The life and work of Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, 1834-1921
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Sir Robert Rowand Anderson was the dominant figure in Scottish architecture during and beyond the late Victorian period. Although his oeuvre is for the most part well known, and notwithstanding the fact that the historical drawings from his office were made available for study in 1979, his life and work have not hitherto bean investigated in depth. The purpose of the thesis which follows is to make good this deficiency. While the absence of family papers has posed problems ever since Anderson's death, (evident from the biographical errors in his obituaries), a large number of primary sources were discovered in the course of research. These included Anderson's scrapbook, notebooks and a diary, correspondence relating to his earlier commissions, and numerous letters in public and private collections. In the last few years, several short but helpful publications on specific aspects of his work have also appeared. Drawing on this material, the thesis presents a chronological account of Anderson's career dealing, in Chapter One, with his hitherto uninvestigated early life and training. Chapter Two seta the scene for the evolution of his theoretical position, not previously examined. Chapters Three and Four deal with the expansion of his practice and his rise to eminence, while Chapters Five, Six and Seven cover his activities at the height of his fame, such as his restorations, and his committee and educational work. The Appendices include Obituaries and notes on the sources of his architectural theory, as well as a list of works and a quantification of his influence. The thesis makes it clear that the popular view of Anderson as a highly professional and gifted manipulator of historical styles is inadequate: he was a thoroughgoing functionalist. It also draws attention to the great influence he exerted on the generation immediately following, not only through his conservative restoration and the high quality of his design, but also by actively fostering a Scottish tradition in architecture and its associated crafts.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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