Discovering the Landscape #7: Peter Shepheard

This month Peter Shepheard is the subject of our continuing series of blog posts about MERL’s acquisition of the archive and library of the Landscape Institute. Written by Claire Wooldridge, Landscape Institute Library Officer

Illustration by Shepheard, from Barclay-Smith, Woodland Birds (King Penguin no. 74, 1955)
Illustration by Shepheard, from Barclay-Smith, Woodland Birds (King Penguin no. 74, 1955)
Sir Peter Shepheard (1913-2002) was an influential architect and landscape architect.  After training at the Liverpool School of Architecture, Shepheard moved to London in 1937.  During WW2, Shepheard served first at the propellant planning department at the Ministry of Supply, on the construction of Royal Ordnance factories.  In 1943 he joined Abercrombie’s staff to work on the Greater London Plan for post-war regeneration and growth in the capital.  Shepheard remained at the Ministry of Town and Country Planning working on early prototypes for the new towns.  He shared a room with Hugh Casson, another significant figure in the field of architecture and design.

Shepheard, Modern Gardens (Architectural Press, 1953)
Shepheard, Modern Gardens (Architectural Press, 1953)
Barclay-Smith, (illus by Shepheard), A Book of Ducks (King Penguin no. 195158,
Barclay-Smith, (illus by Shepheard), A Book of Ducks (King Penguin no. 58, 1951)

In 1948 Shepheard formed a partnership with Derek Bridgwater and with the addition of Gabriel Espstein and Peter Hunter formed the practice of Shepheard, Epstein and Hunter where he stayed until his retirement in 1989.  Shepheard held high profile positions in professional architectural bodies: serving as president of the Architectural Association, president of the Landscape Institute from 1965-1966 and from 1969-1971 president of RIBA.  He was appointed CBE in 1972 and knighted in 1980. In 2000 he received the Landscape Institute Gold Medal.

Shepheard had a real talent for drawing, illustrating two books on ducks and woodland birds in the King Penguin series.

Nairn, Counter-Attack Against Subtopia (Architectural Press, 1957)
Nairn, Counter-Attack Against Subtopia (Architectural Press, 1957)

Interestingly, these titles are both held in the Printing Collection of the University of Reading’s Special Collections, providing a fascinating link between our MERL and Special Collections.  Shepheard’s beautifully detailed plates from Woodland Birds and the attractive cover of A Book of Ducks can be seen above.

Within our collections we have several books that relate to Shepheard, be they written by him (Modern Gardens, 1953), featuring essays written by him (Counter-attacks against Subtopia, 1957) or about him (Peter Shepheard, (Annabel Downs, ed.), 2003).

The Peter Shepheard archive (currently uncatalogued) contains drawings, photographs, project files, correspondence, personal papers and drawings of nudes and birds.

For more information see:

Archival collection at MERL: AR SHE (currently uncatalogued)

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