14 February 2010

for the Love of Lady Emily

a frenzy of passionate love letters were sent to Lady Emily.
Ned was a promising architect but no match for the daughter of the Earl of Lytton.
Proposals were made.
The marriage forbidden.
Proposals were reconsidered.
Financial statements were submitted.
Love was accepted.
Lady Emily became the bride of Ned Lutyens.

Not surprising, Lutyens expressed his undying devotion to the Lady in architectural details.
"the Casket" was a gift from the heart to Lady Emily Lytton. Designed in Lutyens' distinctive classical style an olivine leather adorned with the Lady's initials held secret compartments for tokens of his affection.

The box held the hopes of and dreams of the young Ned and Emily:
a crucifix designed by Lutyens
a heart
an anchor
and finally
a small 4 inch square detailed drawing of' the little white house' the pair dreamed of building one day.

Edwin Landseer Lutyens, often referred to as Britain's greatest architect, married Lady Emily Lytton in 1897.
The marriage produced five children.
The intellectually frustrated Emily  found solace in Theosophy*.
Ned Lutyens went on to become The architect of his age, Sir Edwin Lutyens, working in the Arts and Crafts style and incorporating Classicism into his over 300 public spaces, country homes and monuments.

The 'little white house' the couple had dreamed of building never materialized.

*the doctrine of religious philosophy and metaphysics.


  1. The "Love Casket" is exquisite but perhaps being married to a creative genius was frustrating. Much like Jane Burden's union to William Morris, she at least had the Red House. Thank you for your intriguing posts. Kind regards, Kendra

  2. Such interesting post, I never new this! Lovely piece and what a token of mutual affection and devotion!

    Happy Valentine's Day!


  3. Beautiful casket along with its symbollic trinkets. I'm all for "man cannot make but may ennoble fate!" I don't know the couple's personal story - maybe it was not so tragic not to have the white house? How people grow and change when in each other's company! You indicate there was emptiness (I'm sure you know something more)...but I might have been tempted by theosophy too at the time! Blavatsky is fascinating.

  4. When I was in England I was a happy guest for a marvelous tea on the lawn of the proud owner of his house by Edwin Luytens and I had, to their consternation, never heard of Edwin Luytens before. It was beautiful but they had lots of grounds with a special far away view and served the best smoken trout cananpe .I asked for the recipe. I shall find it as I believe it was written on their stationary which was also most English Dorothy

  5. The best sort of Valentine. Thank you for this one!



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