Lincoln Cathedral, 'Climbing Great Buildings'
To discuss availability for talks, please contact me.
To discuss television or corporate presentations, please contact Hilary Murray on Hilary@arlington-enterprises.co.uk
I currently offer nine illustrated talks on aspects of British architecture, each 50 minutes to an hour in length.
Climbing Great Buildings
This talk is based on the 15-part BBC2 / BBC4 series which spanned a thousand years of evolving architectural style and construction, involving some hair-raising climbing to gain unique access to some of Britain's best-loved buildings. The talk presents the inside view of some of the featured buildings, the stars of the series.
Canterbury Cathedral: The First 1,300 Years (Based on the Scala Book, published June 2012)
Canterbury Cathedral is not one building, but an accretion of exceptional architecture spanning almost a thousand years, with a history stretching back to 597. It has long attracted pilgrims and tourists, so that it is familiar to millions, but the hidden meanings within the building require close study. This analysis reveals the process of design of the early Gothic east end, built to house Thomas Becket's remains, and explains that its history, materials and fittings all represent a major narrative running through 1,300 years: its powerful relationship with ancient and papal Rome.
Palaces for the People: Northern Civic Architecture
The nineteenth century witnessed the rise of a generation of great buildings in the north of England, whose ambition was to elevate the society of the worlds first industrialised cities. So why did they seek the solution in the past, and what values were represented in differing styles?
Henry VIII: Builder or Destroyer?
Reflections from the BBC4 series Henry VIII: Patron and Plunderer with discoveries made during the Time Team Special on Henry VIII. This talk examines the architectural legacy of the king: was he, through his 60 residences including Hampton Court, the greatest patron of building as later generations claimed, or were the architectural acheivements of the early Tudor age due to the efforts and vision of others?
England's Forgotten Renaissance
At the turn of the sixteenth century, in the age of Michelangelo and Raphael, the English court enjoyed a close relationship with papal Rome. This talk explores the broad evidence for a burgeoning culture of the English in Italy, and of Italian culture in England- in literature, sculpture and architecture. Yet, to really understand the subject we need to resort to archaeology- as much was deliberately destroyed at the Reformation.
What Makes Old English Houses so… English?
What do our houses tell us about ourselves? A child's drawing shows an instinctive understanding of what a British home looks like: a box with a pitched roof, chimney, large windows with glazing bars, a front door. But the shape of our traditional homes was far from inevitable. In a thousand-year overview, this hour explains how we arrived at the characteristics of our common houses through patterns of living, technology and economics, and identifies three moments in time when the elements of Englishness were forged.
Making History: Old Buildings on Television
There's a lot of work behind what looks like spontaneous television. The two 'j's : the journey and the jeopardy, which hook the viewer, are set to challenge the presenter. And history should be engaging, so how do you strike the balance between accessible and authoritative? This talk features encounters with people and places, including Fred Dibnah, the Sphinx, and Rochdale Town Hall, and explains what's involved in a 'two with a blonde and a redhead.'
Stowe: Britain’s Forgotten Palace
Stowe House in Buckinghamshire took most of the eighteenth century to arrive at its final, 1,000-ft long grandeur, and the result has been called 'the greatest private neoclassical building in the world'. As it approaches the end of a major restoration championed by World Monuments Fund, this talk presents Stowe as an audacious essay in Georgian politics, an unfolding tale of unreasonable excess in the so-called 'Age of Reason': one of rags to riches to rags to restoration.
Use them or Lose Them: New Lives for Old Buildings
What happens when the original use of buildings reaches its end? This talk is based on my article in the Financial Times . It looks at case studies through history of how buildings have coped with changing circumstances, owners and users, and how layers of history have been added in the most unexpected ways. What can history tell us about the life of buildings: is restoration healthy respect for an original appearance of a design or a state of denial about inevitable time and change? Is thorough restoration even possible? When does a more liberal approach result in irreparable damage?
PUBLIC LECTURES 2012
Princeton, Philadelphia, Washington, Wilmington, New York
Gainsborough Old Hall, Lincs 7.30pm Canterbury Cathedral: The First 1,300 Years
RIBA, Portland Place London, 6.30 p.m. (Details tbc)
Richard III Society (Lincs) Ramada Hotel, Grantham Lincolnshire 7.30pm Climbing Britain's Cathedrals
Ewelme Church, Oxon
Interviewing Lord Fellowes on the use of historic buildings for Downton Abbey, Gosford Park and other films.
'On Set in the Past' (World Monuments Fund Britain www.wmf.org.uk/activities )