"Make thy castles high and fair"—Medieval Castles to Modern Fantasies
In partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects
Presented by Dr. Jonathan Foyle
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 6:00-7:30 PM
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
What is a "castle"? While the term is now often applied to a stately home to imply monumental scale or status, its use originally indicated a fortified military residence. But to what extent were castles defensible and against whom? What does the use of the “castle” style mean in architecture when it is applied to churches—such as the western block of Lincoln Cathedral—or civic buildings? If Cardinal Wolsey was never a warrior, why does Hampton Court (1515-28) look like a castle, complete with a moat? Architectural historian Dr. Jonathan Foyle will explore the shifting associations in castle design and purpose over the last 1000 years. He will demonstrate how the religious and political purposes of buildings later changed to become representational of political authority—such as the early medieval castle Bodiam in Sussex (a National Trust property). He will explain how Britain’s castles gave way to palatial residences as cultural values changed during the 16th and 17th century. He will also show how castles were associated with romantic rather than defensible ideals reflected in Georgian and Victorian designs—such as Penrhyn Castle, Wales—and inform our modern preconception today.
About the Speaker: Dr Jonathan Foyle was a Curator of Historic Buildings at Hampton Court for eight years, and took his PhD on reconstructing Wolsey's palace prior to Henry VIII's adoption of it. Having headed the British branch of the New York-based World Monuments Fund for eight years at projects including Coventry and St Paul's Cathedrals, Stowe House and Hawksmoor's St George's Church in Bloomsbury, he is now an author, presenter and consultant. Since 2012 he has been a frequent writer for the Financial Times on issues of architecture, history and craft, and is currently completing his fourth cathedral monograph: Canterbury, Lincoln, Lichfield- now Peterborough. A presenter of numerous series on UK and US television, including BBC's 15-part Climbing Great Buildings, he co-presents a new series, Restoration of the Year on Channel 4 this spring. He lives in an old house in Somerset, near Bath.