12 December 2019, 3-5pm

Keynes Library, School of Arts, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Book Tickets (free)

This event is co-organised by the Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group, and the Architecture, Space and Society Research Centre. Three speakers will consider aspects of the English country house from the eighteenth century to the present: 

Professor Jon Stobart, Manchester Metropolitan University: ‘Home Comforts: Objects and Memories in the English country house, c.1750-1820’

Professor Abby van Slyck, Connecticut College, US: ‘Raising Royals: The Architecture of Childhood at Victoria and Albert’s Osborne House’

Professor Kate Retford, Birkbeck: ‘”A Family Home…not a Museum”: Marketing the English country house’



Jon Stobart is a social and economic historian of eighteenth-century England, with particular interests in the histories of retailing and consumption. Much of his work is interdisciplinary – a reflection, in part, of his background in historical geography – involving him in collaborations with geographers, art historians and heritage professionals from the UK and across Europe. He is the founding editor of the journal History of Retailing and Consumption co-chair of the Material and Consumer Culture network in the ESSHC.

Abby van Slyck is Dean of the Art and Art History Faculty at Connecticut College where her research focuses on American architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular attention to commonplace building types constructed to house influential social institutions. She is the author of A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890–1960 (University of Minnesota Press, 2006), in which she examines the intersections of the natural landscape with human-built forms and social activities.

Kate Retford has published widely on eighteenth-century British art, particularly on the portraiture of the period and the country house art collection. Her work includes The Art of Domestic Life: Family Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century England (Yale University Press, 2006) and The Conversation Piece: Making Modern Art in Eighteenth-Century Britain, which won a Historians of British Art book award. She is currently working on a book about print rooms in eighteenth-century country houses, and developing a project looking at the presentation of the country house as family home.

For more information, please contact Kate Retford: k.retford@bbk.ac.uk