English architect in Spain: five projects by Edwin Lutyens
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Although the work of Edwin Lutyens has received much careful scholarly study since the 1980s his important projects in Spain remain very little known. Presently, only a brief article by Gavin Stamp and Margaret Richardson is devoted solely to Lutyens' work, and they are merely touched on in his published biographies, especially that by Christopher Hussey. Unfortunately, Lutyens was unable to complete his Spanish commissions, mostly because of the deterioration of Spain’s economy and social order in the 1930s, and this has played a major role in keeping these projects in the dark. Furthermore, the devastation caused by the Civil War obliterated most of the evidence once held in Spanish archives. Some of the projects of Edwin Lutyens in Spain are remarkable and unique for their use of what may loosely be termed a ‘Spanish style’. The identification of this characteristic can be understood as demonstrating a growing knowledge of and appreciation for Spanish architectural heritage on the part of British architects and architectural historians by the end of the nineteenth century. At the same time, the fact that the design of important private residences in Spain were commissioned to an English architect shows the growing anglophilia of Spanish economic and political elites under Alfonso XIII's reign. During these years, the economic and political ties between Britain and Spain became closer than ever before, which also had an impact on the architecture of the time. Ultimately, this dissertation is predicated on the assumption that it is important to study further, and understand better, the Spanish projects of Edwin Lutyens in order to gain fuller and further insight into his methods as a designer. The first three of them (the first project of the Palace of El Guadalperal, the Palace of La Ventosilla and the Palace for the Count de la Cimera) cast light on Lutyens´s work during the Great War years, a relatively obscure period of his career which was, however, extraordinarily fruitful. The second project for the Palace of El Guadalperal is even larger than his previous Spanish projects, approaching the grandeur and magnificence of the Viceroy’s House in Delhi. In this respect there may be seen to be a correspondence between these otherwise discrete and apparently un-related projects, running from Britain, through Spain, all the way to India. Moreover, given their scale, along with the design input required to make them successful and coherent buildings, they must be appreciated as pivotal moments in the design development, if not built oeuvre, of Edwin Lutyens as an architect. Finally, the Reconstruction of Liria Palace, is not only his last commission in Spain but it can also be considered as the last building he designed. Only when these projects are brought to the fore and analysed properly can a full understanding of Lutyens as an architect be reached.