Partner Geoffrey Scott

Queer Places:
Villa I Tatti, Via Vincigliata, 26, 50014 Fiesole FI
Villa Dell'Ombrellino, 50124 Firenze FI, Italia
Villa Capponi, Via del Pian dei Giullari, 3, 50125 Firenze FI

Photo courtesy of the Walter Gleason Collection, The Monuments Men Foundation Collection, the National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA.Cecil Ross Pinsent (May 5, 1884 - December 5, 1963) was a British garden designer and architect, noted for the innovative gardens which he designed in Tuscany between 1909 and 1939. These imaginatively revisited the concepts of Italian 16th-century designers. He was one of the Monument Men during World War II.

Cecil Ross Pinsent was born in Uruguay on 5 May 1884, at Montevideo, the son of Ross Pinsent (a businessman with railway interests) and Alice Pinsent. He studied architecture in Britain. Between 1901 and 1906 he spent some time making topographic drawings of churches and houses in Britain and France; and by 1906 he was making similar drawings in Italy.

Geoffrey Scott and Cecil Pinsent in Battery Park, New York, August 1929. [Courtesy of Dr John Scott]
Geoffrey Scott and Cecil Pinsent in Battery Park, New York, August 1929. [Courtesy of Dr John Scott]

He was introduced to his future partner Geoffrey Scott by American art historian, Bernard Berenson, and his wife, Mary Berenson. Berenson had employed Scott as his librarian, and Pinsent assisted with work on Berenson's Villa I Tatti. Through Berenson, Pinsent gained access to a rich clientele, drawn from the English-speaking community in Tuscany. His clients included Charles Alexander Loeser, Charles Augustus Strong, Mrs Alice Keppel, Lady Sybil Cutting (who married Scott) and her daughter, the historian Iris Origo. Pinsent began by making alterations to connoisseur Charles Alexander Loeser's Villa Torri Gattaia, in 1907; and went on to design gardens at Berenson's Villa I Tatti (1909-1914), Strong's Villa Le Balze (1911-1913), the Origos' La Foce (1927-1939) and Villa Capponi (from 1939).

Among the other works by the British landscape architect, the projects of the Villa dell'Ombrellino in Bellosguardo of 1926 , of the garden of Villa Sparta (for Elena of Romania ) and restoration of the church of San Bernardino in Pienza from 1935 .

From 1939 to the late 1950s Pinsent lived in Britain - apart from a short visit to Italy in 1944-5. During this time in Italy, he worked on the restoration of villas and gardens damaged by the War.[3] In the late 1950s he settled in Switzerland.

Pinsent died on 5 December 1963, at Hilterfingen, Switzerland. Some of Pinsent's drawings are held in London in the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

My published books:

See my published books