Decimus Burton: Gentleman Architect (2021)

ISBN: 9781848225244
Artist(s): Decimus Burton
Author(s): Paul A Rabbitts
Format: hardback
Edition: First Edition
Year published: 2021
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Total Pages: 208
Illustrations: Lavishly illustrated


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A contemporary of Soane, Nash and Pugin, Decimus Burton (1800–1881) was one of the most prolific architects of his day and is best known for his work in London’s Royal Parks, including: the Wellington Arch and the Serpentine pavilion in Hyde Park; villas and terraces in Regent’s Park and the London Zoo; the Temperate house at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the layout and architecture of the seaside towns of Fleetwood and St Leonards-on-Sea, and the spa town of Tunbridge Wells. Other projects include the Atheneum Club, Pall Mall, Adelaide Crescent in Brighton, and Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Despite his success, very little is known about Burton and he is often overshadowed by the other architects of the time. This may in part be because he moved from a neo-classical style of architecture to a rather less rigorous form of Gothic than that adopted by his critic, A.W Pugin. And it may also be due to the fact that, as the son of a successful builder and developer, he did not receive the formal architectural training of many of his contemporaries.

This book is the first to fully examine Burton and his complete works, from his early years and his father’s influence, through his apprenticeship with John Nash, his works in private practice and his growing reputation, through to his exploits in town planning and glass houses. This is set within a fascinating social and political context which showed how these influenced which buildings, builders and architects were commissioned and factors of what made a project successful. There are stories of conflict and heated dispute amongst the key players which paint a vivid portrait of the architectural profession and construction industry during this period. It reappraises his legacy and summarises his significant achievements and reveals how he contributed to the birth of the picturesque style that was to develop into the Arts & Crafts movement.


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