Past Events

Sir John Summerson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock: Aspects of Architectural Historiography in the Twentieth Century


  • 11 to 12 June 2004
  • 9:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Public Study Room, Paul Mellon Centre

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art is collabornting with the American Society or Architectural Historians to organise this two-day international conference. Henry-Russell Hitchcock (born 1903) and Sir John Summerson(born 1904) were two of the greatest architectural historians writing in English in the century in which the discipline itself emerged and became established. This conference will consider the contributions or the two men to the construction or chronological periods and national characters in architecture as well as the construction or architects' creative identities. The involvement of Summerson and Hitchcock in the physical conservation and museological presentation of historical architecture will also be examined, especially in relation to their roles as apologists for the Modern Movement that dominated the practice of architecture when they were first writing and which led to intriguing tensions between their roles as critics and as historians. The conference will abo explore the attempts of both men to place Modernism into wider historical and cultural contexts, notably that of nineteenth century Romanticism. In addition to the two days of papers, there will be a private reception at Sir John Soane's Museum, London, on the evening of Friday 11th June. There will also be an opportunity for those attending to make a series of visits to buildings in London that were particularly meaningful to the two his torians, which will take place on Sunday 13th June.