'Our very quaint old architect': Some Letters of William Butterfield
|Veröffentlicht in:||Architectural History, 2010, v. 53|
Paul Thompson's monograph on William Butterfield set out to challenge the bizarre misconceptions which had previously warped appreciation of his work. These included Sir John Summerson's accusation of ‘purposeful sadism', Ian Nairn's view of him as an ‘unexpected Heathcliff, and Henry-Russell Hitchcock's description of him as uncivilized, ‘a man who never wrote a book or an article' and who rarely travelled. Mendacious anecdotes suggested a puritanical and antisocial character, lacking in humanity. Thompson effectively refuted such absurdities, but Butterfield's letters — very few of which have been published, even in part — provide fascinating evidence of his character. They reveal his humour and his affection for old friends, and his strongly held, but eminently sensible, religious views, as well as his pragmatic and conscientious practice of architecture. This evidence bears out and adds much useful detail to Thompson's depiction of the man, refining our understanding of him and allowing his personality to come to the fore.
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