Journal Article

The Architect and the ‘Arch-Pedant’: Sadie Speight, Nikolaus Pevsner and ‘Design Review’

Jill Seddon

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 20, issue 1, pages 29-41
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epl040
The Architect and the ‘Arch-Pedant’: Sadie Speight, Nikolaus Pevsner and ‘Design Review’

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In 1943, The Architectural Review decided to formalize its approach to contemporary design by introducing a regular ‘Design Review’ section, which ran from 1944 until 1946. As one of the principal editors, Nikolaus Pevsner asked the architect and industrial designer Sadie Speight to compile these features, thereby initiating a working relationship that was difficult as well as fruitful. Drawing upon a hitherto overlooked collection of letters between them, this article offers a significant case study for understanding in detail the process of design journalism in post-war Britain. The Speight/Pevsner correspondence provides the opportunity for an examination of a gender-inflected professional relationship between two important commentators on post-war design and illuminates their positions as advocates of modernism in Britain in relation to the stance of The Architectural Review. It demonstrates the potential of this material as a contribution to contemporary design historical debates concerning gender, consumption and the dissemination of modernism.

Keywords: design; design journalism; gender; letters; modernism; professionalism

Journal Article.  8226 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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