The Architecture of William Lawrence Bottomley Review

A Look at The Architecture of William Lawrence Bottomley


Bruce Wentworth, AIA, president of Wentworth has written numerous articles on residential design and remodeling (which can be read here on our website). This blog post will discuss not one of his articles but a book review about the renowned architect William Lawrence Bottomley.

Bruce reviewed The Architecture of William Lawrence Bottomley by Susan Hume Frazer, and the review is featured in Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 116, No. 1.

Frazer’s book is about the work of William Lawrence Bottomley, an American architect with a 40-year career—he designed over 180 commissions, most of them in Virginia. He is known as one of the most prominent Colonial Revival designers of residential buildings in the U.S.

Bruce’s Book Review

In his review, Bruce demonstrates his extensive knowledge of the design world and Bottomley’s architecture work:

“There were only a handful of memorable American architects who practiced traditional residential architecture during the 1920s and 1930s,” he writes. “Although William Lawrence Bottomley was not a star-architect among contemporary architects of his time, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, he was a remarkably skilled traditionalist. As such, Bottomley was one of the finest talents of his era.”

Bruce further discusses specifics about Bottomley’s style:

“…Bottomley’s work provided a sophisticated range in both scale and style. His projects ranged from the smallest, such as the Davis family museum, to a large country home called Redesdale in Henrico County. His design skills allowed him to work in a range of styles from Georgian, Colonial, and Mediterranean to Art Deco…”

According to Bruce, Frazer “is to be commended for her thoughtful and extensive research into Bottomley’s life and work” and “provides an in-depth view of how Bottomley’s personal and professional lives intertwined.”

In conclusion, Bruce writes, “The current generation of architects can learn much by studying Bottomley’s work for traditional detailing and proportions. The Architecture of William Lawrence Bottomley synthesizes the architect’s personal life, design projects, and clients. It illustrates how great residential architecture is created when talent meets opportunity.”

The full book review can be viewed here, starting at the bottom of page 2 of the PDF.

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