CONF: Work, Play & Protest: Ephemeral Architecture, 1500-c.1900 (Oxford, 29 – 30 April, 2017)

Rewley House 1 Wellington Square Oxford OX1 2JA
Think of the historic built environment and what comes to mind are churches, palaces and grand civic buildings: architecture defined by being enduring and monumental. Yet there were also less durable structures. While the elaborate occasional architecture built for the most magnificent public celebrations has been studied by historians of art and architecture, much else remains hidden: practical and functional structures, like the booths and stalls that defined early modern commercial activity, or the pavilions, pagodas and tents that were devised for some of the period’s grandest patrons and events.
This course celebrates the hidden world of ephemeral architecture, bringing together exciting work being done on the full spectrum of temporary structures, to reveal their role in shaping the social, cultural, political, religious and economic lives of people in the past.
The Saturday morning session will be held in the Ashmolean Museum which contains a number of works of art illustrating ephemeral structures. Those wishing to attend should meet in Reception at Rewley House at 11.00am sharp. Note that the walk to and from the Museum is at students’ own risk.
Image: ‘Frost Fair on the Thames, with Old London Bridge in the Distance’ c. 1685, Unknown Artist. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Programme details

10.30am Registration opens
11.00am Depart for Ashmolean Museum
1.00pm Lunch at Rewley House
2.00pm Portable palaces: English royal tents and timber lodgings in the 16th century
3.00pm Impermanence and preservationism in 17th-century English architectural culture
4.00pm Tea/coffee
4.30pm Fleet of foot? The ephemeral architecture of the racecourse
5.30pm ‘Our wondring Sight what various Structures strike!’: Royal Kew Gardens in the 1760s
6.45pm Dinner
8.00pm Fleeting forms: forts and ships in Englands early colonies
8.00am Breakfast (residents only)
9.00am Ephemeral Methodist spaces in 19th-century London
10.00am Smithfield Market in the 18th century: the architecture of Londons butchers
11.00am Coffee/tea
11.30am Buildings of the democratic and labour movements in 19th-century England
12.45pm Lunch and Course disperses

Additional information & registration

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