On Monday 8th October 2018 at St. Luke’s Hall, St. Luke’s St., SW3 a capacity audience of members of The Chelsea Society and their friends heard a fascinating talk by James Stourton.
James is the author of “British Embassies: their diplomatic and architectural history” and spoke about the structure and history of these magnificent buildings, which have served as residences for British Ambassadors around the world. The audience included former ambassadors and their wives and widows.
What the audience most enjoyed was the skillful blend of deep architectural knowledge, historical context deftly summarized, and the human touch of the individual ambassadors and their impact on world events.
James Stourton is a Former Chairman of Sotheby’s UK, and author of many books including “The British as Art Collectors from the Tudors to the Present” and an acclaimed biography of Lord (Kenneth) Clark. The British Embassies were photographed in detail by Luke White, and the book was launched at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
They travelled to 26 cities from Cairo to Kuwait, Rangoon to Rome, a choice both personal and pragmatic, to record the buildings as they are today and to investigate the stories behind their facades while James’s research took him through numerous sources and early diplomatic memoirs plus interviews with retired diplomats. The journey is full of fascinating anecdote and humour showing how our embassies continue to reflect our national character.