Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Reginald Theodore Blomfield

Sir Reginald Theodore Blomfield (20 December 1856 – 27 December 1942) was a prolific British architect, garden designer and author of the Victorian and Edwardian period.
Early life and career

Blomfield was born at Bow vicarage in Devon, where his father, the Rev. George John Blomfield (d. 1900) was curate. His mother, Isabella, was a distant cousin of his father and the second daughter of the Rt. Rev. Charles Blomfield, Bishop of London. He was brought up in Kent, where his father became rector of Dartford in 1857 and then of Aldington in 1868. He was educated at Haileybury school in Hertfordshire and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he took a first-class degree in classics. At Oxford, he attended John Ruskin's lectures, but found "the atmosphere of rapt adoration with which Ruskin and all he said was received by the young ladies... was altogether too much for me". Although he had a clear learning towards the polite arts, his family did not have the means to sustain him as a gentleman artist, and Blomfield at this date had no clear career. After Oxford, he spent a year travelling on the continent as a tutor before accepting an offer from his mother's brother, Sir Arthur Blomfield, to become an articled pupil in his London practice in the autumn of 1881. He also enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools, where Richard Phené Spiers was Master of the Architectural School. He found the atmosphere in his uncle's office uncongenial and the practice's traditional Gothic Revival output hard and soulless, although he gained valuable mechanical skills at draughtsmanship and site experience. He prospered more at the Academy Schools, taking the junior prize in 1882 and the senior prize the following year, with a design for a town house in the fashionable Queen Anne Revival style, of which he was later ashamed. During his years in his uncle's office, the practice produced two uncharacteristic schemes (for work at Marlborough College and Shrewsbury School that appear to foreshadow Blomfield's enthusiasm for classicism, and in the design of which he was presumably involved.
[edit]Design work

At the beginning of 1884, having completed his training, he left his uncle's office and spent a further four months travelling in France and Spain before returning to London and establishing a practice at 17 Southampton Street, off the Strand, in London; E.S. Prior had an office in the same building. Through Prior, a former pupil of Richard Norman Shaw, Blomfield met others of Shaw's circle, includingMervyn Macartney, Ernest Newton and Gerald Horsley. Although he never worked in Shaw's office, Blomfield was, like them, henceforth a great admirer of Shaw. With this ground, Blomfield was involved in the founding of the Art Workers Guild and was at first made its Honorary Secretary, but he attended infrequently and when admonished about this, resigned in a huff. In retrospect, however, he paid tribute to these efforts to set a new direction for architecture: "I think it is due to these young men of the 80s that the arts were rescued from the paralysing conventions of the Victorian era". In 1890, with the idea of designing and making fine furniture, Blomfield, Ernest Gimson, Macartney and William Lethaby joined forces to establish Kenton & Co. Although the venture had the makings of a success, it lasted only two years, as the partners decided to concentrate instead on their increasingly successful architectural practices.

In 1886 Blomfield married the daughter of Henry Burra of Rye, Sussex, where he designed several houses, including his own, the very informal Point Hill, Playden, where his family still live. One he let to the American novelist Henry James. The same year, Blomfield and the printer T.J. Cobden Sanderson (1840–1922) built themselves a pair of pretty houses in Frognal, Hampstead, Middlesex; 51 Frognal remained Blomfield's London home and he died there.
Regent Street, London

The heyday of Blomfield's practice, between 1885 and 1914, was dominated by the construction of new country houses and the renovation and extension of existing ones on the most generous scale. Notable among these works are the alteration of Chequers, Buckinghamshire (mostly 1909-12), Heathfield Park, Sussex (1896–1910) and Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire (1898–1910). The completely new buildings are mostly slightly smaller but still substantial; houses such as Wittington at Medmenham, Buckinghamshire; Caythorpe Court, Lincolnshire; Moundsmere Manor. Hampshire; or Wretham Hall, Norfolk. Much of this work was carried out in a manner inspired by Blomfield's studies of both English and French Renaissance styles. Blomfield's fairly numerous university and commercial buildings also included a number of prestigious commissions, including the college buildings for Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and the United Universities Club in London. He played a major part in the completion of the Quadrant in Regent Street, London when Richard Norman Shaw withdrew from the project. The First World Warput an end to the type of building projects on which he had been engaged, and after it ended in 1919 his practice never returned to its former size. He was 65 in 1921, but continued working at a gradually decreasing pace into his late 70s, producing a large number of war memorials in the 1920s, including the Menin Gate at Ypres. His last major project was the reconstruction of 4 Carlton Gardens, London, in 1932.
The Cross of Sacrifice in Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy

