His Invention So Fertile by Adrian Tinniswood
A Life of Christopher Wren

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In His Invention So Fertile, Adrian Tinniswood offers the first biography of Christopher Wren in a generation. It is a book that reveals the full depth of Wren's multifaceted genius, not only as one of the greatest architects who ever lived--the designer of St. Paul's Cathedral--but as an influential seventeenth-century scientist.
Tinniswood writes with insight and flair as he follows Wren from Wadham College, Oxford, through the turmoil of the English Civil War, to his role in helping to found the Royal Society--the intellectual and scientific heart of seventeenth-century England. The reader discovers that the great architect was initially an astronomer who was also deeply interested in medicine, physics, and mathematics. Family connections pulled him into architecture, with a commission to restore the chapel at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Tinniswood deftly follows Wren's rise as architect, capturing the atmosphere of Restoration London, as old Royalists scrambled for sinecures from Charles II and Wren learned the art of political infighting at court, finally becoming Surveyor of the Royal Works-the King's engineer. Most important, the author recounts the intriguing story of the building of St. Paul's. The Great Fire of 1666--vividly recreated in Tinniswood's narrative--left London a smoldering husk. Wren played a central role in reshaping the city, culminating with St. Paul's, his masterpiece--though he had to steer between King and cathedral authorities to get his radical, domed design built. As the Enlightenment dawned in England, Wren's magnificent dome rose above London, soon to become an icon of London and world architecture.
One of the most influential architects in history, Christopher Wren comes vividly to life in this fittingly grand biography.

About Adrian Tinniswood

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Adrian Tinniswood is an architectural historian who lives in the United Kingdom.
Published January 1, 2001 by Jonathan Cape. 484 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Tinniswood’s account sometimes gasps under the weight of overabundant detail, but it adds much to our understanding of Wren in the context of his time and as a craftsman whose “holistic approach to design” and “need to control every stage of the process .

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The Guardian

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His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren Adrian Tinniswood Jonathan Cape £25, pp463 In the days before the Dome and the Wobbly Bridge catapulted them blinking uncertainly above stairs, Britain's architects struggled to find explanations for the massive public indifference to them and ...

Aug 19 2001 | Read Full Review of His Invention So Fertile: A L...

Publishers Weekly

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(It was stymied by property disputes.) Nearly 30 years later, Wren planned a massive layout of blocks of structures for the Royal Naval Hospital, which was built over the next 50 years, including a Queen Anne Block to match a King Charles Block, and matching King William and Queen Mary Blocks, th...

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London Review of Books

Thus the biography sometimes turns into a catalogue of building designs, from university commissions such as Trinity College Library to the host of London parish churches Wren jointly oversaw from the 1670s;

Jul 20 2006 | Read Full Review of His Invention So Fertile: A L...

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