Thursday, February 08, 2018

Jonathan Meades' eulogy for Gavin Stamp

The death of the architectural historian and journalist Gavin Stamp at the start of last month was widely mourned.

Jonathan Meades wrote a eulogy for his funeral and the London Review of Books has printed it:
Doctrinaire modernists armed with ancient progressive pieties were still just about in the ascendant in those days: to concern oneself, as Gavin did, with what a building actually looked like and what effect its presence might have on its surroundings was reckoned to be the height of frivolity, a sort of apostasy. 
The doctrinaire see what they believe in, the latitudinarian believe in what they see. Gavin looked. He had no programme, no theory, no ideology, little interest in movements or taxonomies. 
According to Nabokov there is only one school of writing – the school of talent. That is what Gavin increasingly believed about architecture. He found merit in the neglected and the threadbare and the jokey as well as in monuments of high seriousness.
It is almost as if Meades were writing a eulogy for himself.

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