised, Solomon in his work. While virtually boarding the ship for the return journey, he was asked to give some advice to South African architects and is quoted as having suggested 'look to your old homesteads; reverence them and use them as models intelligently, not copying them without the understanding that those old Dutchmen were gentlemen' (AB&E May 1919:15).

LUTYENS's influence on architecture in South Africa can be traced in the post-1910 work of the Public Works Department in Pretoria and possibly some of the work of individual architects in the country. However, BAKER's style is perceptibly more influential in both cases. Broadly speaking, South African architecture developed along its own lines while still owing much to various overseas influences, most of them British or American. The few South African architects who worked in relatively close connection with LUTYENS, such as CP WALGATE at New Delhi and JM SOLOMON, JA HOOGTERP and W PERCIK in London reflected the influence in different and yet to be analysed ways.

[Currently it is not known why LUTYENS registered as a member of the Institute of South African Architects in 1938.]

(AB&E May 1919; Afr Archt Sep 1912:xx; Afr Archt Apr 1914:332ff; Delbridge 1985; Hussey 1950; McTeague 1985; Irving 1982; ISAA mem list; Jhb Art Gallery Archives; Jhb Art Gallery collection LUTYENS's Presentation dwgs)

Johannesburg: Rand Regiments Memorial, Eckstein Park, BAKER & FLEMING supervising archts (Afr Archt Jun 1914; Hussey 1950) 1910-11; Art Gallery, Joubert Park, R HOWDEN supervising archt (Afr Archt Feb 1913:146 tend; Afr Archt Apr 1914:327; Jnl ATA Feb 1916:8; Jnl ATA Jul 1916:12 ill; SAAR Jun 1934:144, 157, Pearse on the gallery; Hussey 1950; McTeague 1985) 1910-1944; St Cyprian's Church (Delbridge 1985) n.d.

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

Books citing LUTYENS

Emanuel, Muriel. 1980. Contemporary architects. London: Macmillan. pp 490-494

Fisher, Roger & Clarke, Nicholas. 2014. Architectural Guide : South Africa. Berlin: DOM Publishers. pp 26

Geurst, Jeroen. 2010. Cemeteries of the Great War by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Rotterdam: 010. pp All

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 54, 100, 136-138, 197, 208, 215

Gutsche, Thelma. 1966. No Ordinary Woman: The life and times of Florence Phillips. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp Various - see book index

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 38, 107, 150, 161, 171, 172

Placzek, Adolf K (Editor in Chief). 1982. Macmillan encyclopedia of architects (Volume 3 of 4). New York: The Free Press. pp 42-49

Stamp, Gavin. 1977. Silent Cities : An Exhibition of the Memorial and Cemetery Architecture of the Great War. London: Royal Institute of British Architects. pp 24