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Getting on with it

Patricia Beer, 15 August 1991

Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti 
by Radha Rajagopal Sloss.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £17.99, May 1991, 0 7475 0720 1
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... is more of a group chronicle than pure biography. One is The Life and Death of Krishnamurti by Mary Lutyens, his official biographer. It came out in 1990 and gathers up much of what she had been writing about him, extensively and indeed repetitiously, for the previous three decades. In the Fifties she had given a charming account of how Krishna and ...

Back to back

Peter Campbell, 4 December 1980

Edwin Lutyens 
by Mary Lutyens.
Murray, 294 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 7195 3777 0
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... Chapter Four of Mary Lutyens’s memoir of her father finds her parents at Scheveningen, on their honeymoon. ‘For the first week they sat back to back on the beach in two of those old-fashioned high-backed basket chairs, she facing towards the sea and he towards the land, reaching back uncomfortably to hold hands ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

LutyensThe Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin LutyensArchitect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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LutyensCountry Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... Lutyens lives! After three decades in which his reputation has been in ashes, the most esteemed English architect of his time, whose death on New Year’s Day 1944 was mourned as if an emperor had passed, now returns in triumph to his phoenixed pedestal. That is the message of this torrent of books which have recently gushed from the architectural presses, pouring praise on Lutyens and his works ...


Rosemary Hill, 5 December 1991

Gertrude Jekyll 
by Sally Festing.
Viking, 323 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 670 82788 6
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People’s Parks 
by Hazel Conway.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £49.50, August 1991, 0 521 39070 2
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The History of Garden Design: The Western Tradition from the Renaissance to the Present Day 
edited by Monique Mosser and Georges Teyssot.
Thames and Hudson, 543 pp., £45, May 1991, 0 500 01511 2
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... a ‘queer fish’, according to her father, and already at twenty she appears in a drawing by Mary Newton with the distinctive profile, double chin and currant-bun hairstyle by which she was ever afterwards known. She was short-sighted and therefore observant of close detail and of masses of shape and colour in the middle distance. She had an excellent ...

I want to be real

Rosemary Dinnage, 27 May 1993

Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: Theosophy and the Emergence of the Western Guru 
by Peter Washington.
Secker, 470 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 436 56418 1
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... and more extraordinary. Washington recapitulates the story as told in the books of Lady Emily Lutyens and her daughter Mary, both deeply involved in it, to the dismay of Lady Emily’s husband, the architect Edwin Lutyens. Krishnamurti, son of an Indian Theosophist hangeron, was ...

The Hierophant

Michael Ledger-Lomas: Servant King, 10 March 2022

George V: Never a Dull Moment 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 559 pp., £30, November 2021, 978 0 7011 8870 2
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For King and Country: The British Monarchy and the First World War 
by Heather Jones.
Cambridge, 576 pp., £29.99, September 2021, 978 1 108 42936 8
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... The​ Queen’s Dolls’ House, designed by Edwin Lutyens, was put on display at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. A twee descendant of Victoria and Albert’s Crystal Palace, three feet tall, it advertised the ingenuity of Britain’s manufacturers to the world. Its Palladian shell lifted off to reveal a miniature vision of upholstered modern life, as well as the tastes of its royal owners, Queen Mary and King George V ...

Owning Mayfair

David Cannadine, 2 April 1981

Survey of London. Vol. 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2. The Buildings 
edited by F.H.W. Sheppard.
Athlone, 428 pp., £55, August 1980, 0 485 48240 1
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... family through an advantageous marriage in 1677 between Sir Thomas Grosvenor and the heiress Mary Davies, who also brought with her other London lands which later became Pimlico and Belgravia. Enjoying enormous natural advantages of location, from which indifferent early management could not detract, Mayfair was developed from the 1720s, and by the end ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... of Swingler’s set by Britten, for instance, a nodding acquaintance only, or Rubbra, Maconchy, Lutyens, Vaughan Williams or John Ireland, say much about the ramifications and happenstance of the Popular Front, little about the value of Swingler’s words, which can often be pretty trite. Certainly, he thought this work important and said so, but for ...

Uncle Clarence

Alan Bennett, 5 June 1986

... has a little cry. These occasions go on until about 1950 when Grandma dies. Grandma, whose name is Mary Ann Peel, has three daughters, Kathleen, Lemira and my mother, Lilian. Clarence is the eldest and the only son. Whenever he is talked of it is always ‘Our Clarence’ or, to my brother and me, ‘Your Uncle Clarence’. But he is only our would-be ...

Attila the Hus

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 4 November 1982

Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 28849 4
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... grief wasn’t genuine – though Nancy Astor was sure it would ‘pass like a mirage’. Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design Cimmie’s tomb – a pink sarcophagus set in a sunken garden by the river at Savehay Farm. But Mosley told Harold Nicolson that he considered his movement her memorial and that he was ‘prepared willingly to die for it’. As ...


Alan Hollinghurst: In Houston, 18 March 1999

... flanked by Twenties mansions – now Spanish, now French, now severely Georgian, now picturesque Lutyens Tudor. The juxtapositions are as surreal as you could hope for from a new plutocracy, but the houses themselves have space to breathe, unlike comparable avenues of the same period in North London, with soulless and pretentious neo-William and ...

Back from the Underworld

Marina Warner: The Liveliness of the Dead, 17 August 2017

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains 
by Thomas Laqueur.
Princeton, 711 pp., £27.95, October 2015, 978 0 691 15778 8
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... the dead, and praying to those who, purified in the fires of the afterlife, could now ask God and Mary to reprieve those still suffering for their sins, and help us ahead of time for ours. But when this eschatological perspective weakened, the activity of the dead didn’t come to a stop, which was surprising: the Reformation and the Enlightenment combined to ...

Everybody’s Joan

Marina Warner, 6 December 2012

... fruits while bad ones found their shoes filled with coal; on 1 May, the queenship of the Virgin Mary, bunches of lily of the valley were exchanged. Joan of Arc was one adoptive saint and heroine among many whose memory was kept with incense, flowers, singing and processions on her feast day, another spring festival since it fell on 30 May. The liturgical ...

Life Pushed Aside

Clair Wills: The Last Asylums, 18 November 2021

... eldest child of John and Jane Beegan. In 1901 they were living together with the younger Beegans, Mary and Thomas, at 23 Dunlo Hill in Ballinasloe. On the census form, John Beegan senior describes himself and his two sons, John Leo and Thomas, as stonecutters. Ten years later, in the 1911 census, he chose the term ‘monumental stonemason’ – the family ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1998, 21 January 1999

... the left-hand side opening outwards, the pulley then closing the gate. It’s the kind of thing Lutyens would have delighted in and incorporated into one of his country houses. 17 August. Some time this last week a bearded man in a frock strolled through the National Gallery, observed by the warders, though not accosted by them until he reached the room ...

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