In 2011 material from the collections travelled internationally and were on display in Montreal and Lyon, while the 'Palladio and His Legacy' exhibition reached the final venues of its tour (which began in 2010) of the United States. Several drawings and photographs went on show at the Wellcome Trust, less than a mile away from RIBA headquarters. 


George Aitchison: Leighton’s Architect Revealed

Leighton House Museum
5 May - 31 July 2011

While Leighton House is known internationally, its architect George Aitchison (1825 - 1910) remains a shadowy and under-appreciated figure. This was the first exhibition in over 30 years to explore Aitchison's career and includes a number of his interior designs described as 'amongst the most exquisite and colourful 19th-century architectural drawings in existence'. 

The majority of the drawings in this exhibition were from the RIBA.

Portrait of George Aitchison

Artist: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collection

The Nicholsons and their Circle: An Artistic Legacy

The Lightbox
30 April - 26 June 2011

The Nicholsons were a significant family of artists who, along with their circle of artistic friends, made a major contribution to and had a huge impact on art in the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition displays this wealth of talent and associated history, decade by decade, focusing on the 1920s to 1950s.

The RIBA lent a drawing by Christopher 'Kit' Nicholson of the London Gliding Club.

Drawing of the London Gliding Club

Designer: Christopher 'Kit' Nicholson
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

Architecture in Uniform

Canadian Centre for Architecture
12 April - 11 September 2011

'Architecture in Uniform' documented the extensive contribution of architecture to war between the bombings of Guernica in 1937 and Hiroshima in 1945. It considered how this questioned architectural methods and construction technologies, and lead to the supremacy of Modernism.

The RIBA lent six drawings. 

Designs for a holiday and evacuation camp for families

Architect: Ernö Goldfinger
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

The Cult of Beauty

Victoria and Albert Museum
2 April - 17 July 2011

Touring later to: Musee D’Orsay, Paris; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

This major touring exhibition charted the development of the Aesthetic Movement in art and design through the decades from the 1860s to the 1890s and included drawings from the RIBA by George Aitchison, designer of some of the most beautiful schemes of interior decoration at that time.

Design for the elevation of a wall of the picture gallery, Leighton House, London

Artist: George Aitchison
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

Le Genie de L’Orient: L’Europe Moderne et les Arts de L’Islam

Musee des Beaux Arts
31 March - 31 August 2011

This display focused on the discovery of the Middle and Near East and its influence on the art, design and architecture of Europe in the 19th century.

The RIBA lent seven studies of buildings in Istanbul by French architect Charles Texier to this exhibition.

Detail of decoration, Saray Fountain, Istanbul

Artist: Charles Felix Marie Texier
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

Dirt: the filthy reality of everyday life

Wellcome Collection
24 March - 31 August 2011

Bringing together around 200 artifacts spanning visual art, documentary photography, cultural ephemera, scientific artifacts, film and literature, the exhibition uncovered a rich history of disgust and delight in the grimy truths and dirty secrets of our past, and pointed to the uncertain future of filth.

The RIBA contributed six photographs and three original drawings to this exhibition.

Finsbury Health Centre: explanatory drawing

Designer: Lubetkin & Tecton
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

Façade: Through a Glass Darkly

National Glass Centre
18 March - 10 July 2011

Through artists and architects' work, the National Glass Centre explored how facades can be used to both reveal and conceal – and often what, upon closer scrutiny, lies beneath the surface: the tension between appearance and reality.

The RIBA contributed one of the key works on glass architecture, entitled 'Glasarkitectur'.

Top of page