M.H. Baillie Scott: Houses and gardens (1906)
Eleanor Gawne, October 2015

Blackwell, the arts and crafts house in Windermere, Cumbria, is celebrating M.H. Baillie Scott’s 150th birthday in October 2015, see http://www.blackwell.org.uk/

Alan Crawford in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography writes that: ‘Probably no British architect working in the domestic field was better known in Europe before the First World War than Scott.’ Scott’s book, Houses and gardens, published in 1906, is a detailed account of his principles and theory behind his designs for middle-class homes, including detached and terraced houses, holiday houses, flats and cottages. There are chapters on the purpose of different domestic rooms as well as their decoration and treatment. The book must have been a useful way of publicising his work and getting new clients. The descriptions of specific houses designed by him both in the UK and abroad including Blackwell are complemented by some delightful illustrations.

Crawford writes that Scott’s ‘most radical idea was the ‘houseplace’, a single large room in middle-class houses, with alcoves off it for eating, reading, talking, and so on, instead of the several small rooms of middle-class propriety.’ At Blackwell, the hall incorporates space for a billiard table, a large fireplace with an open heath and seats, and at the other end of the room, a raised platform in a bay window overlooking the garden, just the right place to curl up with a book.


The AA Library copy of Houses and gardens was purchased in 1944 from a Miss E. Foster.