Geoffrey Scott (architectural historian)

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Geoffrey Scott (11 June 1884 – 14 August 1929) was an English scholar and poet, known as a historian of architecture. His biography of Isabelle de Charrière entitled The Portrait of Zelide won the 1925 James Tait Black Memorial Prize.


Born in Hampstead, Scott was educated at Highgate School, then Rugby School and New College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize in 1906. While still an undergraduate he was befriended by Mary Berenson, leading to his admission to the Florence 'circle' of Bernard Berenson. From 1907 to 1909 he was employed by Berenson; he worked on the design of the garden of I Tatti, the Berenson villa, with Cecil Ross Pinsent. This led to work on other gardens. It also brought him the friendship of John Maynard Keynes, who met him there.

In 1914 the publication of The Architecture of Humanism made his reputation. In 1916, he married[1] Lady Sybil Cutting, whose first husband, William Bayard Cutting Jr., died in 1910, and who would later marry Percy Lubbock. With little in the way of career, it has been suggested that an unlikely love affair with Vita Sackville-West from 1923 to 1925 spurred him into his later literary production.

At the time of his death, of pneumonia in New York City, Geoffrey Scott had been retained as an editor of the papers of James Boswell.

He was one of Edith Wharton's close friends.


  • The Architecture of Humanism: A Study in the History of Taste (1914)
  • A Box of Paints (1923) poems
  • The Portrait of Zélide (1925) biography of Isabelle de Charrière[2]
  • Poems (1931)


  • Geoffrey Scott and the Berenson Circle: Literary and Aesthetic Life in the Early 20th Century (1998) Richard M. Dunn