The Lutyens Trust has generously loaned two letters and accompanying little watercolours by Edwin Lutyens to the Museum
One of the letters is to Mr Mangles (1891). It is headed “re. Anteroom” and describes a design for a ceiling. The other letter is to Miss Mangles (1900). In this Lutyens says “Here is your little sketch. I have done my best to keep it! As it belongs to very happy and exciting days. It is nice of you to remember it. I yet hope it may complete its mission and induce you to build” – the sketch is labelled “proposed cottage for Miss Mangles at Puttenham”
In the People’s Gallery in the museum we have the following information:-
Henry Albert (Harry) Mangles (1833 – 1908) was born at Flexford near Puttenham. He was a friend of Gertrude Jekyll, who drove over in her pony and trap to meet him at Littleworth, in Seale, a house built in 1872 by Norman Shaw. The friendship of Jekyll and Lutyens began at Littleworth, and Edwin Lutyens describes his meeting with Gertrude Jekyll when he was just 19, “It was in 1889 that Mr Harry Mangles asked me to meet his remarkable friend Miss Jekyll. I eagerly accepted this privilege. We met at a tea table, the silver kettle and the conversation reflecting rhododendrons.” Lutyens designed the gazebo and donkey shelter at Littleworth, and Harry commissioned Lutyens to design a gardener’s cottage, Squirrel Hill (RIBA have a watercolour sketch for Squirrel Hill dated May 1889, published in RIBA drawings monographs no 1, Sketches by Sir Edwin Lutyens, by Margaret Richardson).
Harry was unmarried and lived with his two sisters Rose (1835 – 1901) and Clara (1846 – 1931). He was a philanthropist and had great interest in gardening, trees and rhododendrons. His knowledge of rhododendrons came from his brother, James Henry Mangles of Valewood, near Lurgashall, Sussex. Harry became a nurseryman, specialising in hybrid rhododendrons, and in 1882 he exhibited “Alice Mangles” named after his sister. Many of his rhododendrons survive at Littleworth. Harry and his sisters are buried in Seale churchyard.”