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The Architecture of Sir Ernest George (Recording)

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This is a recording of our online event exploring the work of Sir Ernest George.

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Sir Ernest George (1839-1922), was not only one of the most successful and prolific of late Victorian architects, but also an etcher and watercolourist of great distinction. His office, which was most often compared with that of Richard Norman Shaw, occupied a position of great significance for some 40 years, with over 80 assistants and pupils, including Edwin Lutyens, Herbert Baker, E Guy Dawber, Darcy Braddell, Stanley Adshead, passing through its doors in Maddox Street, London. George’s work in partnership with Thomas Vaughan (1836-75), Harold Ainsworth Peto (1854-1933) and Alfred Bowman Yeates (1867-1914) encompassed country houses, town houses – notably the celebrated Harrington and Collingham Gardens, Kensington - six churches and some significant public works including the Royal Academy of Music and Golders Green Crematorium.

In this lecture, Hilary Grainger explores the larger country houses considered to be George’s metier and which formed the backbone of his practice. He designed over two dozen with Peto and seven with Yeates in addition to altering, restoring and adding to many others. Clients were drawn from a wide spectrum, the landed gentry, the professions, trade and industry, and the middle classes. George drew his inspiration from the romance of the past and his outstanding gift was to design properties that gave the impression of having been lived in by many generations, in which the ‘richness of accumulated experience from the large English mansion’ and the charm and romance of ‘olden days’ were combined with 'modern conveniences.’

Hilary J. Grainger is Professor Emerita of Architectural History at University of the Arts London and Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University. She is the acknowledged authority on the architecture of Sir Ernest George and the architecture of British crematoria. Her publications include, The Architecture of Sir Ernest George (2011), Death Redesigned: British Crematoria, History, Architecture and Landscape (2005) and most recently, Designs on Death: The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria (2020). She is Chair of the Victorian Society, Chair of the Cremation Society of Great Britain and President of the Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS).

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