Art and Architecture in England in 18th Century

Ref: C2224545

The eighteenth century was a period in which the arts in England thrived. At the beginning of the period Thornhill painted the ceiling of the hall at Greenwich, while his son in law William Hogarth developed, in painting and in prints, new narrative forms as well as contributing to the development of English portraiture. At the same time there were other, lesser known painters, and new patrons such as the owner of Vauxhall Gardens. In architecture the original genius of Hawksmoor and Vanbrugh, was followed by the order and harmony of Palladian classicism. Round these buildings lay gardens which re-thought the designed landscape, partly due to the fertile imagination of William Kent. Less well known, but equally rewarding, is the sculpture of the age. This course will explore some of the masterpieces of English art and try to discover why the age saw such a flowering of creativity.

Course aim

A survey of the art, architecture and sculpture of the first half of the eighteenth century in England in its historical context.

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:

  • Discuss the content and style of some of the paintings we have seen in class
  • Recognise the distinctive features of Palladian architecture
  • Show how the art and architecture of the period relate to broad historical factors
  • Enjoy looking at and interpreting works of art from the first half of the eighteenth century more

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
  • Participation in class discussion is encouraged throughout. The sessions are friendly.

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
  • You may find that a visit to the appropriate galleries at Tate Britain or to a site such as Stowe (National Trust) or Chiswick Villa (English Heritage) would be pleasurable and helpful, though not essential.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course outline

Art and Architecture in England in 18th Century Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • 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
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing