Wendy Hitchmough, Head of Historic Buildings and Research, Historic Royal Palaces

The balance of power between artists and architects shifted in the last decades of the nineteenth century. As artists became celebrities, the 'artist architect' emerged - liberated from social conventions and free to pursue a vision of the house as a complex work of art. Frank Lloyd Wright, who embarked on his career in the waning years of the nineteenth century, embodied the concept of the artist architect. Wright’s ideology, like that of his international contemporaries, focused on the complete integration of the house - site and structure, interior and exterior, furniture, ornament and architecture, every element of the design was connected. Dr. Wendy Hitchmough traces the European roots of Wright’s most ambitious early houses. From William Morris to the Omega Workshops, from Carl Larsson to Eliel Saarinen she considers the ways in which artists and designers joined forces, and art opened the way to breaking rules in domestic design.

Taking Wright and the Robie House as its central focus, Frank Lloyd Wright: Origins and Influences explores the international exchange of ideas that shaped the work of progressive designers in Britain, Europe and America at the turn of the twentieth century.

Recorded September 11, 2014