The Course / The Decorative Arts in Europe (1500-2000) 19th Century 7/8

February 21, 2019 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course at The University Womens Club
2 Audley Square
Mayfair, London W1K 1DB
Mary Bromley
020 7266 7815

Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting Art History, Literature and Music lectures.

In this 8 part series, we will see how in the European tradition, the status of “fine art” tends to be much higher than that of the “decorative arts” though the beauty and virtuosity of the latter can be spell-binding. This is why we have a “temple” to fine art in the centre of London – the National Gallery – while “everything else” is in the Victoria and Albert Museum – which was on the fringes of London when it was built. The difference is also reflected in the huge gap between the market prices of the two arts. Why are the decorative arts undervalued in this way and what are their virtues? This series of lectures explores this intriguing subject.

Design Reform in the 19th Century

The Industrial Revolution transformed the world but, in the 19th century, some critics and commentators maintained that it also led to lower quality products and poor conditions for workers, and they called for reforms. This talk will discuss attempts to reinvest the world of commodities with dignity and propriety – for instance through the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Aesthetic Movement – as the modern world unfolded.