Rediscovering and animating London town houses of the 18th and early 19th centuries
Organised by the Paul Mellon Centre, London, the National Gallery, and Birkbeck College, University of London, this conference explores the position town houses once occupied in the lives of families and the nation as a whole. Some – such as Spencer House – have survived; many have left fragmentary traces; others have been completely destroyed and can only be recreated on the basis of inventories and descriptive accounts.
There is much still to be uncovered about the collections of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts which these buildings once housed, as well as about their furnishing, architecture, gardens, and refashionings over time.
This event follows on from the successful Animating the 18th-century country house conference held at the National Gallery in March 2015. Expert speakers will discuss both famed and little-remembered London town houses, considering how these residences were designed, furnished, and ornamented. Papers also explore the significance and function of these properties for owners and their families, together with the varied experiences of guests and visitors.
Image above: Spencer House, west façade © Spencer House Limited. Photograph by Mark Fiennes