Summerson and Hitchcock:
Centenary Essays on Architectural Historiography

Frank Salmon

Studies in British Art
Publicaton Date
May 2006
Standard Number
Yale University Press
256 pages

In this volume, twenty international scholars explore the work of two of the twentieth century’s greatest architectural historians: the American Henry-Russell Hitchcock (1903–1987) and the Englishman Sir John Summerson (1904–1992). Both men undertook architectural training and became key polemical figures in the establishment of Modernism in the 1930s. After the war, and especially in the 1950s, both turned more exclusively to historical research and writing. While their areas of interest overlapped, their approaches greatly differed.

The contributors to the book investigate the work and methodologies of Summerson and Hitchcock, from their interests in the Northern European (as opposed to Italian) Renaissance, through their studies of the nineteenth century as a precursor to their own times, to their involvement in contemporary issues of design and conservation. The book enhances our understanding of the influences that shaped these two important figures and of the place of architecture within the social and cultural environment.