Art History: Art in Britain & France 1600-1800

Ref: C2419119

From the frivolity of Fragonard to the satire of Hogarth, from Claude’s sweeping grandeur to Gainsborough’s society portraits, from the baroque glory of St Paul’s to the pastiche of Strawberry Hill, we will examine the brilliance and lasting legacy of art in the Baroque and Rococo periods. Major French and British artists and architects and art movements will be studied in their social and political context, to provide a broad picture of developments in the two countries over the two centuries. The emphasis will be on painting and sculpture, alongside major architectural developments. Broad themes such as patronage and the Grand Tour, and political, social, religious events will be discussed as they naturally arise in looking at the art works. What topics will the course cover? - Painting, the decorative arts and architecture. Religious, royal, noble and merchant patronage. Materials and techniques. Styles and style developments.

Course aim

To show the impact of political, social and religious changes connect on the visual arts and architecture in Britain and France between 1600 and 1800. To develop a critical appreciation and enjoyment of the arts of this period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Students will not be required to have any particular qualfications, but level 2 standard (i.e. GCSE) of English will be assumed.

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

  • Understand the impact of political, social and religious developments on the visual arts and architecture in 17th and 18th centuries Britain and France.
  • Discuss the dominant styles of the period and how they developed
  • Develop visual analysis skills
  • Critically assess the contribution of artists and makers in the period

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
  • Full illustrated notes of the lectures will be provided. In addition students will be given take-home quizzes to reinforce their 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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • In every session, the group will be given a list of pictures shown and a (voluntary) quiz based on the pictures to reinforce their knowledge. The quiz will be used during the sessions or individually ( home)

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No prior knowledge or reading is necessary. A list of recommended books and resources will be distributed at the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course could lead to a range of job opportunities. Follow link to National Careers Service for more details
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Students will be offered advice on working as a volunteer in galleries or historical houses.

Download full Course information sheet

Art History: Art in Britain & France 1600-1800

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This course has been cancelled.


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
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