Louis Osman FRIBA (1914 – 1996)

Staunton Harold: Restoration of the Organ (1953)


Pen, ink, and watercolour

63 x 63 cm

Titled below, signed lower right, and labelled in Osman’s hand.

Osman’s architectural design for the restoration of the organ at Staunton Harold Church, part of the Staunton Harold estate. The church, known as the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, is a 1653-built Gothic chapel. It was commissioned by Sir Robert Shirley (the Shirley family were Anglicans and Royalists, and the ornate design of the church is likely why Sir Robert was imprisoned under Oliver Cromwell).

Osman was as much an artist as an architect. This is likely a portfolio piece from his time studying at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and is as such a piece of architectural history as well as a beautiful Osman design. Osman was awarded a First Class degree and the Donaldson Medal of the RIBA (for the best result in his year group) by the Bartlett, and then went on to the Slade School of Art. He subsequently trained with Sir Albert Richardson – we also have several Richardson works in our collection.

After the war, Osman busied himself as an architect. His work included contributions to Westminster Abbey, and Lincoln, Exeter, Ely, and Lichfield Cathedrals, Staunton Harold Church in Ashby de la Zouch for the National Trust, and of course his folly: the Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house, Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire, now a National Trust property.

At Canons Ashby he established a workshop and had a team of silversmiths and goldsmiths working for him. In 1976 he made the gold enamelled coffin that holds the copy of the Magna Carta on view in the United States Capitol, Washington, DC.

Condition: some age toning, and signs of having been a working drawing.

If you’d like to know more, please email info@manningfineart.co.uk or call us on 07929 749056.