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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.

Composers of Architecture: Walpole and Beckford

24th October 2017, 18:15 to 19:15, Elvet Riverside Room 141
Tercentenary Lectures: Horace Walpole and His Legacies
Horace Walpole and William Beckford were two highly original architects and writers. Wander through the built world of the eighteenth century at this free public lecture, part of the series Horace Walpole and his Legacies. Join the conversation via #WalpoleLegacies.

Horace Walpole and William Beckford share a page in English architectural and literary history. Both created highly original Gothic buildings and novels; Walpole the renowned Strawberry Hill and the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto; Beckford, Fonthill Abbey and Vathek. Innovative constructs of the imagination they represent autobiographical expressions of the complex psychology of their unorthodox creators. This paper explores the significant influence on Beckford of Walpole’s architectural and associative concepts of Gothic as a means of self-expression and self-dramatization facilitated through the creation of a sequence of dynamic spatial spaces, theatrical contexts and visual and sensory experience that provoke and stimulate the imagination. Walpole’s aesthetic legacy is explored through the synergies between Walpole and Beckford as composers of architecture and Romantic interior design as a means of expressing their personality, antiquarian motives, and the display of collections, scenic effects and architectural taste.

Image credit: A cross section of Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire, England from John Rutter's Delineations of Fonthill (1823), via Wikimedia Commons.

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