Beyond Ruskin: Arnoldian themes in William Lethaby's concpetion of architecture

van der Plaat, Deborah (1999). Beyond Ruskin: Arnoldian themes in William Lethaby's concpetion of architecture. In: Blythe, Richard and Spence, Rory, Thresholds: Papers of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australian and New Zealand. 16th annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Launceston and Hobart, Tasmania, (359-365). 28 September - 1 October, 1999.

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Author van der Plaat, Deborah
Title of paper Beyond Ruskin: Arnoldian themes in William Lethaby's concpetion of architecture
Conference name 16th annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand
Conference location Launceston and Hobart, Tasmania
Conference dates 28 September - 1 October, 1999
Proceedings title Thresholds: Papers of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australian and New Zealand
Publication Year 1999
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 0859018539
Editor Blythe, Richard
Spence, Rory
Start page 359
End page 365
Total pages 7
Abstract/Summary The theoretical doctrines of the late nineteenth century British architect, William Richard Lethaby, like those of the Arts and Crafts in general, are often interpreted as being Ruskinian in content. Ample evidence of a Ruskinian position can be found within Lethaby' s writings. However his celebration of the material and structural properties of the artefact and his desire for a modem science of building fail to conform to the Ruskinian notion that the sole element, which raised any made thing to a fine art, was the 'expression of the mind.' The presence of both Ruskinian and non- Ruskinian themes in Letbaby's writings has been cited as evidence of non-systematic thinking on Lethaby' s behalf, one which points to two seemingly contradictory Lethaby's; 'one celebrating the idea of 'humanity in workmanship: ' the other demanding a ' perfect science of modern design’. I will argue in this paper that Lethaby never intended these two seemingly divergent concerns to be seen as separate and distinct, but rather as equitable components within the architectural equation. His earliest major architectural treatise , Architecture, Mysticism and Myth (1891), in which the artefact is presented as the product of both a subject and object orientated world view, demonstrates this belief." Lethaby's adherence to such a position documents his departure from the theoretical concerns of Ruskin. It also points to affinities with Matthew Arnold' s critique of mid-nineteenth century British culture presented in his 1869 text Culture and Anarchy. The significance of such themes in Lethaby ' s writings, a central theorist of the second generation of the English Arts & Crafts movement, has yet to be considered.
Subjects 120103 Architectural History and Theory
Keyword William Lethaby
Arts and Crafts
John Ruskin
Matthew Arnold
Architecture - history
Nineteenth century architecture
Cultural critique
Disciplinarity
Imagination
Architecture
Mysticism and Myth
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

 
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Created: Tue, 24 Aug 2010, 10:22:47 EST by Mr Andrew Steen on behalf of School of Architecture