R. A. Lawson : Victorian Architect of Dunedin
Following the discovery of gold in Otago in the early 1860's, the settlement of Dunedin quickly grew to become the largest and richest city in New Zealand. Architects came to the young city for they knew that gold meant not only mining, but growth and building. Amongst this inflow was the young Scottish born and educated architect, Robert Arthur Lawson, who, following several years working in the gold fields in Australia, entered and won a competition for the design of the First Presbyterian Church of Otago. This building was to become the most impressive of all 19th century churches in New Zealand. Lawson became more than a leading architect of the day, he was deeply involved in the management and affairs of his beloved Presbyterian Church. Over a period of just 28 years Lawson played a major role in the growth of Dunedin - taking it from a small undistinguished township to a city of remarkable and enduring Victorian architecture. The soaring spires and grand arches of Lawson's buildings captured public imagination throughout the province; his work survives in many towns in Otago and Southland. His most significant work - First Presbyterian Church of Otago, Knox Presbyterian Church, Larnach Castle, Otago Boys' High School, Dunedin Municipal Building - take their place amongst the country's most important historical buildings. In R A Lawson - Norman Ledgerwood celebrates the life and career of Lawson and examines the machinations of church and city leaders. Graham Warman's splendid photographs offer a unique tour of the living legacy of Lawson's most prominent buildings. This handsome volume is printed on fine art paper and is richly illustrated throughout with historical and contemporary photographs, as well as many of Lawson's architectural drawings.