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Course outline

This course is to be an interdisciplinary programme enabling students to examine, by way of a thesis of the usual length allowed for Buckingham Master’s degree dissertations, aspects of Western Architectural History from the medieval period to the mid-twentieth century. Students will be encouraged to consider the interrelation of architectural history, art history and social history.

The seminar programme, which serves to complement the student’s individual research, will explore these themes in a series of twelve meetings, which will be addressed by some of the United Kingdom’s most distinguished architectural historians. These will be prefaced by a general introductory class led by the Course Director, offering an introduction to research techniques, relevant library resources available in London and through the University of Buckingham’s online subscriptions, to relevant museum collections and to the most recent academic approaches to the subject.

Each seminar will take place in central London in the early evening, followed by a 40-minute question-and-answer session with the seminar speakers, all recognised experts in their fields, and a dinner at which there will be further discussion with the speaker and a general conversation about the topic in hand. Six seminars will be scheduled for the period between October and December, and a further six in the period between the New Year and March.

After the course leader’s general introduction, there will be a series of twelve seminar papers which explore the architecture of the Western world: the medieval castle, the Gothic cathedral, Italian renaissance architecture, French and English baroque palace and country house architecture, European baroque church architecture, the inspiration of the Classical world, the Gothic Revival and historicism, Ruskin and Morris and the birth of conservation philosophy, industrialisation and the transformation of urban architecture, colonial architecture, Beaux-Arts architecture in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and the meaning of Modern architecture. Reading lists will be made available before each lecture to allow for background reading and discussion with the expert speakers.

Location for seminars: The Reform Club (104 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5EW) and the University of Buckingham’s London premises at 51 Gower Street (Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 6HJ)

Course director

Jeremy Musson has a distinguished reputation as an architectural and social historian. A former National Trust assistant curator, he was Architectural Editor of Country Life magazine in 1998-2007, and presented the BBC 2 series The Curious House Guest, 2006-2007. He is an author and historic buildings consultant, working with a range of clients including the National Trust and St Paul’s Cathedral.

He is a regular lecturer and supervisor on the Master’s in Building History course at the University of Cambridge, a second supervisor to the Buckingham Master’s in the English Country House, regular speaker and tutor on the Attingham Summer School and has been a course director for the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. He has also lectured The Royal Oak in the USA and at various US museums.

His books include The Country Houses of Sir John Vanbrugh, English Ruins, Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant, English Country House Interiors and Robert Adam: Country House Design, Decoration and the Art of Elegance (2017). He recently contributed a chapter to the new monograph King’s College Chapel 1515-2015: Art, Music and Religion in Cambridge, 2014, and another to Fin de siècle Rediscovered. A Mosaic of the Turn of the Century, proceedings of a conference at the National Museum in Warsaw. He is co-editor with Sir David Cannadine of the forthcoming collection of essays The British Country House Revisited.

Associate students

For those wishing to attend the evening research seminar programme, but unable to devote the time to the coursework or to register for the MA degree, there is the option of becoming an Associate Student. This status will enable the student to attend the twelve research seminars and to meet the guest lecturers, in the first six months of the programme, but does not require the submission of written work. Associate Students are not registered for, and do not receive, the MA degree.

Full course details in the Curriculum Handbook and Research Degrees Handbook for further information.

Visit the MA in Western Architectural History by Research page on the University of Buckingham website for more details!





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