Thomas E. Collcutt (1840-1924)
Thomas Edward Collcutt was born in Oxford, England, on 16 March 1840. He was educated at Oxford Diocesan School at Cowley and the Mill Hill School. After apprenticing under R.E. Armstrong, Collcutt worked for Miles and Murgatroyd. Later, while employed by George E. Street, he worked with R. Norman Shaw. Although Shaw is more commonly associated with the development of the Queen Anne movement, Collcutt was also a major exponent of that idiom. His designs for Eastlake-Talbert art furniture, completed while employed by Collinson and Lock, received international recognition during the 1870s. In 1877 he won the Wakefield Town Hall Competition.
Collcutt's 1887 design for the Imperial Institute Building, South Kensington, is considered his masterpiece. That year he also completed plans for a country house for Fresno viticulturist M. Theodore Kearney. The exquisite drawings for the Kearney estate reflect Collcutt's talent at the height of his career. Nevertheless, Kearney abandoned Collcutt's designs in favor of more extravagant plans in the French Chateau tradition.
In 1889 Collcutt was awarded the Grand Prix for Architecture at the Paris International Exposition and three years later the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He was a Fellow in RIBA and served as its president from 1904 to 1906.
Among Collcutt's other projects were interiors of P & O steamships, the Royal English Opera House, Lloyd's Registry, and Savoy Court. The Fresno City and County Historical Society preserves sixteen signed, original Collcutt drawings. Thomas E. Collcutt died in Southampton on 7 October 1924.
©2003 John Edward Powell.