Romantic Art and Architecture

Ref: C2224487

The course will start with an introduction to the Romantic era in England, and some of the ideas and personalities. JMW Turner dominated the period and we will see both his topographical work and his explorations of the Sublime. Constable offers us a more domestic image of the countryside than Turner but his paintings are highly personal and contain aspects of his ideas and beliefs. The architecture of the first decades of the nineteenth century was as inventive as the painting in the hands of Sir John Soane or of John Nash. We will also consider the work of the landscape designer Humphry Repton. There were many other painters of landscape at the time and in particular we will look at the visionary landscapes of Samuel Palmer. While we associate Romanticism above all with the exploration of nature we should not forget the Romantic portrait, especially the work of Thomas Lawrence.

Course aim

The age of Constable and Turner was rich in invention in painting and architecture. We will consider significant themes and the work of some of the stars of the period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Outline some of the main ideas that lie behind Romanticism in England
  • Identify significant elements in the work of J M W Turner and John Constable
  • Discuss what constitutes Romantic architecture in early nineteenth century England
  • Appreciate the works of the period with greater knowledge and pleasure

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • It may be useful to visit Tate Britain to familiarise yourself with paintings of the period. Or visit the Soane Museum in Lincolns Inn Fields (closed Mondays), walk round Regents Park or go to see the rooms by Soane at Wimpole Hall (National Trust).

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Romantic Art and Architecture


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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