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date: 05 December 2019

Lethaby, W(illiam) R(ichard)locked

(b Barnstaple, Jan 18, 1857; d London, July 17, 1931).
  • Godfrey Rubens

Extract

(b Barnstaple, Jan 18, 1857; d London, July 17, 1931).

English architect, writer and designer. The son of a gilder who was a radical and lay preacher, in 1871 he was apprenticed to a local architect and painter, Alexander Lauder, who gave him a thorough training in the building crafts. In 1879 he was appointed chief clerk to Richard Norman Shaw, whose influence was already evident in Lethaby’s architectural drawings. He remained in this post for the next twelve years (the last two part-time), during which he became increasingly responsible for detailing Shaw’s work, and in doing so made an important contribution to his style (e.g. a chimney-piece of 1883 for Cragside, Rothbury, Northumb.). Lethaby’s independent design work up to the mid-1880s was in the Anglo-Dutch style of the 17th century, as for example in his unexecuted design for a silverware salad bowl, illustrated in The Architect (30 June 1883). About 1885 he began investigating the ways in which beliefs concerning the nature of the cosmos had influenced the forms of ancient architecture. This research resulted in a number of designs with complex and often esoteric iconography, such as his stained-glass window depicting the ...

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