House in Poland. M. H. Baillie Scott. 1903. “widok od pd. zach [View from the southwest].” Wg [According to] The Builder (31 October 1908). Click on image to enlarge it.

Two Polish Projects of M.H. Baillie Scott

The problem of Polish-English artistic relations is, no doubt, a very large subject, and the influence of the English art can he noticed in the Polisli [Polish] culture since the middle of the eighteenth century. The cultural relations between Poland and England have become closer during the nineteenth century and they include a wide scope of problems; one of the most important among them is the influence of architecture and architectonic thought bom in the circle of the «Arts and Crafts» movement on the Polish architecture of tlie beginning of the 20th century. The role of the architecture of the circle of the Arts and Crafts movement in the development of the national romanticism has been the subject of research in many countries for a few years. Strong dependence of the national Finnish style upon the English patterns has been proved, especially in the works of the Geselius-Lindgrcn-Saarincn company and that of Lars Sonck. Similar dependence has been observed in the Hungarian architecture, among others in the works of Karoly Kos and Thorocz-kai Wigarid - and in Czech - first of all in the activity of Dugan Jurkovic. The influence of English patterns on the architecture of so-called Heimatstil in the territories of German speaking countries has also been for years the subject of research. The problem of the influence of the English theory and architectonica! practice from the circle of the Arts and Crafts movement on the Polish art has been till recently the subject of research mostly in the field of domestic architecture and the Garden Cities planning, also of the design, but it seems that it had also an important although undirccl influence on a number of other occurences counted among the features of the national romanticism of the period 1905-1914, such as e.g.the sacral architecture of a vernacular style".

Among the English architects whose activity played an important role outside the British Isles P[hilip]. Webb and G. Devey are mentioned, and from the younger generation W.R. Lethaby, C.F.A. Vovsey, C.R. Ashbee, E. Luytens and M.H. Baillie Scott. The last one received quite often orders from non-British customers. Among numerous commissions from outside Great Britain Baillie Scott had on his score also two orders from Polish customers.

First of the two projects for the Polish customers was made in 1903. Unfortunately we do not know either the name of the place the project was made for or that of the customer. One can only assume that the abode had to be constructed on the territory of the Russian sector of partitioned Poland. From the situational plan appears that the newly-projected house was to be erected on the territory of an already existing residence situated on a lake shore. The principal compositional idea of the interior was the grouping of main rooms around a two-storey main hall. At the ground-floor there were a dining-room, a master and mistress bedroom, a living room and the staircase. There were also passings leading from the hall to other parts of the house. On the first floor the main hall was coloured by a wooden gallery into that bedrooms with bathrooms and the library opened.

The exterior mass of the house, known from the view from the side of live lake only, was irregular, owing to many unsymetrically placed breaks and numerous ..gardenrooms". The whoie was dominated by an unusual ridge-and hip-roof, in the highest point, marked by the axe of the main room, i.e. the hall, reaching to the fourth floor and descending with smooth surfaces in places even to the ground. The elevations without ornaments were cut with windows of different dimensions and proportions, but rather small. This project of Baillie Scott previewed also an arrangement of the garden, with consideration of existing buildings and old trees.

The interior arrangement was based on a scheme employed by Scott a few times before. In the Red House in Douglas that Scott raised for himself, he had projected the main hall playing also the role of a living room. Such a solution was employed in a project of an abode in Blackwell, Westmorland, built up in 1898-1899 and in an unrealized project of 1901 of a “house for an art lover” prepared for a Darmstadt competition. In a project of “a house in Poland” dated of 5 years later, one can find many similarities, also in details, with a hall of the Blackwell house.

Thanks to Heinz Theuerkauf for providing the image and information from the online version of a Polish periodical hosted on the website of the library at the University of Heidelberg. The translation above comes form the site. — George P. Landow


Omilanowska, Malgorzata. Dwa Polskie Projekty M.H. Baillie Scotta. Rocznik Historii Sztuki, 22 (1996): 133ff. Web. 14 September 2020.

Last modified 14 September 2020