Reading Britain’s Ruins: month the first

Posted by Peter Lindfield on September 30, 2015 in Uncategorized tagged with

The first month of my postdoctoral fellowship on the AHRC-funded project,  Writing Britain’s Ruins, 1700–1840: The Architectural Imagination, based at the University of Stirling has been eventful. Not only have I moved to Stirling directly following a fellowship at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, but I have also joined a new, and dynamic, department (transitioning from Art History to Literature certainly represents the project’s interdisciplinary ethos).

Thus far I have been developing my research outputs and making preparations for the project’s main conference: Reading Architecture Across the Arts and Humanities (6–7 December 2015). The conference’s call for papers has received tremendously strong response, with in excess of 80 proposals for the one-day conference (now extended to two days), details available at https://stirarch.wordpress.com. Drawing up the programme is going to be a challenge!

In terms of my research outputs, I’m completing my monograph, Georgian Gothic: Designing British Medievalist Architecture and Interiors 1740–1840, which is due with the publisher, Boydell & Brewer, by 1 December 2015. Currently I’m putting the finishing touches to my last chapter on Regency Gothic architecture, interiors and furniture. I’m also working on a follow-up note to a co-authored essay with Matthew Reeve (Queen’s University, Canada) exploring the newly-discovered manuscript evidence relating to Lee Priory, a Gothic Revival House referred to Horace Walpole as ‘a child of Strawberry [Hill]’, appearing in The Burlington Magazine.

Dixon, Lee Priory, Kent, 1785, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1975.1.8

Dixon, Lee Priory, Kent, 1785, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1975.1.8

For most of September, however, I was developing my reading of a uniquely British interpretation of medieval design — Neoclassical Gothic — promoted in particular by Robert Adam. Stirling has a rich resource demonstrating the breadth of Adam’s Gothic style, Airthrey Castle, which, along with an outline of his work at Croome Court, Worcestershire, and Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, will be the subject of my October post.

Airthrey Castle, Garden Façade

Airthrey Castle, Garden Façade

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