Chapter 1: Introduction: reappraising the Neo-Georgian

McKellar, Elizabeth and Holder, Julian (2016). Chapter 1: Introduction: reappraising the Neo-Georgian. In: McKellar, Elizabeth and Holder, Julian eds. Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal. Swindon, UK: Historic England, pp. 1–12.



Neo-Georgian was one of the most important architectural styles of the late 19th and 20th centuries across the entire English-speaking world. With its roots in the Arts and Crafts Movement and the subsequent ‘Wrennaissance’ it embodied what was termed ‘the architecture of good manners.’ It displayed authority without being authoritative, was ubiquitous and yet understated. This is the first collection of essays on this important and over-looked topic by fifteen well-known experts. They examine how, where, when and why the Neo-Georgian was represented over the course of the last century. They explore the construction, reception and historiography of the style, including its vilification and complex relationship with Modernism. Significant 20th century British architects such as Sir Edwin Lutyens, Emmanuel Vincent Harris, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and C.H. James are discussed, some for the first time. The essays range across a variety of buildings types to cover not just the better-known domestic houses but also banks, post offices, universities and town halls. The book covers not only British examples but also global ones as reinterpretations and adaptations of Georgian architecture have been a constant theme over the past century in Anglophile culture worldwide. This well-illustrated book finally opens the door on this most readily identified and popular form of architecture and begins the long overdue process of its scholarly re-evaluation.

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