Saturday, 3 August 2013

Sir Albert Richardson PRA (1880 - 1964)

September's issue of 'World of Interiors has a interesting feature on the home of Sir Albert Richardson, in the English market town of Ampthill, Bedfordshire.  Sharp eyed readers will recall he added a wing, or two, to Anglesey Abbey for Lord Fairhaven - did I tell you the bf now works there?  Sir Albert, or 'The Professor', was a leading 20th century classical architect in Britain.  He was also professor of architecture at the Royal Academy - hence the nickname.  He was also an eccentric (occasionally wearing powdered wigs and riding around Ampthill in a sedan chair), and was also an avid collector with a real eye.  His house, a large red-brick Georgian townhouse is stuffed full of lovely things.  Queen Mary and John Fowler (of 'Colefax and Fowler') were appreciative visitors.  As the interior has not been re-decorated for decades it is wonderfully illustrative of a type of  mid-century English taste - one I'm very comfortable with, though personally I prefer a stronger colour palette in the manner of David Hicks.  Richardson said of the house: "My house is my yardstick! [ ] It is my measuring scale by which I contemplate the past and assess the future."  He certainly excluded, as far as possible, rapacious modernity.  It is striking that there are, as far as I can tell, no twentieth century artists represented on the walls, not even artists such as Maur Griggs, Meredith Frampton, Laura Knight or Edward Seago who I would have thought would pass muster.  There is a similarity in that rejection of the modern world with the subject of another article in September IoW, George Upwell, the Norfolk potter.  Not a similarity at first apparent.
As with all things, the collection and the other contents of the house are now to be auctioned (the WoI article makes for a fine record of Sir Albert's domestic achievement).  There are two sales.  The first, the 'Collection', in September will be at Christies in London (King St, September 17th & 18th); the second, the 'Residual sale', will be in November (Nov 14th) at Cheffins in Cambridge.

No comments:

Post a Comment