'Arts & Crafts Churches' by Alec Hamilton wins the SAHGB Colvin Prize 2021

SAHGB Colvin Prize

Awarded annually to the author or authors of an outstanding work of reference of use and value to architectural historians and the discipline of architectural history, across a range of formats.

This year’s winner is:

Alec Hamilton, Arts & Crafts Churches (Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd).

Frances Sands, on behalf of the judging panel, commented:

“Scholarship on the Arts and Crafts movement has tended to focus on domestic architecture, whereas this publication delves into the realm of Britain’s Arts and Crafts churches. It provides helpful explanatory, analytical and contextual information in Part I, while Part II contains an impressive gazetteer of over 200 churches, mostly built between 1884 and 1918. Many of these churches are richly ornamented both externally and internally, and the author describes them as ‘often quaint, at times far-fetched and capricious’, giving a glimpse of the fun to be had reading this volume. Moreover, these churches offer a fascinating narrative about religion and ecclesiastical architecture in Britain at the dawn of modernity and of greater religious ambivalence.

“The judging panel admired Hamilton’s work greatly, and found it to be a beautifully presented and entertainingly written volume which communicates well to both non-specialist and academic audiences. It is full of interest and scholarship and breaks new ground on a subject about which there is relatively little written. Part I contains a brilliantly conceived opening series of contextual chapters, providing a fulsome definition of Arts and Crafts architecture, and which are full of impressive scholarship, coherent synthesis, and valuable new findings. Part II, containing the gazetteer, is similar in some ways to a Pevsner volume, with its individual building entries arranged by location. Each geographical region within the gazetteer is given an introductory essay and points the reader towards key Arts and Crafts churches of the area. This is followed by discursive building entries on certain churches, as well as a list of others. Both the full entries and the lists include significant details such as dates of construction and the architects involved, providing a robust reference resource.  The author has an engaging writing style and the longer entries don't feel overloaded with detail.  It is also beautifully produced with full colour illustrations and a generous layout.  Despite this and the hardback format, the volume is keenly priced and will likely appeal well beyond specialist audiences and have a wide reach”.

Arts and Crafts Churches is published by Lund Humphries Publishers.