Reply to “Observations on the plans for a new library, &.” By a member of both Syndicates ; An answer to observations on the plans for the new library; being a defence of the design presented by Messrs.Rickman and Hutchinson.
Cambridge, Deighton 1831; Birmingham, “printed by Thomas Knott” 1831.
8vo. 2 items in 1. 36pp ; 40pp. Sewn together, without wrappers (extracted from a previous binding ?). Preserved in a paper folder.
Two particularly rare and interesting pamphlets engendered by a long-running controversy in relation to the choice of a design for a new Cambridge University Library building. The first is a pamphlet by William Whewell, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, written in response to an 1831 pamphlet by the influential Cambridge academic George Peacock (1791-1858), subsequently Dean of Ely, in which Peacock had attacked the decision by a new Syndicate to adopt the design for a new Cambridge University Library building submitted by Rickman and Hutchinson, in preference to that by C.R.Cockerell which had previously been accepted (and which was ultimately built). Whewell, himself a highly regarded authority on Romanesque and Gothic architecture, carried even more weight in Cambridge University circles than Peacock, but although he defends Rickman and Hutchinson’s design against many of the criticisms made by Peacock, the general tenor of his remarks is that a final judgement still had to be made by the University between the designs that had been submitted, and his remarks fall short of a full endorsement of the Rickman and Hutchinson design.The second pamphlet, printed in Birmingham without its authorship being stated, is a vigorous defence by Rickman and Hutchinson, whose architectural office was in Birmingham, of the merits of their own design. Theirs is a careful discussion of all the issues involved, and they allege in passing that Cockerell’s most recent design for the building, that submitted in October 1830, had been plagiarised in part from their own original design, submitted in November 1829.Neither pamphlet is held in the British Architectural Library. We were fortunate enough to have had through our hands Sir Howard Colvin’s copies of both pamphlets, but no other copies have come our way over the last thirty years.