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Lucy Biddle

MA work

Qualified Moderns: Three Essays

'Qualified Moderns' addresses the lives and homes of three peripheral figures in architectural modernism, all of whom were involved in criticising, shaping, and responding to domestic architecture in the early twentieth century.

The individuals and houses that these essays address are: the poet Elizabeth Bishop and the house she lived in in Brazil in the 1950s, designed by her lover Lota de Macedo Soares and the young Brazilian architect Sergio Bernades; the designer/architect Eileen Gray and her first house E.1027 (1929); and the house that Jim Ede, later the founder of Kettle's Yard in Cambridge, built in Tangier, Morocco, and lived in sporadically between 1935-52. 

All three were untrained, and, despite having an obvious enthusiasm for the modern style, held significant caveats regarding the work of architects who are now considered canonical. Their qualified appreciation of modernism was expressed in the way they designed and lived in their own houses, and was articulated in their published and unpublished writing. My essays pay critical attention to architecture in a primarily biographical rather than technical fashion, focusing not on architectural plans, but on the subjects' unpublished journals, letters, and their own self-appraisals.

These essays provide a close-reading of biographical and artistic events in Bishop, Gray and Ede's lives, of the architecture that they were concerned with, and of the texts they produced.

Info

  • Lucy Biddle
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014

  • 'Qualified Moderns' addresses the lives and homes of three peripheral figures in architectural modernism, all of whom were involved in criticising, shaping, and responding to domestic architecture in the early twentieth century.

    The individuals and houses that these essays address are: the poet Elizabeth Bishop and the house she lived in in Brazil in the 1950s, designed by her lover Lota de Macedo Soares and the young Brazilian architect Sergio Bernades; the designer/architect Eileen Gray and her first house E.1027 (1929); and the house that Jim Ede, later the founder of Kettle's Yard in Cambridge, built in Tangier, Morocco, and lived in sporadically between 1935-52. 

    All three were untrained, and, despite having an obvious enthusiasm for the modern style, held significant caveats regarding the work of architects who are now considered canonical. Their qualified appreciation of modernism was expressed in the way they designed and lived in their own houses, and was articulated in their published and unpublished writing. My essays pay critical attention to architecture in a primarily biographical rather than technical fashion, focusing not on architectural plans, but on the subjects' unpublished journals, letters, and their own self-appraisals.

    These essays provide a close-reading of biographical and artistic events in Bishop, Gray and Ede's lives, of the architecture that they were concerned with, and of the texts they produced.

  • Degrees

  • BA English Literature, University of Cambridge, 2010
  • Experience

  • Project Manager, FutureEverything Festival, Manchester, 2012; Project Manager, Postcards from Europe, funded by British Council & European Commission, Manchester, 2011; Events Assistant & Junior Copywriter, NOISE Festival, Manchester, 2010-11
  • Publications

  • 'Meeting Halfway', Ends Meet: Essays on Exchange, 2014; 'Kurt Schwitters, Paul Nash & Mrs Nevelson: Derek Hyatt in Ark 23, 1958', ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Student Magazine, 1950-1978, 2014.; 'Trawling for Fish', As is the Sea, Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014