Tuesday the 17th of November marked the end of our year of Philip Webb celebrations with the presentation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)’s Webb award. Our Webb exhibition had also ended the previous Sunday so it felt like a suitable rounding off.
Philip Webb was the architect of Standen as well as being a founder of the SPAB and close friend of Morris and many others in the Arts and Crafts movement.
Our Philip Webb exhibition looked at Webb and his work, focussing on Standen as his most complete remaining project. We had some brilliant loans from the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow and from the Emery Walker house at 7 Hammersmith Terrace. Emery Walker was Webb’s executor so had many of his possessions. It has just closed for some major conservation works, so it was a great opportunity to see some Webb pieces before they had to go into store.
It also featured the Birmingham University ceremonial mace designed by Philip Webb and made for our Mr. Beale’s brother who was the first vice chancellor of Birmingham University. It was the first time it had been out of Birmingham and we were delighted to have it. It’s now returned to Birmingham in time to be used for the degree ceremonies. Apparently it is the current vice chancellor’s “favourite mace”. See it here.
The SPAB have been running their Philip Webb award for many years, but gave it a break a couple of years ago. They relaunched it this year on the centenary of Webb’s death to celebrate his life and work. We collaborated with them so they were able to offer Standen’s barn cafe and stable yard as a case study and “live brief”.
The winner, Holly Spilsbury, created an excellent scheme that fitted SPAB’s conservation architect principles and our search for innovative ideas, which took a holistic view of Standen. Head judge, Kevin McCloud, praised Holly’s work, but also said that conservation architecture as espoused by the SPAB was not being taught in architecture schools. Holly’s design is currently on show in the V&A, alongside their Webb display.
Find out more about the SPAB, the Webb Award and the winner Holly and her design here.
The SPAB also have had a blog on all things Webb this year so have a look here to find out more about the man and his works.
The V&A Museum has a Philip Webb exhibition on from now until 24th May.
In addition, the Morris & Co. The Forest tapestry is also on display in the V&A’s Tapestry Gallery alongside Webb’s drawings for it, on loan from Wightwick Manor.