Category Sir Edwin Lutyens

The Washington Embassy in “Room for Diplomacy”

  To complement and expand on his scholarly print publication, Room for Diplomacy: Britain’s diplomatic buildings overseas 1800-2000 (Reading: Spire Books, 2011), Mark Bertram (author, architect and official in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has produced an excellent website under the same name. It is a catalog of updated information and images of the overseas […]

Henry Adams and Lady Lindsay in Washington

Within the intersecting circles of the story of the British Embassy, Henry Adams is the center point in its early history. His beloved home across from the White House brings together several elements of this Landscape of a Washington Place: the Embassy’s first landscape gardener (Elizabeth Sherman Hoyt, later Lady Lindsay); Beatrix Jones (later Farrand […]

The Myths of the British Embassy II: the Location with Lutyens

The previous entry in this website surveyed the District’s Gilded Age landscape with its Beaux-Arts architecture existing on Massachusetts Avenue before the British Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence arrived in the neighborhood. This was to address misinformation about and the perplexing view that the architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, designed the United Kingdom complex in rural land […]

The Myths of the British Embassy I: the Location before Lutyens

There persists the unfortunate belief in some publications that in the 1920s the government of the United Kingdom chose a remote site with “little civilization nearby” for their new Washington Embassy. While the British with their previous diplomatic building pioneered the countryside around Connecticut Avenue—with livestock pens and crumbling Civil War barracks for neighbors—that is […]

The Time of Changes and Commemorations in the Embassy Gardens

What became the tumultuous decade of the 1960s at the Washington Embassy began with landscape gardener Perry Wheeler and Lady Caccia working to revitalize the gardens while enclosing them for additional privacy and protection. At the start of 1960, plantings (magnolias, hollies, viburnum, aucuba, cherry laurel, blue spruce) were put in to provide a dense […]

A Trowel for the British Embassy but not in the Gardens

It did not make mention in any of the newspaper reports of the laying of the cornerstone of the Lutyens-designed Embassy on 3 June 1928, but the “Washington trowel” was employed in the ceremony.  Ambassador Esmé Howard, standing with American architect Frederick Brooke, builder Harry Wardman and some of the diplomatic community but mostly with […]

The Embassy Gardens in Post-War Recovery

The Immediate Post-War Years The monarch’s birthday celebration in the gardens of British Embassy, last held in 1938, was revived in June 1947. The ambassador who greeted guests entering through the wooden Lutyens garden gate was the unconventional, if not eccentric, Archibald Clark Kerr, 1st Baron Inverchapel. Wearing white linens, he presided over a more […]