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His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren Paperback – 2 May 2002
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In his biography His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren Adrian Tinniswood offers a sweeping account of Sir Christopher Wren, allegedly the greatest architect England ever produced. Wren's long life spanned the English and Scientific Revolutions, the Restoration of the monarchy in 1688, the Great Fire of London and the creation of the most enduring of all London monuments, St Paul's Cathedral. As Tinniswood points out, Wren was a key player in all these events, "a man who made ground-breaking discoveries in optics, astronomy, anatomy, mathematics; a man who combined his scientific interests with an architectural career spanning six reigns and nearly six decades; the arbiter of architectural taste to generations of designers and courtiers". Tinniswood tries to put the man back into the genius, despite conceding that "we need to appreciate that Wren's work was his life". The domestic details of Wren's complex private life are carefully detailed, but Tinniswood often seems overawed by his hero, especially when trying to come to grips with the finer points of Wren's mathematical achievements and his extraordinary architectural output, which require a more scholarly grasp than Tinniswood is able to provide. Concluding that no one "has ever possessed as much vision as Christopher Wren", some may feel that Tinniswood himself has identified, but ultimately failed to capture the precise nature of this remarkable vision. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"This lively, sympathetic and hugely informative biography brings us closer to Wren than ever before" (Frances Spalding Independent)
"Cleanly written, diligently researched and powered by an engrossing passion for its subject" (Andrew Motion Financial Times)
"Adrian Tinniswood is undaunted by the breadth of Wren's career and has written a fine, well-balanced biography" (Michael Prodger Sunday Telegraph)
"Lively, knowledgeable, affectionate...[a] fine biography" (Jenny Uglow Sunday Times)
"This work is by no means a conventional architectural history. But then Christopher Wren was by no means a conventional architect" (Peter J.M. Wayne Spectator)
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