Acquisition, patronage and display : contextualising the art collections of Longford Castle during the long eighteenth century

Smith, Amelia Lucy Rose (2017) Acquisition, patronage and display : contextualising the art collections of Longford Castle during the long eighteenth century. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis is a study of the formation of the collections at Longford Castle during the period c.1730 to c.1830 by the Bouverie family (later Earls of Radnor). It draws upon previously untapped archival material relating to this understudied but nationally significant collection of art, to provide a contribution to current scholarship on country houses and the history of collecting. The thesis considers issues of acquisition, patronage and display, and looks across a range of art forms, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts and furnishings, exploring the degree to which this family’s artistic tastes can be understood as conventional or distinctive for the time. By contextualising these acquisitions and commissions in terms of their setting, it is shown that although Longford Castle, an unusually shaped Elizabethan building, was appropriated and adapted for the display of art in line with eighteenth-century ideals, its owners also valued and retained aspects of its distinctive character. In addition, the thesis shows that Longford functioned both as a private home and as a public space where visitors experienced the collections. An introduction to the Bouverie family is provided, so as to further contextualise their tastes, exploring their Huguenot and mercantile heritage, and ennoblements, artistic networks, and interests during the long eighteenth century. The thesis argues that these interests were characterised by both an independent spirit and a desire to conform to contemporary trends and to articulate a sense of Englishness. The thesis takes a broad methodological approach, combining studies of architecture, interiors, gardens, furnishings, fine art and social history. It explores the castle and its contents through both archival research and object-based study, providing the first comprehensive study of Longford and its art collections.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
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: 18 May 2017 17:02
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 17:02
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/230

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