It is with great sadness that the SAHGB reports the death of two senior architectural historians, Jill Lever, who died on 22 November 2017, and Gavin Stamp, who died on 30 December 2017.
Jill Rosemary Lever was born in 1935 and educated in Brighton, where she subsequently trained as a Librarian. After a period of years spent working for a number of architectural practices, she moved to the Royal Institute of British Architects, where she was to spend the rest of her career. Together with John Harris and Margaret Richardson, she laboured on the celebrated series of drawings catalogues that was produced from 21 Portman Square between 1969 and 1984. These handsome volumes—generous in format and densely packed with information—were executed to the highest scholarly standards, earning Lever the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion for 1985. She succeeded John Harris as Curator of Drawings in 1987, and remained at the RIBA until her retirement in 1995. Thereafter she moved over to Sir John Soane’s Museum, where she catalogued the drawings of the elder and younger George Dance (2003), and Sir John Soane (forthcoming). Her rigorously empirical approach to the study of drawings, with its careful separation of purpose, aspect, technique, etc., remains the gold standard for students of architectural drawing and design history.
Gavin Mark Stamp was born in Bromley in 1948. He was educated at Dulwich College, London, where the quality of the buildings and the philistinism of the institution awoke his twin commitment to the elucidation and conservation of historic architecture. Gavin remained committed to these causes for the rest of his life, not only as a historian and campaigner, but as a dazzlingly brilliant journalist. He wrote a PhD dissertation at Cambridge on George Gilbert Scott Junior (1839-1897), and the architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries remained his primary area of interest thereafter, not only in Britain, but across the length and breadth of Europe. His many books included important studies of early photography, pioneering accounts of First World War memorials, and meticulous studies of Alexander “Greek” Thomson, whom he championed in the 1990s, when he taught architectural history at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow. Alongside this prodigious contribution to architectural history, he wrote regularly for the press, including the “Nooks and Corners” column for Private Eye, which he filed every fortnight for forty years. His last column referred to the ‘vandalism that never ceases’.
The SAHGB will publish full obituaries of both in due course.