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Sir Edwin Lutyens is an architect known for many buildings around Britain, and also war memorials such as the Cenotaph in Whitehall, and the Indian capital New Delhi. He often collaborated with the landscape gardener Gertrude Jekyll.

Edwin Landseer Lutyens, known as Ned, was born in London on 29 March 1869, studied at the South Kensington School of Art (later to be the Royal College of Art) from 1885, and was articled to a firm of architects led by Sir Ernest George in 1887. From 1888 he worked on his own. Meeting Gertrude Jekyll in 1889 greatly influenced him.

His wife Emily was the daughter of Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India 1876-1880. In 1912 Lutyens was commissioned to take part in the project of a new capital adjoining Delhi, and he designed a garden city in hexagons with broad avenues. The most important single building was the Viceroy's residence, now called Rashtrapati Bhavan. New Delhi was inaugurated in 1931.

The Imperial War Graves Commission gave him the task of making a memorial to the dead of the Great War. The Cenotaph designed in 1919 was originally intended to be temporary, but the following year it was replaced by a permanent stone version. He also designed the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval, and numerous other war memorials.

Castle Drogo in Devonshire, now a National Trust property, is a modern castle, and in fact prefigures post-modernism, because it has false bits I don't know the correct architectural name for along the top. He created dozens of country houses. He also created a famous miniature version of one, Queen Mary's Doll House (1921), now on display in Windsor Castle.

He built Munstead Wood house in Surrey for Gertrude Jekyll in 1895-6. She was of good family and introduced him into society, which resulted in many commissions and collaborations. Among other overseas buildings are the British Embassy in Washington (1927).

His Roman Catholic cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool was unfinished, built only as far as the crypt, at his death in London on 1 January 1944. It had been commissioned in 1929, the foundation stone was laid in 1933, but work was discontinued because of the War in 1941.

He was knighted in 1918, became a member of the Royal Academy in 1920, won the Gold Medal of the RIBA in 1921, became president of the Royal Academy in 1938, and was awarded the OM in 1941.

Never since the days of Sheridan and Goldsmith has a man of genius been so widely beloved . . . Lutyens possessed the faculty of making everybody feel much younger. He adopted an identical attitude of bubbling friendliness whether he was talking to a Queen Dowager or a cigarette girl, a Cardinal or a schoolboy.

He would on occasions disconcert the elderly by intruding with outrageous flippancy upon conversations, which were intended to be sedate. When reproved for those excursions he would show the most disarming contrition and begin all over again.

-- from an obituary by Harold Nicolson

There is an excellent website for the Lutyens Trust, marred ever so slightly by prominently misspelling his name in a picture on the introductory page, with a complete biography, chronology, buildingography (my word, not theirs), pictures, and a walking tour of London to see his works:


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