Blomfield had a gift for sketching and writing. His first book, Formal gardens in England, illustrated by Inigo Thomas, appeared in 1892. His views invoked the criticism of the gardener William Robinson, who pursued a lengthy dispute with those architects who dared to interest themselves in gardening, especially Blomfield and John Dando Sedding. In 1897 Blomfield's first major historical work, A history of Renaissance architecture in England, 1500-1800 was published by George Bell and Sons. The architecture of the Wren era in particular appealed to him, and he came to regard it as the era of England's finest architecture. This book was complemented by the appearance of a companion study, A history of French architecture, published in two volumes covering 1494-1661 (1911) and 1661-1774 (1921). Together with the work of Blomfield himself, Sir John Belcher and Mervyn Macartney, the arrival of a serious account of architectural development in the 17th and 18th centuries led not only to the preservation of many previously neglected buildings of those periods, but also increased interest in the neo-Georgian style.

His other published works include Studies in Architecture (1905); The Mistress Art (1908), Architectural Drawing and Draughtsmen(1912); The Touchstone of Architecture (1925); Six Architects (1925); Memoirs of an Architect (1932); the controversial anti-Modernistpolemic, Modernismus (1934) and the sketchy Richard Norman Shaw (1940). A further collection of autobiographical material, 1932–42, continuing his memoirs, remains unpublished and is in the possession of his descendants.
[edit]Archival materials

The British Architectural Library Drawings Collection has a number of his perspective drawings produced for Royal Academy exhibitions and an incomplete collection of his sketchbooks, photographs and papers. Other documents remain in the possession of his descendants, but he disposed of the majority of his drawings during the Second World War. A bronze bust of Blomfield by Sir William Reid Dick is in the National Portrait Gallery.
[edit]List of works

