19th Century Art, Architecture & Society

Ref: C2419197

Nineteenth century England was full of contradictions. Women were given low status but were an increasingly forceful presence, even if relegated to certain roles. Justice was put on a firmer basis leaving a legacy of courtrooms and prisons. This was also the age of the seaside holiday. Childhood loomed large in people’s minds and children were the subject of paintings while attention was paid to school architecture. High mortality rates by modern standards meant that death was a more constant concern than it is today – this is the age of cemeteries such as Kensal Green. Better communications extended across the Empire and the world, and new attitudes evolved, some troubling to us today. The theatre and the music hall offered entertainment and the church gave spiritual succour, while the ideal of the House Beautiful introduced ‘art’ into the domestic environment.

Course aim

The course aims to examine the way that the arts reflected wider social attitudes in the nineteenth century and provide a historical context for painting and architecture in 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:

  • Recognise how specific building types such as prisons and schools reflected the needs of the nineteenth cent
  • Illustrate nineteenth century attitudes to different stage in life
  • Discuss attitudes to women as they were reflected in nineteenth century painting
  • Show how a knowledge of society in the nineteenth century can deepen the appreciation of works of art and architecture

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?

  • 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 feel more confident to contribute to class discussion and discover new questions to ask about works of art.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

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

Download full Course information sheet

19th Century Art, Architecture & Society


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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