WEEK ONE: 8 - 12 July 2013

Course 4: Dr Ayla Lepine

Art and Architecture in Victorian London from the ‘Battle of the Styles’ to ‘Art for Art’s Sake’


Victorian art and architecture had an immense impact on London, leaving us with such diverse structures, collections and art movements as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Red House, Leighton House and the Aesthetic Movement, St Pancras Station, Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Houses of Parliament and the Albert Memorial.  Examining all of these legacies closely, this course will encourage students to look afresh at nineteenth-century taste and innovation, and question to what extent Victorian art and architecture relied on old traditions to convey modern values. Both in the classroom and in a series of visits to London buildings and art collections, students will consider different approaches to this important period in British history.

Students will have unique opportunities to engage first-hand with the forms and functions of buildings and objects, using collections held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Britain and the RIBA to gain in-depth understanding of nineteenth-century art and ideas. Decorative arts, interior design, fashion and the popular press will also be taken into account. By looking closely and applying an array of art historical methodologies, we will engage with fundamental ideas about beauty, labour and commerce when London was at the centre of the world’s largest empire.

If you would like to pursue your interest in Victorian art and architecture further, you may also be interested in our Study Tour to Victorian Oxford, conducted by Dr Carol Jacobi from 7-8 September.


WEEK TWO: 15 - 19 July 2013

Course 12: Dr Paula Henderson

Shakespeare’s London: Art, Architecture and Places of Pleasure



William Shakespeare lived in London during the decades before and after the turn of the seventeenth century, a ‘golden age’ for the city. While London had become overcrowded, increasingly squalid and plague-ridden, it was also the epicentre of wealth, opportunity and fashion. Courtiers and aristocrats, aware of the benefits of royal patronage and the amusements of the metropolis, acquired grand mansions, which they complemented with fine gardens and orchards.  Although very little survives, we will create a vivid picture of the ‘flower of Cities all’ by analysing the earliest maps of the city, portraiture, decorative arts and costume, architecture and finally the larger urban landscape. We will also consider the many ‘places of pleasure’ that were enjoyed by Londoners from all strata of society:  sporting grounds, the theatres visited by an estimated 15,000 Londoners each week, the arenas used for the brutal spectacles of cock-fighting, bear- and bull-baiting, and, finally, the public spaces that were so rapidly being swallowed up by development. Visits will include the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Banqueting House, Whitehall, the Inns of Court and the British Library.


WEEK THREE: 22 - 26 July 2013

Course 20: Dr Lucy Jessop

‘The Impossibility of Being Dull’: Architecture in London, 1715-1820


When Charles Lamb wrote to Wordsworth in 1801 of his beloved London, he was thinking of a city seething with life and variety, a setting for the lives of people of every class. During the eighteenth century, London established itself as not only the heart of the new Great Britain but also of a growing empire, and as a centre of international trade. This course will consider the building boom experienced by the city in the long eighteenth century: the vast speculative estates around the West End, Bloomsbury and their successors, the growing number of government and public buildings, the magnificent houses of the aristocracy and plutocracy in both urban and suburban London, and places of entertainment, business and worship. We will examine the development of key building types, areas and individual structures, whilst also considering the milieu of the architects and craftsmen who constructed them and the people who used them. Visits may include several walking tours, Kenwood House, the drawings collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum and, of course, an exploration of The Courtauld’s home, Somerset House.