The following list of major works is selected from that given in R.A. Fellows, Sir Reginald Blomfield: an Edwardian architect, 1985, with additions from The Buildings of England and other sources cited in the bibliography:
Lincoln Public Library
Westgate Water Tower, Lincoln
The Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium
The Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium
The Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln
R.A.F. Memorial, London
Lambeth Bridge, London
The Headrow, Leeds
Haileybury College, Hertfordshire: erection of Bradby Memorial Hall, 1886; Music School, Sports Pavilion and organ case, 1923
Broxbourne, Hertfordshire: erection of five houses on St Catherine's estate for J.A. Hunt, 1887
20 Buckingham Gate, Westminster, Middlesex: new town house in free Queen Anne style, 1887
Rye, Sussex: new vicarage, 1887; mission room, 1900
Swinford Old Manor, near Ashford, Kent: restoration, 1887
Blacknoll, Dorset: new house, 1889
Hertford, Hertfordshire: new covered market, public library and art school, 1889 (withW.H. Wilds)
Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey: alterations and renovation for Arthur Brook, 1889, in free Queen Anne style
Rye, Sussex: erection of houses in Gun Garden and Watchbell Street, 1890, 1910
Aslockton, Nottinghamshire: new church, 1890–92
Bern (Switzerland): rebuilding of St. Antonien Kapelle, 1891, in late Gothic style
Carshalton, Surrey: extension of All Saints church, 1891-1914 (with A.W. Blomfield)
Southwater, Horsham, Sussex: new house and gardens, 1891
Chequers Court, Buckinghamshire: restoration, alterations and gardens for Bertram Astley, 1892–1901 and Arthur Lee, 1st Baron Lee of Fareham, 1909–12, in neo-Jacobean style
Frogmore Hall, Hertfordshire: alterations, 1892
Frognal, Hampstead, Middlesex: new houses at 49-51 Frognal for himself and T.J. Cobden Sanderson, 1892
Swiftsden, Etchingham, Sussex: new house in neo-Georgian style, 1892
Borrowstone Lodge, Kincardine O'Neil, Aberdeenshire: new house, 1893
Queen Anne's School, Caversham, Oxfordshire: chapel, 1893
St. George, Hanover Square, London: new fittings, circa 1894
Warley Lodge, Essex: new gardens, 1894
Mystole House. Chartham, Kent: alterations and additions, 1895, in neo-Georgian style
Godinton Park, Kent: alterations, 1895, 1924 and new garden, circa 1902
Greycoat Place, London: warehouse for Army and Navy Stores, 1895
Limpsfield Chart, Surrey: St. Andrew's Church, 1895, in Arts & Crafts style
Point Hill, Playden, Sussex: expansion of cottage into new house for himself, 1895–1912
Cowley House, Middlesex: addition and alterations, 1896
Heathfield Park, Sussex: alterations and additions for W.C. Alexander, 1896–1910, in neo-Georgian style
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford: college buildings, 1896–1915
St Edmund's School, Canterbury, Kent: headmaster's house, 1897
Hillside School, Godalming, Surrey: school buildings and house, 1897
Wittington, Medmenham, Buckinghamshire: house, gardens and lodge for Hudson Kearley, 1st Lord Devonport, 1897–1904, and enlargement, 1909; in Wrenaissance style
Mellerstain, Roxburghshire: restoration and gardens for Lord Binning, 1898–1910
Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire: reconstruction and new gardens for Earl of Yarborough, 1898–1910 in Wrenaissance style
Caythorpe Court, Lincolnshire: new house and gardens for Edgar Lubbock, brewer and banker, 1899–1903, in neo-Jacobean style
Effordleigh House, near Plymouth, Devonshire: new house, 1899
Drakelow Hall, Derbyshire: restoration and gardens for Gresley family, 1900–06
West Broyle, Chichester, Sussex: new house, 1901
Yockley, Frimley, Surrey: new house and gardens for Charles Furse ARA, 1901-02 in neo-Georgian style; additional wing, 1910
Murraythwaite, Dumfriesshire: new house, 1901
Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devonshire: additions, 1901
Heywood Manor, Boldre, Hampshire: new house and gardens, 1902
Euston Hall, Suffolk: new gardens for Duke of Grafton, 1902
Hatchlands, Surrey: new Music Room, 1902–03, in Wrenaissance style
Sherborne School for Girls, Dorset: new buildings, 1902–26, in neo-Tudor style
Gogmagog Hall, Cambridgeshire: alterations, 1903
Ballard's Court, Goudhurst, Kent: new house, 1903
Leasam House, Playden, Sussex: alterations and new gardens, 1903
Medmenham Manor House, Buckinghamshire: restoration for Hudson Kearley, 1903
Apethorpe Hall, Northamptonshire: alterations and additions, and new gardens, forLeonard Brassey, 1st Baron Brassey, 1904
Knowlton Court, Kent: alterations and new gardens for Major Elmer Speed, 1904
Merchant Taylors' Hall, London: alterations, 1904, 1926
Saltcote Place, Rye, Sussex: new house for Mr Hennessy, 1905
Kenfield Hall, Kent: additions and alterations, 1906–09
Oxford & Cambridge Club, Pall Mall, London: alterations, including new staircase, 1906–12
United University Club, Suffolk St., London: new building, 1906; extensions, 1924, 1938
Wyphurst, Cranleigh, Surrey: additions for C.E.H. Chadwyck-Healey, 1907, in neo-Tudor style
Garnons, Herefordshire: alterations, 1907, in neo-Georgian style
Ickworth, Suffolk: remodelling of entrance hall for 4th Marquess of Bristol, 1907
Hill House, Shenley, Hertfordshire: new gardens for S. de la Rue, 1907
Milner Court, Sturry, Kent: additions and new gardens, 1907
Moundsmere Manor, Hampshire: new house and gardens for Wilfred Buckley, 1908-09 in neo-Georgian style
Roehampton, Surrey: new archive repository for Bank of England, 1908–10
Hill Hall, Essex: alterations and additions for Mrs Charles Hunter, 1909
Sherborne School, Dorset: Carrington Building, 1909–10; Great Court, 1913–23; Gymnasium and Music School, 1926
Manoir de la Trinité, Jersey: remodelling for Athelstan Riley, 1909–12
Sandhouse, Witley, Surrey: new house, circa 1909-11
New Public Library, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, 1910–14, in Wrenaissance style
Westgate Water Tower, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, 1910
20 Upper Grosvenor Street, London: alterations and redecoration, 1910
Regent Street/Piccadilly, London: redevelopment of The Quadrant with new shops and stores, 1910–26
Malma, Pyrford, Surrey: new house, 1914-1915
Lockleys, Welwyn, Hertfordshire: alterations, additions and gardens, 1911
Whiteley Village, Surrey: new houses in North Avenue, 1911
The Lordship, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire: additions, 1912
Wretham Hall, Norfolk: new house and gardens for Sir Saxton Noble, 1912–13, inWrenaissance style
Netherseal Hall, Derbyshire: restoration, 1914
Kinnaird House, Pall Mall, London: new building, 1915 (with A.J. Driver)
Penn House, Buckinghamshire: alterations, 1918
Brodick Castle, Arran: restoration and new gardens, 1919
Harefield Place, Middlesex: alterations, 1920, 1934
Carlton Club, Pall Mall, London: extension, 1920 (destroyed in Second World War: not the current premises in St James's Street)
Sulgrave Manor, Northamptonshire: additions and restoration, 1921
Halstead Hall, Lincolnshire: restoration, 1922
Barkers Department Store, Kensington, Middlesex: new department store, 1924
The Headrow, Leeds, Yorkshire: layout of new street with shops, offices and banks, 1924-37 (with other architects)
Lambeth Bridge, London: new bridge, 1929–32
Ypres (Belgium): new British School building, 1925
Stowe School, Buckinghamshire: development plan, 1926
Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln, Lincolnshire: new building, 1926–27
Chantry Bridge, Rotherham, Yorkshire: reconstruction, 1927
Crockerhill, Sussex: alterations, 1929
County Hall, Lewes, Sussex: rebuilding, 1928–30
Middlesex Hospital, London: new facade, 1930
4 Carlton Gardens, London: new offices, 1932 (part of a scheme for the total redevelopment of Carlton House Terrace

