From Arts-and-Crafts to Smart Design

Posted: February 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

Issued by Faber and Faber, the aggressively modern publishing house where T. S. Eliot worked.

Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983), Art historian and architectural scholar

Architectural historian. Born in Leipzig, Pevsner lost his post at Göttingen University on Hitler’s advent, and came to Britain in 1933. Pioneers of Modern Design (1936) and An Outline of European Architecture (1942) established his reputation and stimulated a popular interest in art and architecture. He taught at Birkbeck College, University of London (1942-69), and was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge (1949-55). He sat on the editorial board of the Architectural Review, was art editor of Penguin Books, and in 1955 gave the Reith lectures on the ‘Englishness of English Art’. The Buildings of England (46 volumes, 1951-74) remains his monument.

This is a tremendous book about a subject that engages us all. On one level, it is simply a biography of the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, who came to England from Germany as a refugee in 1933 and wrote the magisterial Buildings of England series for Penguin. However, it is much more than the story of one man.

As befits the study of one of our greatest cultural historians, it is also a story of why architecture matters and, at a deeper level, how Europeans evolved the particular living spaces and political systems we see today.

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