Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Obituary: A. R. Dufty

Arthur Richard Dufty, architect and antiquary: born 23 June 1911; staff, Royal Commission on Historical Monuments 1937-73, Secretary and General Editor 1962-73, with responsibility for National Monuments Record, including the National Buildings Record 1964-73; Master of the Armouries, HM Tower of London 1963-76; CBE 1971; President, Society of Antiquaries 1978- 81; married 1937 Kate Brazley (nee Ainsworth; died 1991; one son, two daughters), 1991 Jean Hughes; died 5 October 1993.

A. R. DUFTY, by early training an architect, made important contributions to the country's architectural heritage. Perhaps his most welcome and conspicuous success was the saving and restoration of William Morris's Kelmscott Manor, near Lechlade in Gloucestershire. On the death in 1938 of his daughter May the house had been left in trust to Oxford University, but with such restrictions on its use that it was left empty and fell sadly into decay. Its furniture, by Ford Madox Brown, Rossetti, Philip Webb and others, had suffered severe beetle infestation and its fabrics, many of them Morris originals, were in need of serious attention.

Through Dufty's influence, as President of the Society of Antiquaries, in January 1962 the trust was declared invalid in the High Court of Justice and Kelmscott Manor passed to the Society of Antiquaries as residuary legatee of the Morris estate. Under his care and direction the manor was restored to its present beautiful condition, as a fitting memorial to Morris and his family, and is open to the public for most of the year. Dufty became an authority on Morris and wrote an illustrated guide to Kelmscott (1970) and a booklet, Morris Embroideries: the prototypes (1985).

From 1937 to 1973 (apart from the war years, when he served in the Royal Navy) Dufty worked for the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, of which he became, from 1962, Secretary and General Editor, and where he was largely responsible for the commission's invaluable volumes on ancient and historical monuments. In 1963 he had been appointed to the Tower of London as Master of the Armouries - the fruition of a passion for arms and armour. For some time he lived in the Tower during the week. He retired in 1976 and went to live first in Kelmscott Manor as Keeper, and then in the village nearby.

Dick Dufty was a vigorous and amiable man, very much at home in the Arts Club in London when I knew him; and as a member of numerous architectural committees he exerted a wide and skilful influence.