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Alfred Hoare Powell

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Subject: Arts and Crafts movement, Church of St Peter, Great Berkhamsted, April 14
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Alfred Hoare Powell

Alfred Hoare Powell
Born 14 April 1865
Reading, Berkshire
Died 1960
Nationality British
Occupation Architect

Brandsby Hall, Yorkshire

Bedales School
Projects Long Copse, Ewhurst, Surrey

Alfred Hoare Powell (1865–1960) was an English Arts and Crafts architect, and designer and painter of pottery.


Alfred Powell was born in Reading, Berkshire, on 14 April 1865, the son of Thomas Edward Powell by Emma Corrie.

He was the architectural pupil of John Dando Sedding, working in the 'crafted Gothic' tradition inspired by John Ruskin. His wife, Ada Louise Powell, née Lessore (1882-1956),[1] was the daughter of an artist, and studied embroidery, calligraphy and illuminating. Together Alfred and Louise Powell became celebrated as pottery designers for Wedgwoods. They hand-painted many thousands of pieces themselves and trained "paintresses" for Wedgwood. They collaborated on the revitalisation of the arts and crafts, rejecting industrialisation and designing furniture decoration, embroidery and ceramics, and encouraging a communitarian spirit in the South Cotswolds.

Alfred Powell with the younger architect Norman Jewson was the most significant associate of Ernest Gimson and the brothers Ernest and Sidney Barnsley at Sapperton, in Gloucestershire, in the Cotswold Arts and Crafts revival. He settled nearby at Gurners Farm, Oakridge Lynch in 1902, but sold the house in 1916, and moved to The Thatched House, Tunley near Oakridge, in the 1920s, and later lived at Tarlton near Rodmarton. He worked with Detmar Blow and F.W. Troup for both the National Trust and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

Architectural works

Powell's architectural works include a house at Brandsby Hall, Yorkshire, for Hugh Fairfax-Cholmeley; repairs at Barrington Court, Somerset and Queens' College, Cambridge; and projects with other members of the Gimson school at Pinbury Park and Rodmarton Manor, near Sapperton, and Bedales School in Hampshire. Long Copse (1897), at Ewhurst, was much praised by contemporaries; it was described by the painter G.F. Watts as the most beautiful house in Surrey.

His architectural work is described in Michael Drury’s book, Wandering Architects: In Pursuit of an Arts and Crafts Ideal.[2]

He built a summer home and pottery studio in Tarlton (). Now called Studio Cottage, it is a Grade II listed (2010) timber-framed house, with large grounds and a semi-circular ha-ha separating it from the surrounding land of the Rodmarton estate.[1] It is in a poor state of repair. It has many Arts and Crafts features and original fittings, including some Gimson works. The pottery studio is a long thatched roofed building used by the Powells in their pottery design business, and to train local workers for Wedgwood.[1]

Alfred Powell edited the memorial volume to his friend Ernest Gimson, Ernest Gimson: his life and work (1924), with contributions by William Richard Lethaby and F.L. Griggs.

Literature and Sources

  • Good Workmanship with Happy Thought: The Work of Alfred and Louise Powell, Exhibition Catalogue, 1992
  • Jacqueline Sarsby, (1997), 'Alfred Powell: Idealism and Realism in the Cotswolds', Journal of Design History, vol. 10, No. 4, Craft, Culture and Identity, pp. 375–397


  1. ^ a b c British listed buildings: Studio Cottage, Rodmarton Accessed 1 November 2012
  2. ^ Drury 2000, pp. 45-61.
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