Guildhall, Lavenham


Guildhall, Lavenham
Drawing: Sir G.G. Scott (1875)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings & Archives Collection

Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811 -1878) was one of the most successful of all Victorian architects. In his long career, he executed a prolific number of works, almost all bold Gothic Revival in style. He also established a great architectural dynasty: his sons, grandsons and great grandson were themselves leading architects. And he is especially known for his extensive number of church restorations. Opinions varied at the time as to their sensitivity. However, his furnishings are splendid, revealing his great eye for detail.

This is apparent in his 1875 survey of the Guildhall, Lavenham. Scott is not known for domestic work, yet here he displays a masterful understanding of the building. From this we can grasp his method of surveying: a general view makes up most of the sheet; then the mouldings and carvings have been drawn, enlarged. How Scott managed to capture these isn’t clear. Many are high up. Did he use a ladder?

This is just one of many drawings of Lavenham in Scott’s sketchbook. He visited the town for just one day, but in that short time he sketched many details of the church, notably the rood screen. Perhaps he hoped soon to restore this, too?


About the online exhibition

'How We Built Britain' is a major collaboration with the BBC


Images in the exhibition are from RIBApix, a growing database dedicated to providing you with exceptional and unique images from the RIBA British Architectural Library's collections.

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