Inessential Colors by Basile Baudez Wins Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion

Dec. 12, 2022

Basile C. Baudez’s Inessential Colors: Architecture on Paper in Early Modern Europe (Princeton University Press, 2021) is this year’s winner of the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion.  The judges consider the monograph “a landmark work, beautifully written, methodologically innovative and which will have significant impact on future studies.”

“The judges praised this as an original, complex and ambitious work which examines changes in architectural drawing c. 1500–1800. The author skilfully weaves an investigation of the changing use of colour in architectural representation to argue for new understandings of draughtsmanship and its place in architectural practice. Furthermore, Baudez reveals how histories of the practice of architecture are inextricably interwoven with those of painting, engineering and cartography as well as the professional, commercial and institutional networks that shaped its activities. The book is to be commended for its mastery of a huge range of secondary literature across the broad chronological and geographical sweep of both southern and northern Europe (including Britain) in an integrated approach. The book is beautifully and generously illustrated incorporating a breath-taking range of sources, many of them little-known. The quality of this visual material together with the clarity of the writing combine to produce a powerful re-assessment of the role of coloured maps, plans and drawings in communicating and defining early modern architecture in Europe.”

—Elizabeth McKellar, on behalf of the judging panel

The Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion—awarded since 1959—is given annually to the author of a literary work that provides an outstanding contribution to the study of architectural history. The work must be by a British author (or authors) or deal with an aspect of the architectural history of the British Isles or the Commonwealth. The award is named after the mother of the American architectural historian Henry Russell-Hitchcock, and the medallion consists of a Wedgwood portrait of James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. It was presented to the SAHGB general meeting in 1959.

Judging panel: Professor Elizabeth McKellar (President of SAHGB + panel chair); Dr. John Goodall (Architectural Editor, Country Life), Dr. Conor Lucey (University College Dublin); Professor Wendy Pullan (University of Cambridge); Professor Lukasz Stanek (University of Manchester); Dr. Diane Watters (University of Edinburgh/Historic Environment Scotland).