Richard Norman Shaw

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Richard Norman Shaw
House for Kate Greenaway in Frognal, 1885

Richard Norman Shaw RA (7 May 1831 – 17 November 1912) was a British architect who worked from the 1870s to the 1900s, known for his country houses and for commercial buildings.


Shaw was born in Edinburgh,[1] and trained in the London office of William Burn with George Edmund Street and attended the Royal Academy classes, receiving a thorough grounding in classicism, and met William Eden Nesfield, with whom he was briefly in partnership. In 1854–1856 he travelled with a Royal Academy scholarship, collecting sketches that were published as Architectural Sketches from the Continent, 1858. [2]

In 1863, after sixteen years of training, he opened a practice for a short time with Nesfield. In 1872, Shaw was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. [2]

He worked, among others, for the artists John Callcott Horsley and George Henry Boughton, and the industrialist Lord Armstrong. He designed large houses such as Cragside and Grim's Dyke, as well as a series of commercial buildings in a wide range of styles.[2]

Shaw was elected to the Royal Academy in 1877,[2] and co-edited (with Sir Thomas Jackson RA) the 1892 collection of essays, Architecture, a profession or an Art?.[3] He firmly believed it was an art. In later years, Shaw moved to a heavier classical style which influenced the emerging Edwardian Classicism of the early 20th century. Shaw died in London, where he had designed residential buildings in areas such as Pont Street, and public buildings such as New Scotland Yard.

His picturesque early country houses avoided the current Neo-Gothic and the academic styles, reviving vernacular materials like half timber and hanging tiles, with projecting gables and tall massive chimneys with "inglenooks" for warm seating. The result was free and fresh, not slavishly imitating his Jacobean and vernacular models, yet warmly familiar, a parallel to the Arts and Crafts movement. Richard Norman Shaw's houses soon attracted the misnomer the "Queen Anne style". As his powers developed, he dropped some of the mannered detailing, his buildings gained in dignity, and acquired an air of serenity and a quiet homely charm which were less conspicuous in his earlier works; half timber construction was more sparingly used, and finally disappeared entirely. [2]

His work is characterised by ingenious open planning, the Great Hall or "sitting hall" with a staircase running up the side that became familiar in mass-produced housing of the 1890s.

He was also involved in ecclesiastical architecture. He restored St. John's Church, Leeds and designed new churches such as St. Margaret's, Ilkley, All Saints', Leek and All Saints', Richards Castle.

Shaw died in London on 17 November 1912.

Built work

Cragside, Northumberland
St. Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park
Lowther Lodge, headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society
Adcote, Shropshire


See also


  1. "Shaw, Richard Norman". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1591.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Chisholm 1911.
  3. Richard Norman Shaw, editor: Architecture: A profession or an art: thirteen short essays on the qualifications and training of architects, London, Murray, 1892. Contributors include: R. Norman Shaw, J.T. Micklethwaite, Reginald Blomfield, G.F. Bodley, Mervyn Macartney, Ernest Newton, Edward S. Prior, John R. Clayton, Basil Champneys, W.R. Lethaby, W.B. Richmond, Gerald Horsley and T.G. Jackson.
  4. 4.0 4.1 John Bold; Tanis Hinchcliffe; Scott Forrester (27 January 2009). Discovering London's Buildings: With Twelve Walks. frances lincoln ltd. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-0-7112-2918-1. Retrieved 1 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Survey of London: volume 37: Northern Kensington". British History Online. Retrieved 28 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Shaw, Richard Norman". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links