Pevsner in Yorkshire with Dr Susie Harries
Nikolaus Pevsner’s name is indelibly associated with The Buildings of England, a series of 46 architectural guides published by Penguin and arranged by county, beginning with Cornwall in 1951 and ending with Staffordshire in 1974.
Pevsner was the sole author of 32 of The Buildings of England (BoE) guides and collaborated on a further 10. Astonishingly, most of the meticulously planned tours of individual counties were undertaken during concentrated periods of a few weeks only, in variously unreliable cars driven by his wife and a succession of assistants. Pevsner received a modest salary and minimal expenses and didn’t take a royalty on a single volume until 1974, when the books finally went into profit.
Born in Leipzig in 1902, Pevsner had decided on his career by the age of 16: “A professor of art history, in a small house of my own, with the lady wife and a child, teaching, going about my business, maybe now and again writing – a German idyll.” It proved to be an idyll unavailable to Germans who happened to have been born Jewish, even if they had converted to Protestantism, as Pevsner did at the age of 19.
NADFAS lecturer Dr Susie Harries spent 20 years researching her biography on Pevsner, and will share her insights in this lecture on the man, his mission and his work in God’s own county.
“Harries is a careful and systematic biographer, rarely intruding when there is so much primary material, which she has corralled splendidly. The man who emerges…is enormously likeable. As is this book” (Philippa Stockley Sunday Telegraph)
“What Harries gives us, in this stunningly good book, is a very human picture of a rather phenomenal man…one of the finest biographies I have read for years” (Simon Heffner Literary Review)