Kerry Downes

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Kerry John Downes (1930–2019[1]) was an English architectural historian whose speciality was English Baroque architecture. He was the son of the organist Ralph Downes (1904–1993). He studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he was inspired by the lectures of Margaret Whinney.[2] He wrote about (among other things) the English architects Nicholas Hawksmoor (c. 1661–1736), Sir John Vanbrugh (1664–1726) and Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723), and the Flemish painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). His fellow historian James Stevens Curl has written, "Downes's productivity seems to contradict his claim that procrastination is one of his recreations".[3]

In 1993, a collection of 24 original essays by colleagues, pupils and friends was dedicated to him, entitled English Architecture Public and Private: Essays for Kerry Downes.[4]

Downes died in York on 11 August 2019, aged 88.[5]


  • Hawksmoor, 1970, Thames and Hudson ISBN 978-0500181034.
  • Vanbrugh, 1977, London: A. Zwemmer Ltd ASIN B004H74CP6.
  • Georgian Cities of Britain, 1979, Phaidon Press ISBN 978-0714819488.
  • Sir Christopher Wren, 1982, Trefoil Publications Ltd ISBN 978-0862940300.
  • The Architecture of Wren, 1982, Universe Publishing ISBN 978-0876633953.
  • Sir John Vanbrugh: A Biography, 1987, Sidgwick & Jackson ISBN 978-0283994975.
  • Sir Christopher Wren: The Design of St. Paul's Cathedral, 1989, Aia Press ISBN 978-0913962909.
  • Rubens, 2006, Chaucer Press ISBN 978-1904449201.
  • Christopher Wren, 2007, Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0199534517.


  1. ^ Chaney, Edward (9 September 2019). "Kerry Downes obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Downes, Kerry". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  3. ^ Curl, James Stevens (23 February 2006). "Downes, Kerry John". A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-860678-9. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  4. ^ Bold, John; Chaney, Edward, eds. (1 July 1993). English Architecture Public and Private: Essays for Kerry Downes. London: Hambledon Press. ISBN 978-1852850951.
  5. ^ Bold, John. "In Memoriam Kerry Downes". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 5 September 2019.