Sir Edwin Lutyens Biography

Sir Edwin Lutyens: A Master of British Architecture

Sir Edwin Lutyens, a renowned British architect, was celebrated for his masterful blend of function and artistry. His prolific career spanned an array of country houses, commercial buildings, monuments, and his crowning achievement, the Viceroy's House in New Delhi. Lutyens won the commission to build a new capital for the British Empire in India, aspiring to create a garden city with ample room for expansion. His influence deeply resonates throughout New Delhi, now the capital of the world’s largest democracy and one of the most successful planned cities of the 20th century. Lutyens even altered the city's location after the foundation stone was laid by King George V.

Early Influences and Personal Style

In his early career, Lutyens was significantly influenced by The Arts and Crafts Movement, later incorporating classical styles. He developed a distinctive style, especially in architecture, lighting, and furniture, referencing the English tradition of furniture making. Unfortunately, very little of Lutyens' interiors or furniture survives today.

Personal Life and Professional Partnerships

Lutyens, the son of a painter, married Emily Lytton, daughter of Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India. Despite their marriage producing five children, it was not considered a great success. Lutyens found a lifelong friendship with Gertrude Jekyll, the preeminent garden designer of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Their partnership significantly influenced the link between architecture and garden design. Lutyens was known for his whimsical sense of humor, enjoying a close relationship with Jekyll and affectionately nicknaming each other 'Nedi' and 'Bumps.'

Influential Connections and Legacy

Lady Sackville, another significant figure in Lutyens' life, introduced him to high-society clients, and it is speculated that they may have been lovers. A lifelong smoker, Lutyens passed away from cancer in 1944, leaving behind a legacy as one of the great architects and craftsmen of his time.

Researched and written by Tony Geering.