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Witley Park, Surrey

Valeria Carullo

HL Wainwright's elegant photograph of a modernist house frames fluid space with strong clean lines

Witley Park, near Godalming, Surrey
Witley Park, near Godalming, Surrey Credit: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Dell & Wainwright were one of the great partnerships in the history of British photography. Their innovative work for the Architectural Review was extremely influential on both their contemporaries in the 1930s and the younger generation of photographers who operated after the war. While a reasonable amount of information has so far been available on Mark Oliver Dell (1883-1959), hardly anything was known about his partner HL Wainwright – other than that he was originally one of Dell’s students and much younger than him. A recent breakthrough – courtesy of the RIBA Information Centre – has been his identification as Herbert Lionel Wainwright, born in London in 1902. After Dell retired in 1946, Wainwright, who died 30 years later, continued working in the modernist tradition and to a very high standard, as demonstrated by this photograph of a house designed by Patrick Gwynne in 1962. The vertical and diagonal lines create a beautifully balanced composition that draws the eye towards the window in the background. Graphically strong, the image also conveys the fluidity of the space and its simple modern décor. 

Valeria Carullo