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19 November 2020The Power and Glory of our Country Houses

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The Power and Glory of our Country Houses Anthony Russell Thursday 19 November 2020

Anthony has travelled much of the world, combining painting with tour lecturing - principally to American university students on bespoke tours. He spent six years as a consultant for Luke Hughes and travelled the country advising on the furniture needs of prestigious buildings, including museums, palaces, schools and cathedrals. Now based in London, he spends much of his time lecturing and undertaking research, while assisting at the British Museum with outreach events and visiting lecturers. As an advocate of non-violence, he is the author of the book 'Evolving the Spirit - From Democracy to Peace'.

It is often argued that Britain possesses the finest collection of ‘living’ stately homes in the world. It is harder to deny that they represent one of the country's greatest assets and its greatest contribution to the decorative arts worldwide. This lecture goes back in time to explain their origins in British history, the changing nature of society and the way country houses have evolved. This journey through their history illustrates the most magnificent examples in all their grandeur and beauty, while considering the impact they have had on society and its development. Consideration is given to changing roles and if they can still exert a powerful hold on society. How should we look on them today and how are they to survive and evolve in the future? 

Session 1 - The Power and Glory of our Country Houses – their Evolution and Changing Role.

In outlining their development in England, this lecture shows how we evolved as a society, and the function and intent behind these great buildings. But just as much, it is a chance to enjoy and compare our extraordinary stately home heritage, possibly unequalled anywhere & to consider not just the architectural development but also their contents and the colourful families who brought them to life.

Session 2 - Blenheim Palace – The Agony and the Ecstasy.

Possibly the most admired historic English building outside London, Blenheim Palace is an uncompromising World Heritage monument to English military ambition and one family's self- importance. The story of its construction is a fascinating catalogue of excess & outrage, while the result is both monstrous & utterly sublime. But it is in the effect that its perceived spirit has had on consecutive generations of Marlboroughs, that is most revealing.

Session 3 - “Our Dwellings Shape Us” – followed by Discussion.

With a famed Churchill quote in mind; “we shape our dwellings and then our dwellings shape us”, we consider the social impact of these houses on us today, described by Sir Roy Strong as now a ‘classless cult’. We also consider how they are coping in these changing times & what should best be their function in the future. It is also an opportunity for others to consider their favourites and have a bit of  Q & A and discussion.

More details about the day and the venue will be added later and bookings will be opened at a future Wednesday lecture.