Darley, Gillian

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DARLEY, Gillian




Agent—Caroline Dawnay, Peters, Fraser & Dunlop Group Ltd., Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.


Journalist, leturer, and writer on architectural subjects and the history of English architecture and land use. Has appeared on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television and radio. Curator of museum exhibit "The Idea of the Village: An Illustrated Survey of the Planned Village," Architectural Association, London, 1976.


Villages of Vision, Architectural Press (London, England), 1975.

The National Trust Book of the Farm, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1981, Crescent Books (New York, NY), 1985.

Built in Britain, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1983.

(With Philippa Lewis) Dictionary of Ornament, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1986.

A Future for Farm Buildings, Save Britain's Heritage, 1988.

Octavia Hill: A Life, Constable (London, England), 1989.

(With Peter Hall and David Lock) Tomorrow's New Communities, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (York, England), 1991.

(With Andrew Saint) The Chronicles of London, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1994.

John Soane: An Accidental Romantic, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1999.

Factory (Objekt), Reaktion Books, 2003.

Contributor, Tony Rivers and Dan Cruickshank, editors, The Name of the Room: A History of the British House and Home, British Broadcasting Corporation (London, England), 1994. Contributor to newspapers and magazines, including Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, Architects's Journal, Architectural Review, and Country Life. Former architectural correspondent, Observer.


Gillian Darley is a British author and journalist who has been writing on architectural topics for more than a quarter of a century. Darley has contributed columns to such publications as the Financial Times and London Observer, and her interests range from buildings to planned communities to factories and farmlands. She has also written biographies of Octavia Hill and John Soane.

John Soane: An Accidental Romantic is Darley's best known work in the United States. Soane, who died in 1837, was a prominent architect in eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century England who bequeathed his home in Lincoln's Inn Fields to the government for use as a museum. Darley's biography makes use of Soane's papers and other memorabilia from the Lincoln's Inn Fields house, as well as correspondence and public papers on his extraordinary, and contentious, life. In his critique of the book for Architectural Review, Gavin Stamp called John Soane: An Accidental Romantic "a most illuminating and riveting portrait both of Soane …and of his changing and complicated times." Darley's biography covers all aspects of Soane's life, from his pioneering work and artistic vision to his domestic troubles and bouts of mental instability. New Republic contributor Martin Filler praised the work as "definitive," adding that it "is not only the finest life-and-works of an architect to appear in many years, it is also a character study of the utmost understanding. Darley's panoramic approach places Soane in his times with a cultural authority and a wealth of erudition rarely encountered in architectural writing today." New Criterion reviewer J. Duncan Berry wrote: "It is one of the great accomplishments of Gillian Darley's …biography that the full scope of Soane's life and works can be seen in exquisite detail, thus allowing a fresh perspective on this vexing figure and his ethereal aesthetic objectives."



Architectural Review, March, 2000, Gavin Stamp, review of John Soane: An Accidental Romantic, p. 96.

British Book News, February, 1982, G. E. Fussell, review of The National Trust Book of the Farm, p. 106.

Guardian (London, England), September 2, 2000, Vera Rule, review of John Soane: An Accidental Romantic, p. 11.

New Criterion, November, 1999, J. Duncan Berry, review of John Soane: An Accidental Romantic.

New Republic, February 7, 2000, Martin Filler, "On Architecture-Shafts of Light," p. 28.

New York Times Book Review, December 5, 1999, Martin Filler, review of John Soane: An Accidental Romantic, p. 40.

Observer, January 21, 1990, Penelope Fitzgerald, "The Poor of Paradise Place," p. 61.

Times Literary Supplement, March 12, 1976, David Watkin, "Worlds Apart," p. 281; November 5, 1999, David Watkin, "He Raised a Nest of Wasps," p. 12.*