Garters and gardens, comfort and convenience

Posted by mjs76 at Sep 01, 2010 10:15 AM |
Our Centre for the Study of the Country House is organising a series of Study Days over the coming months with the first one on 14 September.

The Centre for the Study of the Country House is part of our Department of History of Art and Film and runs a successful MA in ‘The Country House: Art, History and Literature’. Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire is the particular country house where the Centre concentrates its studying and the venue for the three Study Days which are open to all and bookable individually.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Palace to Pleasure Garden: Thames Architecture, 1500-1800

First up is Dr Geoffrey Quilley, Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Sussex and a former Lecturer here at Leicester. Inbetween those two jobs he was Curator of Fine Art at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, which relates to his specialist knowledge of 18th century British art ‘with particular reference to the relation of art and visual culture to the development of empire and colonialism; to travel and exploration; and to the articulation of a British national identity founded on maritime commerce.’

Dr Quilley will look at the form and growth of metropolitan building on or around the Thames from Tudor times to the late 18th century in three lectures entitled

  • Magnificence and Sovereignty: Tudor royal palaces
  • Aristocratic tastes: the lure of Italy, and
  • Bourgeois civility: the development of riverside urban architecture in the eighteenth century

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Flashing the Garter: the Insignia of the Order as display of power in the country house

The saucy title of this Study Day relates to the importance of ‘The Garter’ as a symbol of monarchical power and courtly loyalty from the Tudor dynasty through the early 19th century. We still see this today, of course, in the Order of the Garter, the highest honour which can bestowed by the sovereign (membership is limited to the Queen, the Prince of Wales and no more than 24 knights and ladies). The course leader on this one will be Dr Lisa Ford who is Associate Head of Research at the Yale Center for British Art and an expert on early modern British history and Tudor court politics.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Comfort and convenience in the Country House

Dr Marilyn Palmer, Emeritus Professor of Industrial Archaeology in our School of Archaeology and Ancient History, is your guide for the third Study Day. Dr Palmer joined the University of Leicester in 1988 and was Head of School from 2000 to 2006; she edited Industrial Archaeology Review for 20 years and sits on all manner of committees for the National Trust, English Heritage and the like. While a fine country seat like Lamport Hall might not normally be considered ‘industrial’, Dr Palmer’s research (funded by a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship) is into the technological developments which were added to country houses in the 19th century.

Lamport Hall is a Grad 1 listed country house, originally built in 1560 by a wealthy merchant, John Isham, who was subsequently made the first Baronet Isham. The magnificent classical front was constructed in 1655 - when the first gardens were also laid out - and the last remnants of the original Tudor building were swept away in about 1820.

The house remained in the Isham family until the death of Sir Gyles Isham, 12th Baronet, in 1976 (he was a stage and screen actor who appeared in Anna Karenina with Greta Garbo!). The building and grounds were then given to the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust who co-organise the Country House degree and Study Days such as these.

The Hall features a magnificent collection of books, paintings and furniture, many of them aquired by the 3rd Baronet during his Grand Tour of Europe in 1670. However, there is a darker, more shameful side to Lamport Hall’s history. In 1847 the 10th Baronet, Sir Charles Isham, added German pottery figures of dwarfs to his extensive Alpine rockery and thereby introduced to Britain … the garden gnome.

Each Study Day runs from 10.30am to 3.15pm, includes three lectures plus lunch and costs £40. They are open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter and you can sign up for one, two or all three. For further information or to make a booking please contact Mrs Carol Charles in the Centre for the Study of the Country House,, tel. 0116 252 2866