A Tribute to Lutyens’s New Delhi

By Hugh Trevor-Roper

“A fantastic growth, it seemed to me, every time I looked at the New Delhi of Sir Edwin Lutyens, a style without ancestry, without posterity, an architectural sport; and I compared it, according to my varying mood, now with the Pyramids of Egypt, now with the great statues of Easter Island, now with the megaliths of Avebury or Stonehenge. All the same, as my eye sought to comprehend that great pink and white symmetry of palaces and pagodas, fountains and obelisks, ornamental ponds and regal statues, I couldn’t help thinking of those Roman magnificos of whom Gibbon wrote, who ‘were not afraid to show that they had the spirit to conceive, and the wealth to execute, the most grandiose designs’.”

This appeared in Hugh Trevor Roper’s The Wartime Journals, edited by Richard Davenport-Hines, I.B. Tauris, London 2012.

In the same book, Trevor-Roper recounted how he was invited to dine quite often at Campion Hall, ‘drank choice wines there, and spirits late into the night … with Fr D’Arcy … and Sir Edwin Lutyens … those were gay symposia.’

By kind permission of Professor Blair Worden, Hugh Trevor-Ropers’s literary executor.

Michael Barker