A Monumental Feat

Buckingham Palace is dismissed as "tasteful but insipid." The famous Tudor-style Liberty department store on Regent Street: "Wrong, the symmetry is wrong, the proximity to a classical facade is wrong ... and the goings-on of a store behind such a facade ... are wrongest of all." And the Hoover factory in north London, built in Art Deco style, is "Perhaps the most offensive of the modernistic atrocities along this road of typical by-pass factories." That's what Nikolaus Pevsner had to say about some of London's best-known buildings.

Nothing if not opinionated, the German-born art historian set out some...

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