Conference | Animating the 18th-Century Country House

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on December 13, 2014

From The National Gallery:

Animating the 18th-Century Country House
The National Gallery, London, 5 March 2015

When we visit a Georgian country house and wander through its interiors, the impression we get is of a moment frozen in time. In fact the country house was anything but a static, unchanging entity. This one-day scholarly conference encourages fresh thinking about 18th-century country houses as environments that were always evolving, animated by interactions between objects and people.

The conference will look at the ways in which objects, when placed on display within a particular space, entered into different kinds of dialogue with the contents, decoration and associations of that space. It will also explore the ways in which the evolving environment of the country house, and the forms of display found within it, were experienced; by those who lived in the house, by those who visited as tourists or invited guests, and by those who engaged vicariously through the process of ‘armchair travel’.

Organised by the National Gallery, Birkbeck (University of London), and the Paul Mellon Centre, the conference is designed for art historians and scholars of 18th-century fine and decorative arts, architecture, and garden history; curators and custodians of historic houses; and the general public interested in historic houses of the period.

Buying, collecting and display: the purchase, commissioning, inheritance, gifting of works of art, furniture, books and other materials; picture hangs; room arrangements.

The country house as a complete environment: the total effect of the 18th-century country house, and the ways in which its various elements—works of art, furniture, decorative schemes—worked together to create a complete experience.

The country house and visitor experience: country house tourism; visitor experience of houses and gardens; the multifarious literature related to country houses, including guidebooks, regional guidebooks, and periodical articles.

Book tickets here»

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10.00  Registration

10.30  Welcome and Introduction by Nicholas Penny

10.45 Panel 1: Buying, Collecting and Display
Chair: Jonathan Yarker
• Silvia Davoli, Paul Mellon Centre Research Curator at Strawberry Hill and Susan Walker, Head of Public Services at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, ‘Horace Walpole’s Strategies as a Collector and the Movement of Objects at Strawberry Hill over Fifty Years’
• Karin Wolfe, Research Fellow at the British School at Rome, ‘New Rome Animates Old Britain: The Contemporary Art Acquisitions Made in Rome by John Cecil, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648–1700), for Burghley House’
• Jon Stobart, Professor of Social History at the University of Northampton, ‘Remaking an English Country House: Craftsmen, Furnishings and Taste at Stoneleigh Abbey in the 1760s’

12.15  Lunch break

13.15 Panel 2: The Country House as a Complete Environment
Chair: Sebastian Edwards
• Richard Johns, Lecturer in History of Art at the University of York, ‘Mind the Step: Animating the Country House Staircase’
• Laurel O. Peterson, doctoral candidate in the History of Art at Yale University, ‘Decorating for the Decorated: Louis Laguerre’s Murals in the Saloon at Blenheim’
• Alison Yarrington, Professor of Art History, Dean of the School of Arts at Loughborough University, ‘Light, Camera, Action: The 6th Duke of Devonshire and the Evolution of Chatsworth’

14.45  Refreshment break

15.15  Panel 3: The Country House and Visitor Experience
Chair: Stephen Lloyd
• Anthony Geraghty, Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of York, ‘Experiencing Castle Howard’
• Stephen Bending, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton, ‘Experiencing the Country House Pleasure Garden’
• Jocelyn Anderson, Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, ‘Visitors’ Experiences and Travellers’ Writings: The 18th-Century Country House as Tourist Attraction’

16.45  Closing comments and thanks from Susanna Avery-Quash, Research Curator in the History of Collecting, National Gallery and Kate Retford, Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Art, Birkbeck, University of London

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