Among war memorials for which he was responsible are:
Brandhoek Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Ieper, West Flanders, Belgium, 1915.
Belgian War Memorial, Victoria Embankment, London, 1917, with Belgian sculptor Victor Rousseau
Hertfordshire Regiment Memorial, Hertford, 1921
Ypres (Belgium): Menin Gate, 1922 and Saint George's Memorial Church, 1928
The Royal Air Force Memorial in London, 1923.
The Cross of Sacrifice or War Cross, for the Imperial War Graves Commission. These are in Commonwealth cemeteries in many countries.[1]
[edit]Awards and honours

Blomfield was made an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1881 and a Fellow in 1906; an Associate of theRoyal Academy in 1905 and elected to the Academy in 1914, where he had been Professor of Architecture 1907-11 and awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 1913. He was President of the RIBA in 1912-14 and was knighted in 1919.
[edit]See also
St. Thomas' Church, Aslockton

^ http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0009128 Canadian Encyclopedia Monuments, World Wars I and II
Blomfield, Sir Reginald, Memoirs of an Architect, London: Macmillan and Co, 1932
Fellows, R. A., Sir Reginald Blomfield: an Edwardian architect, London, 1985
Fellows, R. A., Edwardian Architecture: style and technology, 1995
Gray, A. S., Edwardian Architecture: a biographical dictionary, 1985
Riddington, Peter, et al., Regent Street, History and Conservation. Donald Insall Associates, London 2001.
Service, A., Edwardian Architecture, London 1977
[edit]External links
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Reginald Blomfield

Reginald Blomfield: Veterans UK
Blomfield, Reginald (1911). A History of French Architecture from the Death of Charles VIII till the Death of Mazarin London: G. Bell. Vols. I (copies 1 & 2) and II (copies1 & 2) at Internet Archive.
Blomfield, Reginald (1921). A History of French Architecture from the Death of Mazarin till the Death of Louis XV, 1661–1774. London: G. Bell. Vols. I (copies 1 & 2) and II (copies 1 & 2) at Internet Archive.

Short Biography:

The son of a Vicar and grandson of the Bishop of London, he was born at Nymet Tracey, Devon, on 20 December 1856, and studied at Exeter College, Oxford, and the RA Schools.

In 1881, he commenced his architectural training in the London office of his uncle, Sir Arthur Blomfield, and then set up his own practice in 1883, at 17 Southampton Street, Strand, as a designer of houses and commercial and educational buildings in the English Renaissance style.

He was also an illustrator and writer; his most important publications being A History of Renaissance Architecture in England, 1500-1800 (1897) and A History of French Architecture, 1494 to 1661 and 1661 to 1774 (1911-21).

Blomfield’s architectural work in London includes the Arts Building, Goldsmiths’ College (1907), the redesign of Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus (1928), and the design for Lambeth Bridge (1929-32).

During World War I, he designed the Brandhoeck Military Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Ypres, Belgium, for the Graves Recognition Commission (1915). Towards the end of the war in 1918, Blomfield was appointed as one of the three principal architects to the Imperial War Graves Commission, together with Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker.

His work for the commission included the design for the War Cross, or Cross of Sacrifice, which became the standard design for the principal memorials in British and Commonwealth war cemeteries around the world and in towns and villages throughout the Britain (1918). He also designed the Menin Gate war memorial at Ypres (1927).

The War Cross is in the form of a four point limestone Latin cross, 18-23 feet tall, with a bronze sword on its front, blade down, and mounted on a stepped octagonal base. It is always inscribed: THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE, and bears a dedicatory inscription commemorating the casualties of whichever district the cross was erected in after the First World War of 1914-18, together with an additional inscription for the fallen of the Second World War of 1939-45.

Examples of the cross can be found in Glasgow’s Western Necropolis and Craigton Cemetery, and in the Abbey Close, Paisley (1923). He also designed the Royal Air Force Memorial on the Thames Embankment, London, which features a bronze eagle sculpted by the Scottish sculptor Sir William Reid Dick (1923).

He was awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in 1913, and elected President of RIBA, 1913, and RA, in 1914. He was knighted in 1919.

A bronze bust of Blomfield, by Sir William Reid Dick, of 1927, together with other portraits of the architect, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Blomfield lived at 51 Frognal, Hampstead, one of a pair of houses which he designed for himself and his neighbour, Cobden Sanderson. He died there on 27 December 1942.

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