E. W. Godwin

Aesthetic Movement Architect and Designer

Edited by Susan Weber Soros

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One of the great figures in nineteenth-century English architecture and design, E. W. Godwin (1833–1886) began his career as an architect, later turned to furniture design and decoration, and finally focused on Victorian theater, assuming the roles of costume designer, designer-manager, and critic. In the first section of this book, ten scholars examine Godwin’s multifaceted life and career, discussing his diverse contributions as a design reformer. The second section of the book presents a fully annotated selection of over 150 items that represent the formation and flowering of Godwin’s oeuvre.

Beginning with an overview of Godwin’s life, the book then examines the antiquarian and Japanese sources of his styles. Separate chapters discuss his architectural achievements, from early church restorations to the design of avant-garde house/studios; his contributions to design reform through writings as an architectural journalist; his role as an interior designer and the importance of furniture in his commissions; and the changing nature of the critical attention he received in life and after his death. In subsequent chapters, the contributors focus on particular products Godwin designed, his own work in the Victorian theater, and the achievements of his son, theatrical designer Edward Gordon Craig.

Susan Weber Soros is founder/director of the Bard Graduate Center.

"This comprehensive volume is the first ever to document and illustrate all aspects of Godwin's life as architect; then as designer of furniture, fabrics, ceramics, and wallpaper; and finally as costume designer, designer-manager, and critic of Victorian theater. . . . The book's large format, the extensive illustrations, and the comprehensive bibliographies promise to make this a key work on Godwin. It is highly recommended for all art and design collections and will be valuable to most large general collections."—Library Journal

"Godwin emerges as a prolific designer in a variety of media whose skill, although recognised, has not previously been adequately appreciated. This book remedies that failure and Godwin emerges as a person as well as a designer."—Richard Holder, Building Designer

"A fascinating picture emerges of this difficult polymath."—Interiors Refers to both books by Soros

"An important collection of essays covering the whole range of his activities in the arts. . . . Written by significant scholars, the text is very readable and is accompanied by a great many relevant illustrations. . . . Although there have been some small-scale studies of Godwin, nothing heretofore has captured the breadth and variety of his work or his full place in the aesthetic life of the 1860s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. Recommended for specialized libraries in art, architecture, and design history; it would also appeal to general readers interested in British 19th-century art and culture. General readers; graduate students through professionals."—Choice

"Magnificent . . . The definitive study of the man and his work."—Dan Cruickshank, Architects Journal

"This lavishly illustrated volume . . . shows a remarkable and sustained output and is a worth reappraisal of his multi-faceted gifts."—Geoffrey Lee, Historic House

"Soros’s two volumes bring together a great deal of information and many visual references, making them all infinitely more accessible to students, dealers and enthusiasts, while hopefully gaining a few new admirers for Godwin’s fan club."— Anne-Marie Stapleton, British Art Journal

"The first text in many years to evaluate the work of this artist in any comprehensive way. . . . While this new volume goes a long way in filling out the story of Godwin’s life and achievements, it is most successful at creating an image of Aesthetic Movement interests, ambitions, and concerns, which extend not only to Godwin’s work but to that of the circle in which he participated."—Deborah E.B. Weiner, Albion

"These books have done much to draw together the body of Godwin’s achievement and in so doing they point the way to further important areas for research: the professional and commercial network around Godwin; the role of women in Godwin’s life, in particular Ellen Terry and Beatrice Godwin; Godwin’s contribution to the dress reform movement; the role of the developing professional press; and in particular an appraisal of the extent and significance of Godwin’s legacy, in England, Scotland, and elsewhere."—Pamela Robertson, Victorian Studies Refers to both Soros’ books: The Secular Furniture of E.W. Godwin and E.W. Godwin: Aesthetic Movement Architect and Designer

Winner of the 2000 Philip C. Johnson Award given by the Society of Architectural Historians

Winner of the 2000 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award of the Art Libraries Society of North America

Winner of the 2000 Henry-Russel Hitchcock Award given by The Victorian Society in America
ISBN: 9780300080087
Publication Date: November 10, 1999
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Bard Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts, New York
432 pages, 8 7/8 x 12
Thomas Jeckyll

Architect and Designer, 1827–1881

Susan Weber Soros and Catherine Arbuthnott

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The Secular Furniture of E. W. Godwin

with Catalogue Raisonné

Susan Weber Soros

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James 'Athenian' Stuart

The Rediscovery of Antiquity

Susan Weber Soros

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The American Circus

Edited by Susan Weber, Kenneth Ames, and Matthew Wittmann

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History of Design

Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400–2000

Edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber

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William Kent

Designing Georgian Britain

Edited by Susan Weber

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