Drawings from Banister Fletcher

The new exhibition in the Well features drawings from Banister Fletcher.

Sir Banister Fletcher’s ‘History of Architecture on the Comparative Method’ was first published in 1896.  It quickly became the standard history of architecture in English speaking countries and was required reading for all students  of architecture for many years.  The book was revised and updated at regular intervals, gradually incorporating modernist architecture and looking beyond the European tradition that had been the initial focus.  The twentieth edition was substantially revised by Dan Cruickshank to mark the book’s centenary in 1996.

At the heart of the book was a series of beautifully hand drawn, full page illustrations that provided condensed summaries of the different architectural styles and construction methods.  Large reprints of these drawings were also produced as ‘lecture diagrams’ to be used in schools of architecture in the days before slide or data projectors.  A forgotten set of these diagrams was uncovered during our move back from Crookesmoor.

In addition to explaining the history of architecture, the drawings are often exquisitely laid out, demonstrating how to combine a series of different projections and scales within a single, well composed drawing.  They are also worth studying for the different styles of freehand lettering that are used throughout the drawings, a skill that has almost completely disappeared!

The exhibition will run in the Well on floor 16, until Monday 7 November.