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Architectural history from eye-level: Nikolaus Pevsner's ‘Treasure Hunts’ in the Architectural Review, 1942

Architectural history from eye-level: Nikolaus Pevsner's ‘Treasure Hunts’ in the Architectural Review, 1942

Hultzsch, Annekatrin ORCID: 0000-0003-4433-5083 (2014) Architectural history from eye-level: Nikolaus Pevsner's ‘Treasure Hunts’ in the Architectural Review, 1942. The Journal of Architecture, 19 (3). pp. 382-401. ISSN 1360-2365 (Print), 1466-4410 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2014.930755)

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Abstract

In 1942, Nikolaus Pevsner published a series of articles in the Architectural Review that he called ‘Treasure Hunts’. Discussing mostly obscure, and often unpopular, buildings of the last hundred years, Pevsner jovially invited readers to join him in a game to ‘Date your District’. Instantly recognisable through bubble-shaped detail photographs and with a mixture of cheerful language and dense art-historical analysis, these articles present a unique opportunity within Pevsner’s often-examined oeuvre to explore word-image relationships and their appeal to the lay public. The present article analyses the use of typography, layout and photography in the Treasure Hunts and relates them to two specific modes of writing, analysis and ‘pictorial criticism’, a term coined by James M. Richards. Both verbal and graphic elements of the Treasure Hunts work by contrasting overviews to close-ups, imitating human vision and intellectual cognition and, by doing so, facilitate the education of the lay public in visually reading - and enjoying - buildings, their proclaimed aim. Thus, Pevsner established an architectural history from eye-level that relied on natural vision paired with art-historical method, bred and shaped through his German training, applied in a distinctly English context, and refined later in his Buildings of England.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nikolaus Pevsner, Architectural Review, Criticism, word-image relations, taste, photography, publishing, graphic design
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2020 22:35
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 5
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/28752

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