> Skip to content
Edwin Lutyens
  • Published: 15 March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780712668224
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $65.00

Edwin Lutyens

His Life, His Wife, His Work



'The stature of Edwin Lutyens as an artist is beyond dispute; what remains tantalising is the psychology of that extraordinary man. Jane Ridley analyses his character and investigates his misdemeanours and the tragedy of his marriage with unsentimental acuity to create a compelling new biography of Britain's greatest architect.' Gavin Stamp

The work of Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) includes the Cenotaph in Whitehall, much of Imperial New Delhi and especially his masterpiece, Viceroy's House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan), Queen Mary's dolls' house and Hampstead Garden Suburb. But his greatest heritage is the traditional Edwardian country house, an architectural style he made his own, using local materials and often working with Gertrude Jekyll who planted the gardens for his family homes. This is a full biography of a witty, complex personality, a man who had little formal education, who loved jokes and hated growing up. It is also a portrait of an extraordinary marriage. His wife, Emily, fell in love with Krishnamurti, 21 years her junior and believed to be the reincarnation of a god, and she thereafter spent her time and her husband's money promoting Theosophy, a Hindu-inspired cult. Lutyens's failure to find a common language with Emily possibly drove him to achieve the remarkable communication through the language of architecture which characterises his best work.

  • Published: 15 March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780712668224
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $65.00

About the author

Jane Ridley

Jane Ridley is Professor of History at Buckingham University, where she teaches a course on biography. Her books include The Young Disraeli, acclaimed by Robert Blake as definitive; and a highly praised study of the architect Edwin Lutyens and his relationship with his troubled wife, which won the Duff Cooper Prize in 2003. Her most recent biography, Bertie: A Life of Edward VII was a Sunday Times bestseller and one of the most critically acclaimed books of its year. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Ridley writes book reviews for the Spectator and other newspapers, and has also appeared on radio and several television documentaries. She lives in London and Scotland.

Also by Jane Ridley

See all

Praise for Edwin Lutyens

The stature of Edwin Lutyens as an artist is beyond dispute; what remains tantalising is the psychology of that extraordinary man. Jane Ridley analyses his character and investigates his misdemeanours and the tragedy of his marriage with unsentimental acuity to create a compelling new biography of Britain's greatest architect

Gavin Stamp

Jane Ridley's picture of the times is engrossingly full. Her story moves fast, the detail is well chosen, the architectural writing vigorous...a rich and enjoyable book

Jan Dalley, Financial Times

Her remorselessly intelligent take on Lutyens is strangely uplifting...a beguilingly obdurate love story...What a complex man, what an architect - and what a good book

Jay Merrick, Independent

This is an outstandingly good book, the best biography of an architect that I, at least, have ever read and as sad a story as Ford's The Good Soldier

Christopher Woodward, Spectator

Jane Ridely makes us admire his passion, his education, his dedication, his integrity. This is a truly excellent biography, sympathetic but not uncritical, always interesting and at times absolutely gripping

Lynn Barber, New Statesman

Related titles