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Lutyens' drawings not so precious

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letters

Astragal shouldn't be castigating the riba with such delighted hindsight (aj 24.9.98) for getting rid of thousands of Lutyens' drawings in the 1950s.

They were cluttering expensive space and had all been well picked over and through for anything of any possible significance or interest, by the then already much-diminishing band of bedazzled Lutyens worshippers - of whom Astragal certainly wasn't one.

And when, at some time in 1941 or 1942, it was decreed that every scrap of waste paper must be collected to hasten the downfall of Hitler, the aj (lost from my archive so I can't give an exact date) ran a whole-page frontispiece picture of Lutyens himself (already Sir and President of the Royal Academy but no chartered architect) pulling out vast stacks of his own drawings, and no doubt letters and sketchbooks, for pulping. To set an example, and looking as smug and complacent with it as any of those hulking ascendancy monsters he laid so heavily on the earth.

Many today might perhaps think of rather more marvellous architectural treasures that the riba could spend £242,800 of Heritage lottery money on. And who exactly is in line to pocket all that cash?

DAN (VIVIAN) LEVETT

London SE21

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