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Lectures and Seminars

At Durham University you'll find an extensive programme of public lectures and seminars. With an impressive line up of experts and renowned academics speaking on a myriad of topics, the aim is to share knowledge and encourage debate. Lectures on thought provoking subjects as diverse as history and astro-physics are aimed at a general audience and delivered at various locations across the University. Lectures in the Castle Public Lecture Series take place within the Great Hall of historic Durham Castle, while the Institute of Advanced Study hosts a year round programme of inter-disciplinary lectures. Our Museums offer public lectures to accompany exhibitions and events and our Colleges celebrate that they are scholary communities with series' such as Cafe Politique, Cafe Scientifique and Cafe des Arts.

Public lectures are free of charge and open to all.

Walpole as Designer

17th October 2017, 18:15 to 19:15, Elvet Riverside Room 141
Tercentenary Lectures: Horace Walpole and His Legacies
Enter the marvellous world of Strawberry Hill, a revolutionary neo-Gothic house designed by Horace Walpole. Join the conversation about our series Walpole and His Legacies via #WalpoleLegacies.

Horace Walpole’s little Gothic castle, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, a villa that he framed as the ‘Castle of my ancestors’, has been subject to repeated study over the past century. His infamous ‘Strawberry Committee’, incorrectly known as the ‘Committee of Taste’, was a group of male friends tasked with designing the house’s various facets, including its exterior and interior architecture, architectural decoration, and furniture. Walpole himself was at the helm of this architectural project: he actively approved of, rejected, or referred designs for reworking. He has been treated as the supervising authority regulating the house’s development, rather than a designer in his own right. What has emerged recently is that Walpole was actively generating proposals for the house, especially its internal architectural decoration, and furniture.

This lecture presents and marshals Walpole’s designs the house, almost all of which were unexecuted. It illustrates how Walpole’s involvement in Strawberry Hill’s design responded to, but also reacted against, the proposals offered by his Strawberry Committee.

Image credit: Design for the Ceiling in the Library at Strawberry Hill, by Horace Walpole (1754). Reproduced courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

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