William Richard Lethaby

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Lethaby, William Richard (1857–1931). English architect, educator, and theorist. He trained with Norman Shaw before establishing his own office (1889). Influenced by William Morris, Ruskin, and Philip Webb, he was an important figure in the Arts-and-Crafts movement, being a founder-member of the Art-Workers' Guild (1884). He built in a Free style, not without historical references, and among his houses are Avon Tyrrell, Christchurch, Hants. (1891–2), High Coxlease, Lyndhurst, Hants. (1898), and the fine Melsetter, Hoy, Orkney (1898–1900). His All Saints' Church, Brockhampton, Herefs. (1901–2), while having Gothic allusions, is a free Arts-and-Crafts interpretation of church architecture of great beauty, while the Eagle Insurance Building, Colmore Row, Birmingham (1899–1900), shows Webb's influence, although it is boldly personal.

Lethaby helped to found the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London (1894), and was its first Principal. It was the earliest such school to have craft-teaching facilities and workshops. He was a leading member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and wrote several books including Architecture, Mysticism, and Myth (1892), Mediaeval Art (1904), Architecture (1912), Form in Civilization (1922), and Westminster Abbey (1906, 1925).

Bibliography

Backemeyer & Gronberg (eds.) (1984);
Garnham (1994);
A. S. Gray (1985);
Hitchcock (1977);
Lethaby (1935);
H. Muthesius (1979);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Rubens (1986)

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William Richard Lethaby (lĕth´əbē), 1857–1931, English architect. He was a founder and first principal (1893–1911) of the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts, and professor of design at the Royal College of Art. He was also an influential writer on architectural subjects. Besides his important books Greek Buildings (1908), Mediaeval Art (1912), and Architecture (1912), he contributed to many periodicals.

See his Form in Civilization (with foreword by L. Mumford, 1957).

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