Lutyens was born on March 29th 1869, at Kensington London, the tenth of thirteen children. Lutyens mother, Margaret Gallwey, was Irish, her family hailing from Killarney, Co. Kerry, though Margaret (who was known as Mary) was born in Ballincollig, Co. Cork, in 1833.
She married soldier and painter, Charles Lutyens, in Montreal in 1852, and Edwin was named after his father’s friend, the well known sculptor and painter, Edwin Henry Landseer. Despite the rather grand moniker of Edwin Landseer Lutyens, that would eventually be prefixed with a Knighthood Sir, it seems Edwin was popularly known as ‘Ned’. He was by most accounts a shy individual, but also had a reputation for his quick wit and high spirits.
Lutyens, who as a result of having suffered with rheumatic fever, overcame a lesser education than that of his siblings, to study at the Royal College of Art, in London. In 1887 he joined a firm of architects, but left shortly afterwards to set up his own practise. His early works deviated little from the traditional architecture of his immediate Surrey surroundings. But all of this would change when he met Gertrude Jekyll, who schooled him in the “simplicity of intention and directness of purpose” that she herself had learned from art critic, John Ruskin.
Munstead Wood, Godalming, Surrey, is the house where Lutyens first displayed his own style of architecture in 1896. So many of what would become Lutyens’ traits, were in evidence; such as a sweeping roof, buttressed chimneys, small doorways and long strips of windows. His collaboration with Jekyll on this project, was the beginning of a long and fruitful professional partnership, of which we have a truly fine example of at Heywood Gardens.
Jekyll was as influential and inspirational in the field of garden landscaping, as Lutyens was to the art of architecture, and their association with Heywood Gardens, is indeed to be cherished. And cherish it, we do! In 2019, the inaugural Twin Trees Heywood Festival, whilst celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Edwin Lutyens, will also remember the wonderful contribution of Gertrude Jekyll.
Lutyens after Heywood
Lutyens’ received a knighthood in 1918, was elected a Royal Academician in 1920, and a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1924, and his list of awards and recognitions include the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.
This list of works by Edwin Lutyens exceeds ‘impressively extensive’. The catalogue includes houses, gardens, public buildings and memorials. Lutyens’ War Memorials have become the conscious symbols of the folly of armed conflict. Of the many he designed, Lutyens’ Cenotaph at Whitehall, London, is perhaps the best known. The design can be simply described as a pylon of Portland stone, on a rectangular plan, yet it stands with utter majesty, as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of so many.
Lutyens is remembered for ‘imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era’. Architectural historian Gavin Stamp described him as “the greatest British architect of the twentieth (or of any other) century”, and English Heritage echoed the sentiment, identify him as “one of the greatest architects the country has ever produced”.
The works of Edwin Lutyens are appreciated, cherished and celebrated wherever they stand. In fact more than 500 of his creations have been placed on the National Heritage List for England.
Lutyens’ association with Ballinakill, has long been known in the realms of architectural and garden design appreciation. In 2019, in the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth, it is our mission to impress upon all visitors to Heywood Gardens, the calibre of this significant part of Lutyens’ legacy. .
The estate is steeped in history! We can name-drop Gandon, Jekyll and even Empress Elizabeth of Austria, who dined there, with M.F. Trench in 1879, but perhaps the greatest chapter of the story of the place, is that of Edwin Lutyens, and the garden he designed.
It is in that very garden, one of the last vestiges of a Heywood from a very different age, that we will celebrate Lutyens, the visionary, the architect, the man.
|Date of Birth||29th Mar 1869|
|Date of Death||1st Jan 1944|
|Associated Building (s)||Heywood House & Garden|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Margaret Gallwey|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Charles Lutyens|
|Irish Arts Review Yearbook, (1991/1992), pp. 95-98||Ireland|