By David Brussat
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I was informed today by Chapter President John Margolis that architectural historian David Watkin, a leading proponent of classicism, will speak in Boston on Monday, March 26, at the invitation of the New England ICAA chapter.
Mr. Watkin is best known for his A History of Western Architecture (1995, updated in 2005), the first major general history of architecture in decades to eschew the prevailing modernist story line that classical architecture was no more than a runup to the Zeitgeist as reflected in the work of modernist architects, and that a classical revival was an irrelevant and even immoral project.
More information to come on the lecture, of course, but I cannot suppress my joy at this news. I met Mr. Watkin in 1999 on a visit to London. Earlier in the evening I had met Roger Scruton, whom I had sought out because of my veneration of his book The Classical Vernacular. (My apologies for its extraordinary expense!) At the time I was blissfully unaware of his extraordinary career within the broader realms of philosophy.
Anyhow, Mr. Scruton, who had a nice flat behind the Burlington Arcade, invited me to hear a lecture by David Watkin. We walked from his flat to, if I recall, Sotheby’s. When we arrived, the audience awaiting the lecture was discussing the day’s news that Prince Charles had been forced to hire a modernist to run his school of architecture. At the time, which was not long after Lady Di’s demise, Charles’s handlers were enforcing a hushing up of his classicist architectural opinions, which were not welcomed by most of the London elite. Needless to say, the mood in the room was sombre.
I do not recall the details of the lecture, but I am thrilled that Mr. Watkin has accepted the chapter’s invitation to speak. Again, more details on the location, etc., when it comes available.