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Sir Basil Urwin Spence

November 19, 2011 2 comments

A bit of a picture gallery today of some drawings of one of our most respected, but stubbonly unfashionable architects.

I’ve been a fan of Basil Spence’s work for many years now. It all started for me with Coventry Cathedral, probably my favorite building in the whole country. This supremely elegant and inspiring structure was certainly the pinnacle of his long career, which spanned nearly 50 years and included a wide range of finished and unfinished projects such as shools, social and private housing schemes, civic buildings, army buildings and of course places of worship.

Spence’s ability not only as an architect, but as an artist was central to his success. In his youth he seemingly won all the scholarships and drawing prizes that he entrered, producing some truly striking images. His style developed over time, and his later better known images, usually carried out in watercolour or pastels & chalks are powerful and persuasive with big skies and an immediately recognisable style.

I very much like this image of him from 1950. Looking much older than his 43 years, but with his rather fine moustache and dapper suit, it depicts a man confident in both his own ability and the promises of the future of Architecture…

If you’d like to see or know more, an excellent Wallpaper feature about the Spence Archicves at the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments Scotland can be found here and a website dedicated to the great man himself is here

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