- Alec Clifton-Taylor
Biography and works
Clifton-Taylor was educated at
Bishop's Stortford Collegeand The Queen's College, Oxford, and went on to the Courtauld Institute of Art.
His best-known and most influential book is "The Pattern of English Building" (1962) (ISBN 0-571-14890-5), an early examination of the architectural vernacular: it approaches its subject through the building materials, and methods, specific to particular areas of England. Two of his other books are studies of ecclesiastical architecture: "The Cathedrals of England" and "English Parish Churches as Works of Art". Along with
Nikolaus Pevsner(to whose "Buildings of England" series he was a contributor) and John Betjeman, Clifton-Taylor is considered one of the three most significant figures in the study of English churches.Jenkins, S. and Barker, P. "England's Thousand Best Churches", Penguin, 2000, ISBN 978-0140297959]
Clifton-Taylor gained his greatest public recognition late in life through his work for the
BBC. After being introduced through Pevsner to BBC arts producer John Drummond, Clifton-Taylor presented a series of eight televisionprogrammes on British architecture, "The Spirit of the Age", from 1974-1975. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1528297/Sir-John-Drummond.html Obituary, Sir John Drummond] , Daily Telegraph, 09-09-2006] He went on to present three extremely popular series of half-hour BBC programmes: "Six English Towns" (1977), "Six More English Towns", and "Another Six English Towns" (1984), in which he visited Chichester, Richmond, Tewkesbury, Stamford, Totnes, Ludlow, Warwick, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Saffron Walden, Lewes, Bradford on Avon, Beverley, Cirencester, Whitby, Bury St Edmunds, Devizes, Sandwich and Durham, discussing their architectural character and evolution in an opinionated though accessible (and often gently humorous) style. Each series was accompanied by its own book.
Clifton-Taylor believed that local materials had to be used if building was to look 'right', and was therefore critical of much Victorian and subsequent architecure, erected after the railways had facilitated the transport of cheaper materials alien to a particular locale.
He lived in
Kensington, West London, for much of his life, and was president of the Kensington Society, an organisation devoted to preserving the borough's architecture and open spaces. The Alec Clifton-Taylor Memorial Garden is located at St Mary Abbotts in Kensington. [http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/ParksAndGardens/StMaryAbbotts/default.asp St.Mary Abbotts and Alec Clifton Taylor Memorial Gardens] , Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, accessed 29-09-2008]
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