Architectural Dynasties Talk Series and Journal

The Victorian Society is planning to publish a new issue of its journal Studies in Victorian Architecture and Design on architectural dynasties. This is a call for papers for those working on dynastic or hereditary issues in architectural history that either belong to the Victorian period, or clearly converge with it. The Society is looking for speakers at a talk series in spring 2022, whose papers would be considered for publication in the journal. The previous series included talks by: Oliver Caroe on his descent from W.D. Caröe; Barry Bergdoll on the French Vaudoyer dynasty; Joshua Mardell on the unsung British Bucklers; and Nick Gilbert Scott, fifth generation descendant of Sir George Gilbert Scott. 

Dynasties enjoyed great prevalence in post-medieval architectural culture. A roll-call of famous British architects would necessarily include them: from the Adams, Pugins and Wyatts in the UK, to the Italian Fontanas, Russian Benois and the German Asam brothers. 

Yet as a phenomenon, architectural dynasties have not had much scholarly attention. This talk series and publication aims to bring them into focus. Key questions across the series might include: 

  • Did ‘dynasty’ have agency over its protagonists’ work, patronage, representational tradition, pedagogy and disposition? 
  • What was at stake for dynasties and those who supported them? 
  • Did architects ‘do’ architecture any differently by virtue of belonging to a dynasty? 
  • Did dynasties enable, or disable, access to the built environment sphere?
  • Do dynastic ‘conditions’ continue in the present-day profession(s)? 
  • What would the built environment look like had there not been architectural dynasties?

The Victorian Society is keen to extend its focus on architects to other relevant dynasties: of engravers, stained glass manufacturers, master masons, even patrons, for example. The Society is particularly interested in papers that consider, or shed new light on, under-represented groups in architecture. 

Please send proposals by 15 August 2021 to Dr. Joshua Mardell: joshua.mardell@york.ac.uk. Proposals should include a title, a 200-word abstract, a short biographical summary and (optional) illustration. 

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