Charles Mewès

Charles Frédéric Mewès

Portrait of Charles Frédéric Mewès, c. 1906

Portrait of Charles Frédéric Mewès, c. 1906
Born 1858 or 1860
Died 1914
Nationality French
Alma mater École des Beaux-Arts
Occupation Architect
Practice Mewes & Davis
Buildings Hôtel Ritz Paris
Carlton Hotel, London
Royal Automobile Club
Projects Ocean Liner Amerika
Ocean Liner Vaterland
Ocean liner RMS Aquitania

Charles-Frédéric Mewès (18601914) was a French architect and designer.


Born in Alsace, Charles Frédéric Mewès (1858 or 1860-1914) grew up a Parisian after his family fled the Prussian invasion of 1870. RIBA Journal described him as "essentially a big man, both mentally and physically. He was a magnetic personality with a compelling influence tempered by a humorous and tolerant outlook on life". [1] He trained under Jean-Louis Pascal at the École des Beaux-Arts and throughout his career, eschewed Art Nouveau and the Modern style for an elegant, meticulous recall of eighteenth-century France: the logical, spatial symmetry of Louis XVI recurs continuously.

Mewès's hotels, steamer interiors, clubs, and private residences suited the Edwardians' opulent taste. He designed Ritz Hotels in Paris (1898), London (1905-1906), and Madrid (1908-1910); the London Ritz was one of Britain's earliest steel-framed buildings. Subsequently, he undertook the design of Pall Mall's largest club, the Royal Automobile Club (1910) which featured a "Pompeiian" swimming bath adapted from the earlier l'Etablissement Hydrominéral (1899-1900) at Contréxeville. His first maritime interior, the Hamburg-Amerika Line's SS Amerika was completed in 1905; the company so admired it that Mewès became their resident designer. On three German ships he incorporated a Pompeiian pool, although not on his last vessel, Cunard's Aquitania (1914).

Although Mewès only spoke French, he opened firms in both London and Cologne, Germany, with Arthur Joseph Davis,who had been his classmate at the École des Beaux-Arts, and with the Swiss Alphonse Bischoff.[2]

A brilliant and cultured man, Charles Mewès owned a refined library, especially in the design field. In October 1947 the journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects described him as "The true type of the French intellectual of good stock". He designed many admired buildings, including the colossal Château Rochefort-en-Yvelines, the Jules Ferry residence and his own residence at 36 Boulevard des Invalides in Paris. He himself became a teacher and taught many students from all over the world.

Charles Mewès bought the small castle of Scharrachbergheim in Alsace, where he spent much time with his three children after the death of his wife in 1896. He died in 1914.

Selected works


Private Residences

Ships and other


  1. Binney 2006, p. 21.
  2. Placzek, Adolf K. (1982). Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. New York: Free Press. pp. 161–162. ISBN 0-02-925000-5.
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