Basic Biographical Details

Name: Detmar Jellings Blow
Born: 24 November 1867
Died: 7 February 1939
Bio Notes: Detmar Jellings Blow was born in London on 24 November 1867, the son of Jellings Blow, a City of London merchant. He was educated at Hawtreys and at South Kensington School of Art, where in 1883 he formed a long-standing friendship with his fellow student Lutyens. In 1885 he was articled to Wilson, Son & Aldwinckle with whom he stayed for four years, attending the classes of the Architectural Association from 1887. He won both the Association's Silver Medal and travelling studentship and the Royal Academy's Silver Medal and travelling studentship, enabling him to undertake an extended continental study tour, initially with Sydney Cockerell. At Abbeville in 1888 they met Ruskin who first supervised their studies and then took Blow on a tour of Italy in the autumn and winter of 1889. On his return to London he worked with the Bond Street art dealer Arthur Collie and made the acquaintance of Sedding, Morris, Lethaby, Reginald Blomfield, Sydney Barnsley and Ernest Gimson. On Ruskin's advice he spent almost a year with a working mason in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, learning the practical business of building before completing his articles with Philip Speakman Webb, whose repair and restoration work on East Knoyle Church he supervised in 1891-93.

In 1892 Blow won the Pugin Prize and was admitted to the Art Workers' Guild. In the previous year he had been commissioned to advise on work on Hugh Fairfax Cholmeley's Gilling Castle estate, and he was formally appointed its architect in 1893. In about 1900 he formed a partnership with Lionel Francis Crane which may have continued until about 1906. A London office shared with Alfred Hoare Powell was opened at 21 Old Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, but he continued to operate a peripatetic architect-craftsman practice with a caravan until 1906 when he formed a partnership with the Frenchman Fernand Billerey, born 1878, who was eleven years younger. Billerey was Ecole des Beaux-Arts trained and much of the practice of Blow & Billerey thereafter took a French eighteenth-century character, their principal client being the Duke of Westminster.

Blow married in 1910 Winifred Tollemache, second daughter of the Hon Hamilton Tollemache of Helmingham Hall. This consolidated his high society connections, but with the advent of the First World War the practice began to run out of work. In 1916 he became the Duke of Westminster's private secretary and manager of the Grosvenor estates, although his partnership with Billerey was to continue until 1924, Billerey retaining the practice title of Blow & Billerey. Part of Blow's financial arrangements with the Duke was the gift from him of seven leases in Mayfair, the sub-leasing of which financed the Blows' lifestyle at Hilles, Gloucestershire, which they had built in 1914-17. In 1933 these arrangements turned sour with largely unfounded allegations of financial mismanagement of the Grosvenor estates and the sub-leases in particular. Although Blow repaid the monies from the sub-leases, further allegations continued to be made: Blow thereafter retired completely to Hilles where he died on 7 February 1939. Billerey survived him, living on until 1951.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6Newcastle upon Tyne, EnglandPrivate  Whilst a student, gaining practical experience with an unnamed mason
Item 2 of 621 Old Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London, EnglandBusiness1893  
Item 3 of 69, King's Bench Walk, Temple, London, EnglandBusiness1905 *  
Item 4 of 6Lavington, Petworth, Susex, London, EnglandPrivate1906 *  
Item 5 of 610, Grosvenor Road, Westminster, London, EnglandBusiness1914 *1926(?) 
Item 6 of 6Hilles, Gloucestershire, EnglandPrivate19171939 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Wilson, Son & Aldwinckle18851889Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Philip Speakman Webb18911893Apprentice 
Item 3 of 3Blow & Billerey19061924Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Frank Edward Whitingc. 1906(?)Before 1914Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Belcher3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3William Alfred Pite3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Leonard Aloysius Scott Stokes3 December 1906for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1Paul Phipps1911for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 2After 1901Cottages for the British Aluminium CompanyFoyers Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 2 of 2c. 1910Islay House IslayArgyllScotlandAlterations and additions


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 7Beauty's Awakening Beauty's Awakening: The Centenary Exhibition of the Art Workers' Guild Brighton Museum September -November 1984, Royal Pavilion Brighton 
Item 2 of 7British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 3 of 7Drury, Michael2000Wandering Architects: In Pursuit of an Arts and Crafts Ideal Stamford: Shaun TyasPassim.
Item 4 of 7Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary   
Item 5 of 7Placzek, Adolf K (ed)1982Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects New York: The Free Press/Macmillan Publishing Company 
Item 6 of 7Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 7 of 7Who's Who in Architecture1926    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder10 February 1939  p305

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v17, p75