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Nikolaus Pevsner

From Academic Kids

Nikolaus Pevsner (January 30, 1902August 18, 1983) was a German-born British historian of art and, especially, architecture.

The son of a Jewish merchant, Pevsner was born in Leipzig, Saxony. He studied art history at the Universities of Leipzig, Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt/Main in Germany (PhD 1924), worked at the Dresden Gallery (1924-28) and taught at Göttingen University (1929-33). In 1934, he moved to England to escape Nazism and taught at London, Oxford, and Cambridge Universities.

He is best known for his 46-volume series of county-by-county guides, The Buildings of England (1951-74), one of the great achievements of 20th-century art scholarship.

Pevsner conceived and edited the Pelican History of Art series (1953- ), many individual volumes of which are regarded as classics.

He died in London.

Contents

Selected bibliography

  • Academies of Art, Past and Present (1940)
  • An Outline of European Architecture (1943)
  • Pioneers of Modern Design (1949; originally published in 1936 under the title Pioneers of the Modern Movement)
  • The Buildings of England (1951-74)
  • The Englishness of English Art (1956)
  • The Sources of Modern Architecture and Design (1968)
  • A History of Building Types (1976)

The Buildings of England

After moving to England, Pevsner found that the study of architectural history had little status in academic circles, and the amount of information available, especially to travellers wanting to inform themselves about the architecture of a particular district, was limited. He conceived a project to write a series of comprehensive county guides to rectify this, and gained the backing of Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books, for whom he had written his Outline of European Architecture. Work on the series began in 1945. Lane employed two part-time assistants, both German refugee art historians, who prepared notes for Pevsner from published sources. Pevsner spent the academic holidays touring the country to make personal observations and carry out local research, before writing up the finished volumes. The first volume was published in 1951. Pevsner wrote 32 of the books himself and 10 with collaborators, and work on the series continued after his death.

The books are compact and intended to meet the needs of both specialists and the general reader. Each contains an extensive introduction to the architectural history and styles of the area. The guides offer both detailed coverage of the most notable buildings and notes on lesser known and vernacular buildings. Each has a central section with several dozen pages of photographs, which continue to be in black and white.

The list below is of the volumes that were in print in January 2004. The original volumes are gradually being replaced with new editions in a larger format. The dates after each title are of the first publication and of any revised edition. All are now published by the Yale University Press.

  • Bath (2003)
  • Bedfordshire, Huntingdon & Peterborough (1968)
  • Berkshire (1966)
  • Buckinghamshire (1960;1994)
  • Cambridgeshire (1954;1970)
  • Cheshire (1971)
  • Cornwall (1951;1970)
  • County Durham (1953;1983)
  • Cumberland & Westmorland (1967)
  • Derbyshire (1953;1978)
  • Devon (1952;1989)
  • Dorset (1972)
  • Essex (1954;1965)
  • Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds (1970;1999)
  • Gloucestershire: The Vale & Forest of Dean (2002)
  • Hampshire (1967)
  • Herefordshire (1963)
  • Hertfordshire (1953;1977)
  • Kent: North East & East (1969;1983)
  • Kent: West & the Weald (1969;1976)
  • North Lancashire (1969)
  • South Lancashire (1969)
  • Leicestershire & Rutland (1960;1984)
  • Lincolnshire (1964;1989)
  • London 1: The City of London (1997) ISBN 0300096240
  • London 2: South (1983) ISBN 0300096518
  • London 3: North-West (1991) ISBN 0300096526
  • London 4: North (1998) ISBN 0300096534
  • London 6: Westminster (2003) ISBN 0300095953
  • London City Churches (1998)
  • Manchester (2001) ISBN 0300096666
  • Norfolk 1: Norwich & North East (1962;1997)
  • Norfolk 2: South & West (1962;1999)
  • Northamptonshire (1961;1973)
  • Northumberland (1957;1992)
  • Nottinghamshire (1951;1979)
  • Oxfordshire (1974)
  • Shropshire (1958)
  • Somerset: North & Bristol (1958)
  • Somerset: South & West (1958)
  • Staffordshire (1974)
  • Suffolk (1961;1974)
  • Surrey (1962;1971)
  • Sussex (1965)
  • Warwickshire (1966)
  • Wiltshire (1963;1971)
  • Worcestershire (1968)
  • Yorkshire: The North Riding (1966)
  • Yorkshire: The West Riding (1959;1967)
  • Yorkshire: York & East Riding (1972;1995)

The Buildings of Scotland

The series continued under Pevsner's name into Scotland. The series is not yet complete.

The Buildings of Wales

The series has also been extended to Wales.

The Buildings of Ireland

The Irish series is not so far advanced as the others. However the following have been published or are being prepared.

External links

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