Musing on the meanings behind the AR’s first ever cover
Volume One Number One
It is a well-known paradox that at a time when earthbound women once had little opportunity to effect change to shape society beyond motherhood, the heavens were full of powerful female influencers. While the Greeks had an architectural god, Hestia – who also oversaw the hearth and domesticity – Zeus’s daughters, the nine muses, were bringers of inspiration rather than figures of dominion. The very first cover of The Architectural Review, displayed here, appears to show four muses marked as ‘Tragedy, Painting, Sculpture and Music’ merging into who we can assume, judging by the miniature stone castle in her hands, is the muse of architecture. This classical depiction of a question with which we still grapple today – ‘is everything architecture?’ – quite literally presents the profession as the mother of all the arts. It is an outlook matched by the AR’s original, vast scope ‘for the artist and craftsman’. And, of course, while the image is demonstrative of the inspiration the architect draws from all manner of disciplines, it is also a powerful opening statement for the AR itself.