Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Professor Sir Albert E. Richardson, P.R.A. (London 1880-1964 Bedfordshire)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more ARCHITECTURAL FANTASIES BY PROFESSOR SIR ALBERT RICHARDSON During the late 1920s and early 1930s Professor Sir Albert Richardson, P.R.A., created a series of capriccios or fantasies (as he called them), large works on paper, painstakingly delineated and then carefully finished off in watercolour. The subject matter for these was wide ranging but they serve to demonstrate his growing distaste for the modern world and a determination to retreat into the beauty of the past. They are characterised by a dream-like quality, with buildings from different locations, or different aspects from different buildings combined together, sometimes almost piled on top of each other. The landscapes which surround the buildings were drawn together from his imagination or from reality or both. Partly inspired by the etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) and partly by the drawings of the American architect, Bertram Grosveno Goodhue (1869-1924), they are also reminiscent of the fantasies produced by other celebrated architects such as Robert Adam (1722-1792), Sir John Soane (1753-1837) and Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863). Adam created a group of idealised landscapes with Gothic architecture often perched on craggy cliffs. While Soane's successor as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, Cockerell also created fantasy works such as The Professor's Dream (1848) which encompasses 4,000 years of western classical architecture. Professor Richardson and his predecessors found inspiration in elements of existing architecture but equally these fantasies are vivid works of the imagination.
Professor Sir Albert E. Richardson, P.R.A. (London 1880-1964 Bedfordshire)

A Fantasy of Kubla Khan's Palace

Professor Sir Albert E. Richardson, P.R.A. (London 1880-1964 Bedfordshire)
A Fantasy of Kubla Khan's Palace
signed and dated 'A E Richardson/1915' (lower right)
pencil, pen and black ink and watercolour, on paper
15 x 18 in. (38.1 x 45.7 cm.)
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Brought to you by

Alexandra Cruden
Alexandra Cruden Auction Administrator

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Professor Richardson's fantasy of Kubla Khan's Palace takes its inspiration from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's (1772-1834) famous poem, Kubla Khan which triumphs the power of imagination. The circumstances of the poem's creation are based on the narrative that in 1797, Coleridge while out walking took some medicinal opium and in the ensuing slumber experienced a train of vivid images which he recorded in Kubla Khan. This genesis has attracted much debate but the poem which was published in 1816 has become a romantic legend. It opens with the lines:
'In Xandu did Kubla Khan/A stately pleasure-dome decree:/Where Alph, the sacred river, ran/through caverns measureless to man/Down to a sunless sea.'
This imaginative essence is evoked by Professor Richardson's architectural creation with the colonnaded dome sitting impressively on a rocky outcrop rising from the sea.

We are grateful to John Harris and Charles Hind for their assistance with cataloguing the group of architectural fantasies.

More from The Collection of Professor Sir Albert Richardson, P.R.A.

View All
View All