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Fog has no memory

Jonathan Meades: Postwar Colour(lessness), 19 July 2018

The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Postwar Britain 
by Lynda Nead.
Yale, 416 pp., £35, October 2017, 978 0 300 21460 4
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... Exhibition. Its gaudy vulgarity appalled such aesthetes as William Morris and, retrospectively, Nikolaus Pevsner, who wrote of Victorian manufacture’s ‘rank growth’. Dickens was true neither to life nor to his age. He was a cartoonist rather than a documentarist – not that the veracity of documentarists is to be trusted any more than that of ...

Impervious to Draughts

Rosemary Hill: Das englische Haus, 22 May 2008

The English House 
by Hermann Muthesius, edited by Dennis Sharp, translated by Janet Seligman and Stewart Spencer.
Frances Lincoln, 699 pp., £125, June 2007, 978 0 7112 2688 3
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... made its way back to England, brought by books and magazines and later by refugees, including Nikolaus Pevsner. Probably nobody had cared so much or so constructively about English architecture since Muthesius himself and in 1979, with Pevsner’s support and encouragement, the first volume of Das englische Haus ...

Against Michelangelo

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Pinecone’, 11 October 2012

The Pinecone 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 332 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 571 26950 1
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... their gratitude for the many gifts and favours that they had received from her’. Otherwise, as Nikolaus Pevsner noted in 1967, she was soon ‘except strictly locally, entirely forgotten’. That Pevsner should have regretted this fact and wanted to know more, is an indication of how different, peculiar and elusive ...

Owning Mayfair

David Cannadine, 2 April 1981

Survey of London. Vol. 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2. The Buildings 
edited by F.H.W. Sheppard.
Athlone, 428 pp., £55, August 1980, 0 485 48240 1
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... does for Westminster’s MPs. Had Sir Lewis Namier been endowed with the interests of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, he might have written just this sort of book. As a result, it is more something to be dipped into than to be read at a sitting, a work of reference and information rather than of narrative and interpretation. Utilising every possible visual ...

Hugh Dalton to the rescue

Keith Thomas, 13 November 1997

The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 523 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 300 06703 8
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Ancient as the Hills 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 7195 5596 5
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The Fate of the English Country House 
by David Littlejohn.
Oxford, 344 pp., £20, May 1997, 9780195088762
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... of the aesthetic and historical interest of old houses, to which the work of scholars like Nikolaus Pevsner, John Summerson and Howard Colvin vastly contributed. It took off in the Seventies, when the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition, The Destruction of the Country House (1974), was followed by a new system giving owners protection from ...

Toshie Trashed

Gavin Stamp: The Glasgow School of Art Fire, 19 June 2014

... modern architecture”.’ In 1936, in the first edition of his Pioneers of the Modern Movement, Nikolaus Pevsner wrote that in Glasgow ‘there worked one of the most imaginative and brilliant of all young European architects, and at the same time one of the originators of the Art Nouveau’, adding that Mackintosh’s later work showed him ‘as the ...

Stepping Stone to the New Times

Christopher Turner: Bauhaus, 5 July 2012

Bauhaus: Art as Life 
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... under his leadership the institution became more of a trade school. ‘It had a different soul,’ Nikolaus Pevsner said of Meyer’s impact. ‘In came a severer geometry.’ In 1930, Fritz Hesse dismissed Meyer because of his uncompromising communism. With the onset of the Great Depression and the rise of the Nazis, the school appeared an unaffordable ...

Down with Cosmopolitanism

Gillian Darley, 18 May 2000

Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman v. Pevsner 
by Timothy Mowl.
Murray, 182 pp., £14.99, March 2000, 9780719559099
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... bitter. How ironic, in view of later developments and the argument of Timothy Mowl’s book, that Nikolaus Pevsner’s first visit to England, in 1930, was to research a new topic: Englishness in art. For all its claims to be polemical, from the typographically ingenious dust-jacket inwards, Stylistic Cold Wars is little more than an architectural ...

