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Lectures Archive

Lecture programme 2022-23


Saturday 15 October 2022: 'Printmaking in Georgian Britain and Ireland' - David Alexander, Honorary Keeper of British Prints, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and author of A Biographical Dictionary of British and Irish Engravers 1714-1820 (Yale University Press, 2021).

This talk examines the importance of engraving to Georgian society. David Alexander discusses the evolution of the profession, which saw London replace Paris as the leading centre for all kinds of engraving. There will be a display of examples of the different printmaking techniques which were developed over the period.


Saturday 12 November 2022: 'Late-Georgian churches: new insights into a neglected subject' - Dr Christopher Webster FSA FRHistS, architectural historian and Research Associate, University of York.

Late-Georgian churches are probably the most significant Georgian topic hitherto unexplored and Dr Webster's research has unearthed a wealth of interesting material. There are many engaging buildings and numerous revelations. Alongside architectural topics, this lecture will examine liturgical issues, church-going, and the administrative complexities that often obstructed well-intentioned projects.


Saturday 3 December 2022: 'Grinling Gibbons: carving a place in history' - Hannah Phillip, Programme Director, Grinling Gibbons Tercentenary, and Curator, Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making.

Details to follow.


Saturday 14 January 2023: 'Thomas White - running an 18th-century landscaping business' - Louise Wickham, Leader, Yorkshire Gardens Trust Research and Recording Group, author of Gardens in History: A Political Perspective (Windgather Press, 2012) and (with Deborah Turnbull) Thomas White (c1736-1811): Redesigning the Northern British Landscape (Windgather Press, 2022).

Thomas White (c1736-1811) was a noted landscape designer, tree planter and arboriculturalist who worked on at least 77 sites across northern England and Scotland over a 40-year career. Many of his beautiful improvement plans survive, which is one of the main sources of information about his work. This lecture will focus on how he turned these plans into reality. It will examine how he met clients and secured the commissions from them, as well as successfully managing the implementation by employing the appropriate workforce and organising the supply of plants and other materials.


Monday 23 January 2023: Joint lecture by the YGS Nuttgens Award winners. 

Rachel Feldberg: 'Cooking up Natural Knowledge: Recipes, Learning and Improvement in Eighteenth-Century Norfolk’.

Middling women’s recipe collections offer a wealth of information about their owner’s family, social networks - and knowledge of chemical process and medical remedies. Hannah Neal’s Recipe Collection, written into an unused copy of the 1790 edition of the Daily Journal of Gentleman, Merchants and Tradesmen included veterinary remedies alongside tips on waterproofing linen and making gooseberry vinegar, all useful material for a small scale farming family on the edge of the Norfolk Fens. But it was Elizabeth ’Betsy’ Peach, an impecunious widow in Norwich who gathered recipes for wine from friends and the Lady’s Magazine and took the trouble to calculate how much per gallon it cost her to produce. In this paper Rachel Feldberg argues that recipe collections like these articulated women’s engagement with the natural world and their understanding of domestic scientific process, giving us an insight into the state of women’s knowledge and the often-hidden origins of its acquisition. She’ll be exploring the sources of their information, from familial experience to often unattributed interactions with an avalanche of print media, and suggesting that the evidence evinced by Peach and Neal brings us a step closer to understanding the pedagogical role recipe collections played in young women’s lives.

Roseanna Kettle: 'A kind of Polypus’: the Sociable Contexts of William Roscoe (1753-1831)'.

Born in Liverpool to a modest family in the mid-eighteenth century, William Roscoe would become a consummate polymath: as a historian, abolitionist, poet, land developer, politician, lawyer, and banker, Roscoe would work tirelessly to enhance the civic community of which he was a foundational part. He would also be an intensely prolific letter-writer: his surviving family papers, housed at Liverpool City Archives, number over 5,000 items. Roscoe’s catalogue of communicants is impressive, including some of the cultural giants of the late eighteenth century – Mary Wollstonecraft, Georgiana Cavendish, and Horace Walpole, to name but a few. Roscoe’s poles of communication across the area are numerous, and similarly point towards a large network of interrelated interlocutors consciously crafting the intellectual and social sphere of the Northwest. Indeed, his letters reveal him as a figure exemplary of a form of transpennine interconnectivity. Using this invaluable resource as a starting-point, this talk will seek to track the multiple sociable contexts through which Roscoe’s correspondence moves – whether familial, local, regional, national, or international - documenting research made possible by the York Georgian Society and the Patrick Nuttgens award.


Saturday 11 February 2023: 'From Borneo to York: comparing the 18th-century chapels at Stonyhurst and the Bar Convent' - Dr Jan Graffius, Curator of Collections and Historic Libraries, Stonyhurst College.

This talk will examine the history and contents of two extraordinary 18th-century chapels in the North of England. Both chapels were hidden from view, but both reflected very different aspects of English Catholicism. The 1713 Stonyhurst Shireburn inventory lists luxury artefacts from China and Asia along with those of the European baroque, salvaged medieval material culture and the latest English Georgian fashions, demonstrating a confident seigneurial Catholicism in a deeply rural setting. The flamboyant but hidden 1769 Bar Convent chapel of Mother Ann Aspinal and its associated 16th- and 17th-century relics and vestments speaks of a different community - religious sisters and recusant schoolgirls - navigating the political challenges associated with an all-female community in a volatile urban setting.


Saturday 11 March 2023: 'Robert Adam and Thomas Chippendale at Nostell: a matter of equals?' - Kerry Bristol, Senior Lecturer, School of Fine Art, University of Leeds.

Nostell, the ancestral home of the Winn family near Wakefield, has long been recognised as an important commission for both Robert Adam and Thomas Chippendale, one indicative of a close friendship between architect and patron and suggestive of a special relationship between the Otley-born cabinetmaker and a family who reputedly promoted his interests early in his career. Based on a fresh reading of the Nostell archive, this lecture will investigate the nature of the business relationship between Adam and Chippendale and query how and where they worked together at Nostell and when they worked independently of each other. Did the late 18th-century architect always have the upper hand or could those who furnished a house exert more control?

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