British Art: from Tudor Times to the 19th century (22, 29/10, 5, 12, 19/11/19)
This term at Strawberry Hill we will be looking at the transformations British art went through from the early Tudor times to the century in which Turner moved to Twickenham!
Tuesday 22 October 2019: Tudor and Stuart Painting in Britain
The Reformation of the 1530s, in which the religion of England changed from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism under King Henry VIII, transformed painting in England. We will examine how and why painting from the 1500s to the late 1600s transformed from a realistic, Renaissance style as seen in the work of Hans Holbein, to an odd, stiff and at times ‘primitive’ style in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Then in the 1600s King Charles I, a great patron of the arts, came to the throne and painting transformed again when he invited to England the superstar portrait painter Anthony Van Dyck, who can be seen as a catalyst for the coming of the Golden Age of British Art.
29/10/19: William Hogarth and the Rise of English National Identity
William Hogarth is one of the major 18th artists representing the Golden Age of British Art. He was not a man to flatter his sitters, so he was never too successful at portrait painting and instead turned to what became very popular paintings and prints exploring political and social issues, in which he criticised and poked fun at anyone and everyone. He was very proud of being English and his worked both incorporated and generated new stereotypes of what ‘being English’ meant, some of which still exist today. He was also a major promoter of British artists which helped a younger generation of English artists achieve greater successes than had been seen before.
5/11/19: The Profitable Art of Flattery:
Reynolds, Gainsborough and Portraiture in the 18th Century
By the latter half of the 1700s British artists were making their mark and if they wanted to make money then portraiture was the genre to focus on. The two most successful portrait painters of the day were Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. Both worked in very different styles which reflected different modes of flattery as well as fashionable aspects of 18th century society and culture. The other key ‘portrait’ painter we will look at is George Stubbs, who did not paint portraits of people but animals – he was the horse painter par excellence who showed us, with scientific exactitude, that animals could be a worthy subject for art.
12/11/19: The Struggle of History Painting:
Politics, Propaganda and Revolution in the 18th Century
In the 1700s history painting was considered the highest, most noble and most intellectual form of art because the paintings dealt with stories from history, the bible or literature, so they were not only compositionally more complex but they also dealt with political and/or philosophical issues. However this meant that history painting was fraught with potential problems as they could contain messages of radical thinking, challenges to the status quo, religious controversies or even revolution! Therefore only a few artists were brave enough to paint history paintings and in this talk we will hear about their stories, look at their works, unpick the politics and begin to understand why it was so hard to be a successful history painter!
19/11/19: Transforming Nature:
Turner, Constable and the Rise of British Landscape Painting
Landscape painting had long been regarded as one of the lower genres of art – understood as merely topographical it was seen to lack the drama, narrative, complexity or intellectual content of history painting and therefore it was not respected. In the early 1800s however two young Romantic British artists challenged many of the ideas around what a landscape painting could be about. J.M.W Turner made his landscapes dramatic and lifted them to the level of history painting, while John Constable’s landscapes were idyllic with a strong focus on the observation of nature. One was successful, the other less-so, but both radically transformed the possibilities of landscape painting.
The talks will take place on
Strawberry Hill House
The Square Education Room
268 Waldegrave Rd, Twickenham TW1 4ST
£12 per lecture (Please book the number of tickets you would like to buy, and specify the dates separatedly)
The Square Education Room is separate from the main historic house so please enter via the lawns and under the iron staircase. Signage will be put up and ‘front of house’ staff will be able to direct you to the right place.
NB The award winning Café occupies the ambient Great Cloister of Strawberry Hill House and enjoys glorious views across Horace Walpole’s 18th century naturalistic garden. The fresh menu is seasonal and delicious, where all ingredients are carefully chosen and they cater for all dietary needs. From tantalising lunches freshly prepared in their kitchen to their tempting home-baked cakes and cookies. So you might want to come a bit earlier and enjoy your lunch at the house!
More lectures at Strawberry Hill House coming in 2020! Please pencil Tuesday 11th February – through to Tuesday 10th March into your diaries!