Queen's University


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Instructor: Daphne Lawson

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Selected studies of the English Country house, its architecture, landscape gardens, interior design, and contents.

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.

PREREQUISITE    Level 2 or above.

Available in Summer 2018.

Course description

This course is attractive to students majoring in art history but it is also designed to include those students from an arts and humanities background who have an interest in English architecture or cultural studies. There is no course pre-requisite except permission of the instructor or relevant previous study in one or more of the areas covered by the course.

It traces the development of the Country House from the Medieval open court plan, to the powerhouses of the Tudor and Baroque periods, through to the Palladian villas and the Neo-Classical houses of the eighteenth century. These places are viewed from various cultural perspectives: through the evolvement of Country House architecture, to an understanding of the dissemination of Renaissance values in England, and how the houses came to reflect the wealth and status of their owners; their minds broadened and enlightened by the Grand Tour. 

Learning Outcomes

  • The student is expected to explore Country House architecture within the wider framework of the cultural and political life of England from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.
  • The buildings are explored as a visual language and it is hoped that by focusing on these issues the student will develop a fuller awareness of the Country House and the social values it embodies.
  • The student is expected to achieve a strong grasp of the critical theories and debates surrounding the development of the Country House.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

The visits to local country houses in the South East of England are part of the essential understanding of the development of the cultural life of a Country House: its architecture and garden design and the extensive painting collections. Our learning opportunities in Kent at either Penshurst, or Knole and in Sussex at Petworth House bring to life the development of Country House architecture.


  • During the semester, students are expected to give one seminar paper and write up the notes, and this is worth 30% of the term’s mark.
  • Students will write a paper on either of the Country Houses visited for 20%. 
  • There will also be a participation mark of 20% based on attendance and informal discussion centered on class readings, and also contributions during the Country House visits.
  • There will be an end of term essay of 2,500 words due the week before the end of term on any subject encompassed by the course syllabus, but on a different topic from your seminar or your Country House paper
  • There will be no end of term exam or slide test on this course.



Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
Fax: +44 1323 834499
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
Fax: (613) 533-6810
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