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Some very good architects simply never made it into the canon. They designed the wrong thing at the wrong time. Their careers flopped. Their best buildings were never executed, or have been sadly mutilated. They won the big competition – but nothing happened. They fell out with the wrong critics, or never made friends with the right journalists. They weren’t ambitious enough, or brave enough to set up a London office, or to take people on. Sometimes they collapsed into sentimentalism for an unfashionable era.

And yet, some of their buildings are beautiful, and at the least tell us things we have forgotten about architecture: George Basevi, wiped out by the Gothic Revival, left one vast masterpiece; and Horace Field’s work for Lloyd’s Bank inspired our best early-twentieth-century high street architecture.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin is the author of The English Parsonage in the Early Nineteenth Century and Leonard Manasseh & Partners. Almost the longest-standing contributor to The World of Interiors, he is also senior lecturer and director of research at the Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent.

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