Is your joiner famous? The natural history of the artisan in late 17th century England

Thursday 2 November 2017, 5.00PM

Speaker: Prof Christine Stevenson (Courtauld Institute of Art)

In 1705, the physician, satirist, and political philosopher Bernard Mandeville implied that men ‘ministring to Luxury’ by providing buildings with painted and carved ornament were becoming famous, and moreover that this fame was an index of their arts’ advance the perfection that modern France and England were enjoying. Though Mandeville seems to have been unique in offering famous craftsmen as a criterion of architectural progress, he was encouraged by the fame that some of them had been pursuing, and enjoying, for the previous four decades (though only Grinling Gibbons’s has been lasting). This paper pursues that fame, its terms and conditions, and asks what it meant for the ‘architecture culture’ of the English Baroque.

Location: BS/008