Kerry Downes obituary

Architectural historian who wrote definitive books on Hawksmoor, Wren and Vanbrugh

The architectural historian Kerry Downes, who has died aged 88, published two books on each of the greatest British successors of the Italian Baroque architect Francesco Borromini – Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor and John Vanbrugh.

When he produced Hawksmoor (1959), this idiosyncratic architect was not a widely or highly regarded figure. His Christ Church, Spitalfields, was no longer in use, but the book’s appearance helped save it from destruction. Instead, a thorough restoration programme was initiated, a music festival flourished and parish worship returned in 1987.

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