John Nash (1752-1835) was the most successful and fashionable architect of his time. Architect, town-planner, landscape designer, bridge-builder, engineer and entrepreneur, Nash outlived his principal patron, George IV, by five years. After a disheartening start, when his first speculative buildings in Bloomsbury failed and left him bankrupt, Nash moved to Wales to rebuild his career, eventually returning to London in 1796. He had made a remarkable recovery and went on to become the most successful and fashionable architect of the period. His buildings reflect a variety of styles, including neo-classical, Tudor and Gothic, with a strong emphasis on the Picturesque. His Metropolitan Improvements - Regent's Park, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square - were the most comprehensive developments ever carried out in London, even until recent times. This fully illustrated comprehensive survey of Nash's works includes all of his known and attributed works.
Michael Mansbridge's superb photographs of Nash's extant buildings show Nash's architecture as never before and are complemented by contemporary views and old photographs of demolished buildings, as well as original sketches of designs never executed. The illustrations are accompanied by catalogue entries giving general information about the buildings, their settings and their original owners. In all, nearly 300 projects are discussed. Each entry has its own bibliography and many have plans. The lively introduction, written by the distinguished architectural historian Sir John Summerson (1904-92), gives a perspective portrait of this imaginative and influential architect. The book includes a gazetteer, a list of clients and patrons, a glossary of architectural terms, and two maps - one of Great Britain and Ireland and one of London - giving the locations of Nash's buildings.
Michael Mansbridge studied architecture and photography before deciding to become an architect. He worked for Howard Lobb and later joined Berry Webber and Partners before resigning his partnership to concentrate on recording the works of Nash. During the last twelve years of his life, he had visited and photographed all the sites at which Nash worked. Sir John Summerson was the author of many books on architecture, including two biographies of John Nash. In 1945 he became Curator of Sir John Soane's Museum, London, a post he held until his retirement in 1984. He has been Slade Professor of Fine Art at both Oxford and Cambridge and in 1975 he was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.