The Lost Landscapes and Interiorscapes of the Eighteenth-Century Estate: Reconstructing Wanstead House and its Grounds

Armstrong, Hannah (2017) The Lost Landscapes and Interiorscapes of the Eighteenth-Century Estate: Reconstructing Wanstead House and its Grounds. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

Wanstead House was built by Colen Campbell between 1713-20 for Richard Child, later Viscount Castlemaine and 1st Earl Tylney. The house, furnished by leading designer of the Georgian period, William Kent, was recognized as one of the ‘noblest houses in Europe’ and displayed the same level of opulence as major seats such as Chatsworth or Houghton, but within the peripheries of London. The Wanstead landscape was created by important designers George London and Henry Wise, Charles Bridgeman, William Kent and Humphry Repton. However, in June 1822, the entire contents of Wanstead was sold in order to settle significant debts accumulated by its owners, William and Catherine Pole Tylney Long Wellesley. Two years later, the house was demolished, and the building material was sold. Due to its demolition and the decline of its landscape, Wanstead is a major loss to academic studies of the eighteenth-century estate. This thesis draws on a broad range of widely dispersed material evidence to present a much-needed chronological history of Wanstead. It seeks to ‘animate’ the property, fully considering it as a lived space, and as a mutable environment, in the constant process of development. Other themes of this thesis include social status and the country house, estate management, and the significance of geographical location. The introduction provides an account of the 1822 Wanstead sale and outlines the historiography and methodology. Due to the nature of the dispersed evidence, the methodological discussion is necessarily detailed, addressing the challenges and importance of cross-examining material for this study of a lost house. Chapter one examines Josiah Child’s acquisition of Wanstead, and how he laid the foundations for the estate’s future glory. Chapters two and three address improvements carried out by Richard Child between 1704 and 1750.Chapter four is a study of the ownerships of the second half of the eighteenth century. The conclusion returns to the Wanstead sale, evaluating the impact of Wanstead’s loss and assessing how the study of such a lost house can contribute to our understanding of eighteenth-century estates more broadly.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Full thesis is not currently available for public use
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > History of Art & Screen Media
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2017 13:30
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2017 13:30
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/200

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