French Architecture and its Relation to Modern Practice

Blomfield, Reginald. French Architecture and its Relation to Modern Practice. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927.

Nostalgia defines this the third title in our French architecture series from the pen of Sir Reginal Blomfield. An English gentlemen, architect and scholar, Blomfield extends his considerable experience beyond the bounds of academic contribution and into the realm of criticism to celebrate purity and order in architectural design. His romanticized yearnings locate a peak in French Architectural achievement, one that slowly erodes “in the shallows and quicksands of Viollet le Duc’s medieval travesties.” This 21-page manifesto includes other such vitriolic gems extolling, by nation, the undesirable idiosyncrasies of modernist experimentation happening throughout the continent. At times, Blomfield betrays a chauvinism born not out of a natural proclivity toward racial superiority but rather emerging out of his own quintessential Englishness, a celebration of the exquisiteness of his own citizenship. And in his nationalist reverence for the past and even pastness, he recalls the Scholar Gypsy, who witnesses “this strange disease of modern life” as it “Still nurs[es] the unconquerable hope, Still clutch[es] the inviolable shade.”

Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 B5