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Frank Scarlett

Person  Male  Born 1900  Died 1981

Categories: Architecture

Modernist architect. We can find no information about him and no image, so for our picture we show the building which is considered his masterpiece: Starlock House, Rye.

2018: We were contacted by Archie Duncan who has been involved with architecture throughout his life and who had some interesting correspondence with Scarlett in 1970. Archie has very kindly allowed us to publish the following section from Scarlett’s letter where he outlines the influences on his own work:

“As far as my own work is concerned my first ideas on architecture came to me in the Hampstead Garden Suburb where I spent some early years and became familiar with the work of Lutyens and Raymond Unwin.

The first breath of the modern movement came to me from reading ‘Architects, Where is your vortex?’ by P. Wyndham Lewis: and then, I think it was in the twenties, there was an epoch-making address at the RIBA on the subject of ‘The Architectural Heresies of a Painter’. The climate of the time can be judged by the comments on this lecture in The Architect.

The first time I saw modern architecture in the concrete was Corb’s Pavillion de L’Esprit Nouveau at the 1925 Exhibition. At this Exhibition I also met Henry Wilson who represented the tag end of the arts and crafts movement with a dash of l’art nouveau. Then in 1929 I went to the USA and in New York I met Buckminster Fuller then flogging his first dymaxion house. In Chicago I talked to Holabird and Root and visited most of their buildings and explored the archaeology of the modern movement in the works of Louis Sullivan and in the warehouses built, I think, in the nineties. Of course I knew Amyas Connell and Wells Coates quite well and I think that these were probably the two most original architects of the late twenties and early thirties.”

Following this prompt we searched a bit more and at British Buildings found: {Starlock House was} “Designed by Frank Scarlett (1900-1981) - the house was built 1929-1930 for Col. Templar and his wife. The house achieved Grade II listing status in 1997. Starlock was commissioned as a home for her parents by designer and artist Marjorie Templer. Templer had already previously written the book ‘Arts Decoratifs’ with {Scarlett}. At the time, Frank Scarlett had spent a year in the United States as a result of winning the RIBA’s Alfred Blossom Travelling Studentship. Returning to London, he became an assistant at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. It was during his collaboration with Henry Ingham Ashworth that Starlock House came about. In 1930 the Scarlett-Ashworth partnership won a competition to design Hull’s Civic Centre.”

2020: David Brady added: "Scarlett was quite a well-known architect who worked for Easton and Robertson on the British Pavilion at the Paris Exposition of 1925. The lecture he refers to was by the Bloomsbury painter and critic Roger Fry, The RIBA library has a biographical file on Scarlett.

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Frank Scarlett

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Murray House

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