The Soane Museum Study Group is an open forum for scholars – both established and emerging – to present new research into an aspect of architectural history and/or Soane’s collection.
Horatio Joyce - “A Country House in the City”: Inventing the Gentlemen’s Club and the British Upper Class, 1780-1820
This paper argues that the architecture of London’s gentlemen’s clubs played an important yet overlooked role in the making of the modern British elite around the turn of the nineteenth century.
More than one modern British historian, notably David Cannadine and more recently Patrick Joyce, have remarked in passing on a likely link between the institution and this new class, but none has yet attempted a systematic study. Where one might expect to find something more substantive on the subject, such as in Peter Clark’s authoritative survey British Clubs and Society, there is only silence. Still, many historians continue to espouse the most persistent interpretation of these places, that they reflected the oppressiveness of the female domestic sphere. Men, this theory goes, simply needed to go somewhere to escape the home. As for clubs themselves (many of which are still around), the oft-stated line is that they evolved organically from eighteenth-century aristocratic gambling clubs and possibly even more ancient forms of sociability. By looking to clubhouse architecture, however, this paper suggests that there was absolutely nothing antique about them. They were as modern as their occupants, but absolutely necessary to making members feel like an ancien régime.
H. Horatio Joyce is an historian of nineteenth and twentieth century American and European architecture, and holds a Supernumerary Research and Teaching Fellowship at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford. His co-edited volume, Experiencing Architecture in the Nineteenth Century: Buildings and Society in the Modern Age was published by Bloomsbury in October.
Choose the date from the drop down calendar and then how many tickets you require.
Tuesday 4 December 2018 – 6.00pm drinks for 6.30-7.30pm lecture.
On arrival please come to no. 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The door will open at 6.00pm.