On and off the High Road

Tim Parks: Anglomania in Europe, 27 May 1999

Voltaire's Coconuts 
by Ian Buruma.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £18.99, March 1999, 0 297 64312 6
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... He introduces us to a cast of prominent Europeans from Voltaire and Goethe in the 18th century to Nikolaus Pevsner and Isaiah Berlin in the 20th, with the central (and best) chapters dedicated to the revolutionaries and dreamers of the mid-19th century, so many of whom were to find themselves obliged to flee to London’s safe, if perplexingly ...

Brideshead and the Tower Blocks

Patrick Wright, 2 June 1988

Home: A Short History of an Idea 
by Witold Rybczynski.
Heinemann, 256 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 434 14292 1
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... planning which run close to the heart of Labour’s post-war endeavour. But now that the stricken Nikolaus Pevsner has been whipped round the country on a second tour of the ‘Buildings of England’ – this one focused on the monstrous post-war edifices which have been thrown up alongside those fine traditional buildings which have somehow survived ...

Seeing through Fuller

Nicholas Penny, 30 March 1989

Theoria: Art and the Absence of Grace 
by Peter Fuller.
Chatto, 260 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 7011 2942 5
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Seeing through Berger 
by Peter Fuller.
Claridge, 176 pp., £8.95, November 1988, 1 870626 75 3
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Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain. Vol. IX: Since the Second World War 
edited by Boris Ford.
Cambridge, 369 pp., £19.50, November 1988, 0 521 32765 2
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Ruskin’s Myths 
by Dinah Birch.
Oxford, 212 pp., £22.50, August 1988, 9780198128724
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The Sun is God: Painting, Literature and Mythology in the 19th Century 
edited by J.B. Bullen.
Oxford, 230 pp., £27.50, March 1989, 0 19 812884 3
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Artisans and Architects: The Ruskinian Tradition in Architectural Thought 
by Mark Swenarton.
Macmillan, 239 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 333 46460 5
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... of Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and the like ‘was closer to that of Maurice Cowling than to Nikolaus Pevsner’. It’s as if a boy had supposed that, because one of his schoolmasters won a medal in the war, he must have been a hero whose exploits were familiar to all adults. Peter Fuller was an undergraduate at Peterhouse where Cowling is a ...

As God Intended

Rosemary Hill: Capability Brown, 5 January 2012

The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown 1716-83 
by Jane Brown.
Chatto, 384 pp., £20, March 2011, 978 0 7011 8212 0
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... in reclaiming canals and, in 1955, the Reith Lectures on The Englishness of English Art, in which Nikolaus Pevsner lit on the picturesque as a living tradition and one that might be the salvation of modern town planning. By 1993, Brown was well enough remembered to be satirised again. Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia dusts down some of Peacock’s better ...

A Young Woman Who Was Meant to Kill Herself

Jeremy Harding: Charlotte Salomon, 8 March 2018

Life? Or Theatre? 
by Charlotte Salomon.
Duckworth, 840 pp., £125, September 2017, 978 1 715 65247 0
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Charlotte 
by David Foenkinos, translated by Sam Taylor.
Canongate, 224 pp., £8.99, January 2018, 978 1 78211 796 4
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Charlotte Salomon and the Theatre of Memory 
by Griselda Pollock.
Yale, 542 pp., £45, March 2018, 978 0 300 10072 3
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Charlotte Salomon: ‘Life? Or Theatre?’ A Selection of 450 Gouaches 
by Judith Belinfante and Evelyn Benesch.
Taschen, 599 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 3 8365 7077 0
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... when she entered? Blithe in denial? Tense and tight-lipped? At the Royal Society of Arts in 1936 Nikolaus Pevsner assured his audience that the Berlin Schools had the edge over the Bauhaus. By then the director, Bruno Paul, had already been dismissed. In 1937 the Nazis staged the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich. (Salomon, David Foenkinos imagines in ...

Moderns and Masons

Peter Burke, 2 April 1981

The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century 
by Joseph Rykwert.
M.I.T., 585 pp., £27.50, September 1980, 0 262 18090 1
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... the intentions of architects are remarkably hard to pin down. The limitations of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s famous Outline of European Architecture (1943) illustrate the difficulty. So illuminating in other respects, the book is less than satisfactory in its treatment of buildings as expressions of ‘Western Civilisation’. It communicates a ...

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