The Development of the ‘Picturesque’ in English Landscape Gardening – Designers & the Country House

In gardening, the early landscape garden was a phenomenon of the English country house which depended on classical literature and imagery for its poetic and pictorial approach. Garden designers in Britain looking to underline what Pope termed the true “genius of the place”[1] by turning to the ‘idyllic images of the Roman campagna’[2] as evoked … Continue reading The Development of the ‘Picturesque’ in English Landscape Gardening – Designers & the Country House

Romanticism: Women and Realism in the poetry of William Wordsworth

The exotic, oriental, mystic and ‘Other’ qualities of Romanticism allow for the erotic and sexualised undertones of women in an escapist vein. When we invert this model, grounded in realist concerns, the naturalistic poetry of William Wordsworth appears sympathetic to the cause of women in their adversity. Critics such as Katharine Merrill have agreed that … Continue reading Romanticism: Women and Realism in the poetry of William Wordsworth

The Victorian Country House: Morality, Domesticity & Organisation

Running a household in Victorian England had become a science – with tasks to be delegated and a system of categorised activity for those at every level of society. When Girouard writes of the eminent concern for ‘morality, domesticity, organisation and hospitality’[1] in the country house the emphasis is on the rigid upholding of standards … Continue reading The Victorian Country House: Morality, Domesticity & Organisation

Prince Albert: Patron & Collector – Museums and Education in Victorian England

Albert’s German background, educational pursuits and patronage efforts accumulated in his aims for permanent museums as places of learning and leisure. Albert had a desire to reform deign and art education via a Kultuforum[1] in South Kensington, given the progressive, intellectual and reformative climate of the nineteenth century. Socially, the government had passed the Reform … Continue reading Prince Albert: Patron & Collector – Museums and Education in Victorian England

Romanticism: Women and Sexuality in ‘Kubla Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) writes Kubla Khan (1816) in a mode of escapism which was compatible with the Romantic attitude in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Kubla Khan is composed with allusions to the exotic, foreign and erotic, all which are elements of the poem’s pervading Orientalism. Drawing on connotations of “Otherness”, the … Continue reading Romanticism: Women and Sexuality in ‘Kubla Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Prince Albert: Patron & Collector – A Curatorial Character

Prince Albert had quite the curatorial character, something expressed through the fervor of his collecting habits and especially when outfitting an estate. In the management of art works belonging to the royal households, Albert proved himself to be meticulous, a factor which Lucy Whittaker examines when writing on his ‘systematic approach to art and frames’1. … Continue reading Prince Albert: Patron & Collector – A Curatorial Character

Prince Albert: Patron & Collector – Supporting the Efforts of Artists and Innovators

Prince Albert proved himself to be an involved patron using his own expertise to foster artistic talent, his twin pursuits of Northern and Italian painting inclined the prince to encourage living artists. For example, Albert acquired paintings from contemporaries such as William Dobson, William Dyce, Charles Eastlake and Michael Wittmer1, whose work added to the vocabulary … Continue reading Prince Albert: Patron & Collector – Supporting the Efforts of Artists and Innovators

Light Reading: Afternoon Tea Week

Hooray Henry! Its Afternoon Tea Week. A decidedly English habit with its own ritual, Afternoon Tea truly puts the gentility into polite society. At any rate, tea, along with luxury commodities like sugar and porcelain was formerly the preserve of the well-heeled and for the curious modern reader, promises a chequered history of questionable morals. … Continue reading Light Reading: Afternoon Tea Week