The English Country House and British Identity: A Four-Part Course with Dr. Oliver Cox - Context Travel

The English Country House and British Identity: A Four-Part Course with Dr. Oliver Cox


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This course explores the history of the English country house from the seventeenth century to the present day and explains the building blocks of country house life – from estate management through to architecture. Country houses, far from being retreats from the hustle and bustle of England’s booming cities, were closely connected to innovations in finance, new commercial initiatives, and the dramatic expansion of the British Empire (including the trade in enslaved people). Country houses, therefore, encase in brick and stone particular notions of English identity – and these ideas and ideals have changed and morphed over time.

This course will highlight pivotal moments in the development of the English country house as an architectural form from the first flowerings of Italian-inspired classical architecture, through to country houses’ unlikely survival as heritage attractions into the twenty-first century. We will celebrate moments of sublime architectural achievement, and delve deep into the archives to understand how country houses were paid for. Taken collectively, the country houses of England have helped shape our ‘Island story’, both in what they celebrate and – perhaps most significantly – in what they have consciously forgotten.

Led by an expert on the history and preservation of English country houses, Dr. Oliver Cox, this course will examine the form, function, and place of these houses in the development of British identity. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the form, function, and purpose of these iconic buildings.

 

Lecture 1: What is a Country House, and Why Do They Still Matter?

Our first session will introduce us to the birth of the idea of the country house and examine its relevance and significance in the twenty-first century.

Lecture 2: Medieval to Early Modern: Country Houses, 1500-1700

Our second session will delve into the history, function, and style of the country house as well as some of the most prominent examples from the medieval through early modern periods.

Lecture 3: Glorious Georgians and Vulgar Victorians–Country Houses, 1700-1900

Our third session will explore the society and sensibilities which influenced the evolution of the country house during the Georgian and Victorian eras.

Lecture 4: Lazarus–How the Country House Came Back from the Dead, 1900-2021

Our fourth and final session will examine the decline and rebirth of the country house during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Dr. Oliver Cox is Heritage Engagement Fellow at the University of Oxford. He leads the University’s partnership work with the UK and international heritage community, and is co-lead of the Oxford University Heritage Network. He is a is a historian with particular interest in the social and cultural history of the country house, and received his undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford. Oliver has published widely on topics including eighteenth-century landscape design and the position of the country house in modern Britain, lectured extensively across the USA, acts as a research and exhibitions consultant for a range of country houses, and is a trustee of a leading regional art gallery.

 

How does it work?

This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $140 for four lectures.

Is a recording available?

Yes. If you need to miss a lecture, you will be sent a recording after the event.

This course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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(5)
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N
N.J.G.
Smashing Coverage!

Dr. Cox's four-part course on the English Country House is a thoughtful, comprehensive study of the past, present, and future of one of England's greatest treasures. His lectures and enthusiastic interaction with viewers show a scholar at the top of his game.

J
J.C.

Guest did not leave comment

P
P.M.
The English Country House Course

Brilliant course! As an Art Historian, specialist on the 18th century in Britain, I was delighted to attend Dr Cox’s Course. He is extremely knowledgeable and delights us with a wonderful journey through the history and identity of the British Country House from the medieval ages to the XXI century. I am very much looking forward to The History of the London House Course with Dr Cox and would love for him to do more seminars on individual British Country Houses.

J
J.F.

Guest did not leave comment

S
S.H.

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
100%
(5)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
N
N.J.G.
Smashing Coverage!

Dr. Cox's four-part course on the English Country House is a thoughtful, comprehensive study of the past, present, and future of one of England's greatest treasures. His lectures and enthusiastic interaction with viewers show a scholar at the top of his game.

J
J.C.

Guest did not leave comment

P
P.M.
The English Country House Course

Brilliant course! As an Art Historian, specialist on the 18th century in Britain, I was delighted to attend Dr Cox’s Course. He is extremely knowledgeable and delights us with a wonderful journey through the history and identity of the British Country House from the medieval ages to the XXI century. I am very much looking forward to The History of the London House Course with Dr Cox and would love for him to do more seminars on individual British Country Houses.

J
J.F.

Guest did not leave comment

S
S.H.

Guest did not leave comment