"Visual Planning and the Picturesque" by . Pevsner

Visual Planning and the Picturesque . Pevsner

Getty Publications - (Yale)
Publication date:
20 May 2010
Getty Publications
232 pages: 272 x 198 x 21mm
95 black & white illustrations; 95 black & white illustrations

This is a previously unpublished work by one of the most important architectural historians of the twentieth century. This previously unpublished work by Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983), one of the twentieth-century's most widely read scholars of art and architectural history, was begun in the mid-1940s. The unfinished manuscript is something of an anomaly in his vast oeuvre of writings in so far as it sought to complement the body of thought emerging in postwar Britain that was concerned with urban design, generally referred to as 'Townscape'. As assembled and annotated here, "Visual Planning and the Picturesque" comprises three parts. The first analyses English planning tradition before 1800. The second surveys English planning theory or, by Pevsner's description, the theory of the picturesque. The third part is essentially a meditation on how this tradition and this theory shaped architecture and urban planning in England in the 19th century and, potentially, the 20th as well. The work as a whole is a surprisingly fresh plea for a visual approach to urban design and common sense in architecture, one that sought to incorporate and mediate rather than idealize and exclude.

Nikolaus Pevsner was a German-born British scholar of the history of art and architecture best known for his forty-six volume series of county architecture guides, The Buildings of England (1951-1974). Matthew Aitchison is a lecturer in architecture and urban design at Queen's University Belfast.