Accessibility statement

The Neo-Classical Tradition - CED00034M

« Back to module search

  • Department: Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Emma Wells
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module will provide an overview of the rise of neo-Classicism from the early 18th to the early 19th century, which welcomed a dramatic change and the birth of the modern Western world as we know it. Subjects will include the teleological explanations for many of the stylistic trends of the era including Palladianism, Rococo and the Picturesque Movement, in addition to wider subjects such as the impact of the Grand Tour, and key figures including William Chambers, Robert Adam, and Capability Brown. It will culminate with an analysis of the personal style of Soane, whose eclecticism foreshadowed the architectural debates of the 19th century. Consideration will also be on the wider social, political, and economic factors that impinged upon architectural production in the Georgian period including the rise of the English Country House and the designed landscape.

Module learning outcomes

By the conclusion of the module the student should be able to:

  • Discuss the main lines of development in English building history of the eighteenth century
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the relevant history and historiography
  • Characterise and date the distinctive forms and stylistic trends in relation to Continental artistic traditions
  • Assess specific works by leading surveyors and architects working in England during the period as well as the contribution of specific patrons, collectors, and publishers
  • Critically evaluate the roles of buildings in the articulation of an emergent national identity
  • Assess the impact of social and economic factors on architecture during the period in question.
  • Possess knowledge of current academic debates and ideas (particularly from a wide range of disciplines)


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.

The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.

Indicative reading

  • Arnold, D, 2003. The Georgian Country House, The History Press.
  • Curl, J, S, 2011. Georgian Architecture in the British Isles, Historic England.
  • Girouard, M, 1978. Life in the English country house: a social and architectural history, Yale.
  • Harwood, B and May, B, 2002. Architecture and interior design through the 18th century: an integrated history, Prentice Hall.
  • Gomme, A. and Maguire, A, 2008. Design & Plan in the Country House: from Castle Donjons to Palladian Boxes, Yale.
  • Summerson, J, 1980. The Classical Language of Architecture, Thames & Hudson.
  • Wilson, R. & Mackley, A, 2000. Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House 1660 – 1880, Hambledon & London.
  • Vickery, A, 1998. The Gentleman's Daughter, Yale.
  • Vickery, A, 2008. ‘An Englishman’s House is His Castle? Privacies, Boundaries and Thresholds in the Eighteenth-Century London House’, Past and Present, 199, 147-73.
  • Vickery, A, 2009. Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England, Yale.
  • Yorke, T, 2007. Georgian & Regency Houses Explained (England's Living History), Countryside.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.