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June 6, 2009

Lutyens, Sir Edwin (1869-1944)

Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) was one of the most important english architects of the early twentieth century. He was responsible for some outstanding domestic commission in England but his most important work was in India where he was responsible for the layout and planning of New Delhi. His most important building there was the Viceroy’s residence (1912-1931). After the First World War, he was responsible for many war memorials, including the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, and the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval in France. In Ireland, he designed the Islandbridge War Memorial in Dublin, as well as Howth and Lambay Castles in County Dublin.

While in Ireland, Lutyens was involved with Hugh Lane’s proposal to build a Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin. Several suggested designs were produced, including a colonnaded building on St Stephen’s Green opposite the Royal College of Surgeons. The most controversial design was a suggested ‘bridge gallery’ over the Liffey. This aroused much criticism, mostly from the Irish architectural journals complaining on the choice of a ‘foreign’ architect – even though Lutyen’s mother was Irish. This design took the form of two pavilions at either end with a columned pergola between over a three arched bridge. Eventually the idea foundered when Lane died in the sinking of the Lusitania.

After the Great War, his most important commissions in England were the Midland Bank, Poultry (1924-37) and the Catholic Cathedral, Liverpool which was only completed to crypt level.

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