LETTER:The cockiness of the new

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The Independent Online
From Dr. John Woodwark

Sir: Jonathan Glancey's article on Uppark ("A fantasy, lovingly rebuilt", 2 June) asserts that life in Britain today is so full of changes and chances that we positively need a country-house fantasy to fall back on. There may be something in it, and it is certain that the National Trust's fly- in-amber policy begs many interesting questions.

However, observant readers will have noticed that the photograph of the restored dining-room that accompanies the article is dominated by two classicalpilasters. Our "cocky" Georgian forebears were happy to admit that people in the past had had excellent ideas, on which they could see no immediate way to improve, and they lifted whole facades from classical buildings. By contrast, and maybe as fallout from Darwinism, we tend to equate innovation with progress, and label anything else as pastiche: an attitude not confined to architecture.

Perhaps some of the 2.2 million National Trust members are not simply fantasists, but are fed up with this more ruthless - and less justifiable - 20th-century cockiness.

Yours faithfully,



2 June