Well, Sir Edwin Lutyens has made it onto Time Team!
I have to write something about that, from a Blacksmiths point of view of course….. we make and re-work many of his designs and participate in restoring and developing many of his buildings, its almost a specialty, we must have made more than any Designer Blacksmith , one order was over 500kg I seem to remember.
Lutyens used ironwork quite a bit on, or rather in his buildings, but not in the way you may think. It was always ironmongery and ordinary utility objects. Not grand Gates, Railings, Iron staircases, Lanterns, Signs etc. just all the little things that make life work, such as latches, hinges something to keep the door open. Like his buildings they got the job done…. looking familiar and homely.
Large Ironwork projects weren’t his thing, I can only recall two sets of Iron gates, one in India and his Remembrance Gates, the latter is good, but a Baroque pastiche, not what you’d expect from an Arts & Crafts designer. There were some lanterns I think on Hampton Court bridge, Baroque again, but with all that Jean Tijou stuff next door I guess he felt obliged to show it some love. There are a few designs for garden gates floating about, I’ve seen a few in real life, I very much doubt they are Edwin Lutyens designed, despite the owners claims.
He didn’t do outrageous, challenging or I dare say thought provoking work, I’m not sure if that was ever the Edwardian way? He was a safe pair of hands, in a brave new world, late nineteenth, early twentieth century was an exciting place for Great Britain, at that time everything was on the up and Britain was on top of the world. That is until WW1 (have you checked out our Warhorse article?), then the depression etc. but Lutyens soldiered on cutting his cloth to his starched suits. And he was prolific throughout. His success I believe was not far sighted artistic vision or an ego as big as a giant, gerkin (phallic, with nowhere to put your book shelf?). I think he genuinely wanted to embrace what we once had and still have, but make it better. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water mentality…….. and that’s one that I live by!
Being a local man (he was born in Thursley, Surrey, you know!), Lutyens worked a lot in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire and there’s a lot of residences that have his name on (and Gertrude Jeykll too). We have worked on and made Ironwork for many of them, either in our own name or for others. Folly Farm (Sulhamstead, Berks), Hascombe Court (Hascombe, Surrey), Goddards (Abinger, Surrey), Orchards (Bramley, Surrey), Sullingstead (Godalming, Surrey), Chinthurst Hill (Wonersh, Surrey) to name a few.
As a Blacksmith its great to reproduce Lutyens designs; they are honest and true, no tricks, just looking back to a time when things worked….. there was no space in the home, if they didn’t. I’m glad that Sir Edwin is getting some air time, because he was a great architect and designer, working hard for the client and giving the customer what they asked for, without burdening them with the nonsense that so often pools and boils about some of today’s Designer/Architectural types (some not all!)
There’s a smaller article on this site regarding Sir Edwin Lutyens Here’s the link! Enjoy.