The architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens

Line drawing of the Lutyens' head, Lutyens has a moustached and is wearing round glasses and a tie

Rothenstein sketch of Sir Edwin Lutyens
© estate of Sir William Rothenstein/
National Portrait Gallery
, London

Sir Edwin Lutyens was the greatest British architect of the early 20th century. He made his name with a series of grand Arts and Crafts country houses. These houses were based on traditional vernacular styles, using carefully textured local materials. They were informally composed, with dramatically steep roofs, gables and tall chimneys. Lutyens then moved towards a more classical and symmetrical style, inspired by English 17th and 18th century architecture.

In his later work, after about 1912, he designed public and commercial buildings in a monumental classical style, inspired by the Italian Renaissance but simplified to emphasize underlying geometrical form. His most famous later buildings include the Viceroy’s Residence, New Delhi; the Cenotaph, Whitehall; and the Memorial to the Missing, Thiepval, France.

Unlike the architects of the modern movement, Lutyens remained faithful to tradition. He believed in the universality of the classical language of architecture, which he adapted and reinvented with great subtlety and originality.