1902 - Thomas Edward Collcutt (1840-1924)

Royal English Opera House

Designer: Collcutt, Thomas Edward (1840-1924)
Copyright: Bedford Lemere & Co./RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1891)

Like other medallists, Collcutt began his career articled to another architect, in his case, R W Armstrong followed by George Edmund Street. Born in Oxford, the son of a servant, Collcutt rose to dizzy heights, including Presidency of the RIBA 1906-08.


Collcutt followed the late Gothic Revival style, delighting in the solid and powerful building. His breakthrough work is considered to be Wakefield Town Hall, which was followed by other significant buildings such as the Imperial Institute in London, a temporary home for the University of London; the Palace Theatre in London; and Lloyd’s Registry of Shipping.


Collcutt’s work displayed ornamentation but never vulgarity, making every detail picturesque.


Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London

Designer: Collcutt, Thomas Edward (1840-1924)
Copyright: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1900)

The 1902 Royal Gold Medal was intended for John Bentley, architect of Westminster Cathedral, London. However, Bently died the day before his nomination was due to be confirmed. As there was no precedent for a posthumous medal, the King’s advisors suggested that a nomination be made. This was Thomas Collcutt.


Despite Collcutt being a ‘second choice’ for the 1902 Royal Gold Medal, he remained intensely proud of it, choosing to be depicted wearing it in his RIBA Presidential portrait.


Collcutt won the Royal Gold Medal for representing 'the feeling in regard to architecture in our modern world of old examples'.