Webb, Sir Aston

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Webb, Sir Aston (1849–1930). English architect. From 1882 he was in partnership with Edward Ingress Bell (1837–1914). The practice was one of the most prolific and successful of the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods, although the work relied more on bold effects than on refinement of detail. Stylistically, Webb favoured François Ier early in his career, but later mixed Byzantine and Gothic, Renaissance and Italianate, and Palladianism with Baroque. Among his works were the Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham (1885–91), the French Protestant Church, Soho Square, London (1891–3), the astonishing Jacobean Revival house, Yeaton Pevery, near Baschurch, Salop. (1890–2), Christ's Hospital, Horsham, Sussex (1893–1904), and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon (1897–1905), the last two in a Wrenaissance style. His free eclecticism is perhaps best expressed by the Byzantine Gothic buildings at the University of Birmingham (1901–9) and the Gothic Venetian François Ier Renaissance Romanesque mix at the main front of the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington (1899–1903). Webb made a major contribution to urban design with his Queen Victoria Memorial scheme, London (1901): this involved widening and replanting The Mall to make it resemble a grand Beaux-Arts boulevard, building the Admiralty Arch (1903–10) on a site between Trafalgar Square and The Mall, and re-fronting Buckingham Palace (1912–13) in a Louis Seize style as an appropriate termination of The Mall behind the huge Baroque pile-up of the Queen Victoria monument itself, designed (1904) by (Sir) Thomas Brock (1847–1922) and built 1906–24 (the rond-point and architectural elements were designed by Webb). One of his best essays in Classicism was the Royal College of Science, Dublin (1906— with Thomas Manby Deane (1851–1933) ).

Bibliography

Dungavell (1999);
A. S. Gray (1985);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Service (1977)