Richard Llewelyn Davies

I don’t think I had ever previously registered that the north-east extension to the Tate was designed by Richard Llewelyn Davies, the well-known hospital planner, analytical technocrat, destroyer of the Euston Arch and designer of Milton Keynes, who is said never to have been to school before studying mechanical sciences at Cambridge.   In fact, I have discovered that he was first involved in drawing up plans in 1964, when he proposed demolishing the original classical portico and constructing a new building between the Tate and the river.   This Brave New World scheme was rejected following its public exhibition in 1968.   His new galleries in the so-called North-East Quadrant (Plan B) eventually opened in 1979 and, following his death in 1981, were described by the New York Times as ‘bleak and warehouselike, but Lord Llewelyn-Davies regarded it as appropriate to the modern paintings it was intended to display’.   I actually prefer them, with their high ceilings and robust anonymity, to the lower ceilinged galleries downstairs.

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2 thoughts on “Richard Llewelyn Davies

  1. Otto Saumarez Smith says:

    He went to a private school in Ireland (his father was a solicitor & friends with Bertrand Russell). He read mechanical sciences at Cambridge, followed by the École des Beaux-Arts & AA. I have never heard that he had anything to do with the destruction of the Euston Arch.

    • See the Llewelyn Davies lecture by Noel Annan ‘Richard Llewelyn-Davies and the architect’s dilemma’, Institute of Advanced Study, October 1987, from which my (and, I suspect, Edward’s) (mis)information is obtained. Very informative about his membership of the Apostles and, unusually, who the Apostles were.

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