Sir Aston Webb PRIBA (1849-1930)

The architect Aston Webb worked for Banks and then Charles Barry junior, later becoming the partner of Ingress Bell, with whom he carried out many important commissions. He rose to become PRIBA in 1902-4, during which last year he was knighted. In 1919, at the age of 70, he was elected President of the Royal Academy. During his time as PRA, the Summer Exhibitions were entrusted to Selection and Hanging Committees (previously the full Council). The Academy argued strongly for the preservation of London churches, and Webb also presided over a change in the balance of power of the Tate Gallery and the Royal Academy regarding the Chantrey Bequest. During Webb's period of office, the Academy hatched the idea of a Royal Fine Art Commission to advise the Government on the design of new monuments and buildings, and on other artistic matters. Webb was PRA until 1924, when he was succeeded by Frank Dicksee.

Webb was the architect of many important London buildings around the turn of the century. He designed the Imperial College of Science (only the tower survives), the eastern facade of Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch on the Mall, and the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum. His also is the Metropolitan Life Assurance building, Moorgate. One of his most impressive works (again with Ingress Bell) outside London was the brightly coloured Victoria Law Courts in Birmingham.

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