Coventry Cathedral: Art and Architecture in Post-War Britain

By Louise Campbell | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I owe a considerable debt of gratitude to many people who have helped in various ways in the preparation of this book.

First and foremost I should like to thank Anthony Blee for his great generosity in allowing me access to material in his care and for discussing with me many aspects of the design of Coventry Cathedral, a building which has played such an important part in the life of his family. His lucid analysis of the subtleties of its design gave me an insight into the way in which this complex and superbly crafted building was conceived and created. I am also extremely grateful to the artists, designers, and architects involved in the building of Coventry Cathedral -- and in the competition of 1950-1 -- who responded readily and enthusiastically to my requests for information. In particular I should like to thank Ralph Beyer, Lawrence Lee, Keith New, Geoffrey Clarke, Margaret Traherne, Steven Sykes, the late John Piper, Patrick Reyntiens, Roger Button, the late Alison Smithson, Colin St John Wilson, the late E. A. S. Houfe, and Frank Tischler. John Hutton's widow Marigold has taken a lively interest in the project and has been generous with information and the loan of material.

Kate Eustace, then curator of the Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick, bravely agreed to hold an exhibition of designs and drawings for Coventry Cathedral at the gallery in 1987. That exhibition was the starting point for this book. The burden of organizing and coordinating the exhibition. fell on her shoulders, and I am grateful to her for this and for the contributions she made to the exhibition catalogue. For the same exhibition, William Bradford undertook research on Sutherland's studies for the tapestry, establishing a convincing chronology for the surviving cartoons and studies. I am indebted to his meticulous scholarship.

On a visit to Edinburgh, I was greatly helped by the late Esmé Gordon, the late Alan Reiach, William Dey, and Ian Gow. I am grateful to Graham Buchanan-Dunlop, Lady Erskine-Hill, Caroline MacGregor, Ronald Sutherland, Joe Helszajn, and Richard Ewing for their hospitality.

At Warwick, my colleagues Michael Rosenthal and Julian Gardner have done their best to provide a stimulating and civilized environment in which to think and work. I am grateful for their support over a long period. Tony Mason and Nick Tiratsoo have been generous with information and ideas. A generation of students provided intellectual stimulus; I owe much to the sharp eyes and critical intelligence of Simon Jary, Jill Husselby, Bill Reid, and Sallie Richards.

Others who have helped in different ways are Ron Aquilla Clarke, Rob Gill, Thomas Bunn, the late Very Rev. H. C. N. Williams, David Mead, and Canon Michael Sadgrove. John Rathbone and Connie Downes have been enormously helpful in locating material in the cathedral archives.

The British Academy awarded me a small personal research grant in 1989 to visit and photograph twentieth-century churches in France and Switzerland. The University of Warwick has been generous with study leave and with grants to facilitate my research; its Publications Fund has made a contribution towards the cost of obtaining illustrations.

-v-

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Coventry Cathedral: Art and Architecture in Post-War Britain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Color Plates ix
  • LIST OF BLACK AND WHITE PLATES xi
  • Abbreviations xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I. Architecture and Politics 5
  • 1 The Cathedral and the City: The Blitz, Civic Ideology And Reconstruction 7
  • 2 The Cathedral Project 1940-1947 22
  • 3 'towards a New Cathedral'? 37
  • Part II. The Creative Process 69
  • 4 Modernism and Tradition: The Genesis of Spence's Competition Design 71
  • 5 The Competition Design Refined, 1951-1954 81
  • 6 The Architect and the Artist 102
  • Part III. Design into Building 131
  • 7 The Licence to Build, 1954 133
  • 8 The Turning-Point, 1954-1956 141
  • 9 The Design Recast, 1956-1958 148
  • Pa IV. For and Function 193
  • 10 The Modern Church 195
  • 11 Provost and Architect 206
  • 12 The Cathedral Completed, 1960-1962 216
  • 13 The Cathedral and the Post-War World: Austerity and Triumphalism 243
  • Conclusion 254
  • APPENDIX: DONATIONS 276
  • Bibliography 278
  • Index 283
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