2 Audley Square
Mayfair, London W1K
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.
The Industrial Revolution & the Decorative Arts
The Industrial Revolution had a profound impact on the decorative arts, bringing objects that had previously been associated with the nobility within reach of the ever growing middle-class. Radical new inventions and techniques reduced the cost of manufacturing products, leading to the evolution of shops and entrepreneurs, which led in turn to completely new attitudes towards taste.