Homes and Gardens

Castles in the Middle Ages, Renaissance interiors, Elizabeth I, John Tradscant, Palladianism, Grand Tour, Wedgwood, Chippendale, Bath, John Nash, Queen Victoria, the Shard

Date/time:
8 January – 12 March 2019
Tuesdays 10.45am - 12.45pm
Venue:
The University Women’s Club, 2 Audley Square, London W1K 1DB
Lecturer:
Nicole Mezey
Fees:
Full course (10 lectures) £499.00
Single lecture £59.00
(includes morning coffee, tea and biscuits)

Book your place now on Homes and Gardens

“Quite the most fascinating and well-delivered lectures I’ve ever been to”
“I love Nicole’s approach – giving a real sense of time and place”

When does a house become a “home”? When does a food plot become a “garden”? How do staircases and corridors reflect a new way of life? From the defensive architecture of the moat and keep to the 21st century urban fortresses of glass and concrete, from the monastic herbal garden to Chelsea show gardens for the urban terrace, we look not only at buildings, interiors and nature but, above all, at what they tell us about how people use their spaces to manage their lives.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Hatfield House Chatsworth House

Course outline

08
Jan
2019
Introduction and the Middle Ages

“An Englishman’s home is his castle” but some “castles” are rather finer and more comfortable than others. We begin with an overview of our theme, exploring how the evolution of our domestic spaces serves changing life-styles before considering the castles, monasteries, halls and huts of the Middle Ages.

15
Jan
2019
Exile and Splendour

The triumphant return of the Tudors in 1485 brought with it the Renaissance. We look at the Continental buildings that court and monarchy aspired to emulate and how and why this changed expectations at home. And why are staircases so significant?

22
Jan
2019
Fixtures and Fittings

The later 16th century saw a real improvement in living standards across the country. We see not only the houses of the wealthy but the changing expectations of the merchant class, and the objects and furniture with which they adorned their homes. Outdoors, for the first time, we see the birth of interest in gardens, highly controlled and in tune with the indoor style of the age.

29
Jan
2019
Dynasties in Transition

Elizabeth I cannily spent much of her time as house guest of her greatest nobles and it was therefore these, rather than the monarch, who were responsible for the most sumptuous buildings of her reign. Before a Civil War put it all under threat, new comforts and sophistication become apparent in silver furniture, the work of foreign artists such as Anthony van Dyck and the plant collections and garden designs of two generations of John Tradescants.

05
Feb
2019
Privacy and Palladianism

The great Palladian houses of the 18th century represent a revolution in lifestyle as much as in architecture. Graceful and essentially rural, they combine elegance with the possibility of intimacy, comfort with a managed offer of sophisticated activities. Against a background of upheaval in France and the agricultural revolution in England, the revolution in gardening is no less profound – from geometry to the “natural” landscapes of Capability Brown.

12
Feb
2019
A Consumer Culture

New houses require new furnishings, and the Grand Tour was the perfect opportunity to acquire great collections – statuary, paintings and decorative arts reflecting a society desperate for cultural status. Side by side with this, stars of the Industrial Revolution like Josiah Wedgwood and Thomas Chippendale were developing a dazzling range of affordable new products for the rising and aspirational middle classes.

19
Feb
2019
Antique or Exotic?

The development of Bath, Buxton and other spa towns, the London buildings of John Nash, brings classical discipline to centres of fashionable society, and new public parks provide spaces for health and stylish promenades. But the Age of Reason also provokes a revolt in the form of fantasy projects drawing on influences from Indian to Gothic.

26
Feb
2019
The Victorians

Under Queen Victoria the Empire prospered, and provided exciting furnishings and plant species, staff were plentiful and the vast interiors were made more liveable by new technologies, such as electricity. For the “have-nots”, though, the reality could be a festering urban slum from which only cafes, bars and pubs provided escape.

05
Mar
2019
“You Just Can’t Get The Staff……”

The 20th C begins with the Edwardian heyday of country house living and moves to the 1974 V&A exhibition, “The Destruction of the Country House”, which recorded the loss of some 1000 country houses in barely a century. Sustained for a while by American heiresses and the commercial classes, rural and aristocratic dominance collapses and the emphasis shifts to the demands of industry, the city and the middle classes.

12
Mar
2019
Stately homes, Suburbs and Skyscapers

The dominant focus of the 20th C is urban – and so, therefore, is its architecture. Towns spread, buildings rise ever higher and private gardens are a privilege - the 20th century takes us from P. G. Wodehouse to “Digging for Britain” and the Shard.