WYATT, Matthew Digby. 18661



Autograph Letter Signed, to Messrs. Howell, James & Co., responding to their request that he design some jewellery for their next exhibition, explaining that “I cannot look forward to any other than the closest possible application to the works I already have in hand”. 2 pp. 7 x 4 inches, in good condition, integral blank leaf tipped on to part of an old album page. Dresden, 15 September 1871. Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820-1877), architect and author, was secretary to the Commission for the 1851 Exhibition. Wyatt’s knowledge and use of architectural styles were catholic and comprehensive, but his best buildings were in an Italianate classical manner. His advocacy in the Slade lectures of joining the ‘objective practice of Pugin and the Medievalists to the excellent subjective system transmitted to us from the Classical Ages’ (Slade lecture, Cambridge, 1869) foreshadowed the free classical architecture of the later nineteenth century. To contemporaries his writings, organisational and committee work, and his crusade to improve design, seemed as important as his architecture. But his classical buildings are among the best of the mid-nineteenth century. [ODNB]