Notes on The Architect in Georgian Britain

The remit of the architect in the 18th century became all-encompassing. It was in this period that the role flourished in such a way that had been unrealised in preceding centuries. Indeed, considering the great names in architecture of the era, one would associate a fame: These men were not merely builders, but gentlemen of … Continue reading Notes on The Architect in Georgian Britain

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 Development of the ‘Picturesque’ in Landscape Gardening – Formal to Informal

It was in the 18th century that criticism notes the dissent from the model of the ‘formal’ garden[1] and the emergence of an ‘informal’ garden[2] style seen across alternatives which included the proposition of the ‘English Landscape’ and ‘Picturesque’ garden[3]. Indeed, Sellers writes that ‘at the beginning of the eighteenth century […] the first voices … Continue reading The Development of the ‘Picturesque’ in Landscape Gardening – Formal to Informal

The Development of the ‘Picturesque’ in Landscape Gardening – Introduction

The ‘Picturesque’ figures predominantly in 18th century British landscape debate. In terms of gardening and design theory, the ‘Picturesque’ evolves from the transition in the formal gardens of earlier Renaissance and Baroque landscapes[1] to greater informality and natural characteristics, evidenced in the British countryside and merited for its own distinctively rugged beauty. Christopher Hussey defined … Continue reading The Development of the ‘Picturesque’ in Landscape Gardening – Introduction

Displaying Porcelain in the 17th and 18th Centuries

The porcelain displays of William and Mary were prevalent on a lesser scale (in terms of grandeur, moving on from the baroque palace) in the Dutch interior of the 17th century where Chinese pieces were a desirable luxury and a popular commodity among the affluent [1]. Here, choice examples of an eclectic variety (vases, bowls, … Continue reading Displaying Porcelain in the 17th and 18th Centuries

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

Musings: Boucher, Women and Ownership in Rococo Painting

The open display of the female body in the private arts becomes synonymous with questions of ownership. Boucher’s painting of the nude is intimately bound with the patron. In the 18th century, sensual scenes involving European mistresses serve to demonstrate what Cavendish identifies as a “contemporary vogue for erotic intrigue among the French nobility”. Jean … Continue reading Musings: Boucher, Women and Ownership in Rococo Painting

Tastes and Collecting: The Appetite for Chinese Porcelain in Britain (1)

The collection and display of Chinese porcelain, both in Britain and on the continent, acted as a social signifier of taste, status and sensibility - significantly figuring in interior decoration of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Greatly accumulated and emulated, porcellena, from the Italian was held in high esteem and revered as a … Continue reading Tastes and Collecting: The Appetite for Chinese Porcelain in Britain (1)