Subject: CONF: Houses of Politicians (Manchester, 29-30 Nov 19)

Manchester, November 29 – 30, 2019

This symposium brings together established and early career scholars who explore the correlation between politics and the country house within this protean political environment. Case studies and dialogue sessions will discuss design and style, as well as collecting, display, patronage, networking, dissemination, and the relationship between London and the country. The symposium also involves an (optional) tour of Wentworth Woodhouse, built by the marquises of Rockingham and now the focus of a major heritage restoration initiative.



Morning: the Friends’ Meeting House, Manchester
Moderator: Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Introduction, Joan Coutu (University of Waterloo)

Peter Lindfield and Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan University), “Powerhouse or home: different readings of the British country house in recent symposia”

Oliver Cox (University of Oxford), “Writing Political Histories”

Fiona Candlin (Birkbeck, University of London), “When is a historic house a museum? (and why might it matter)”

Wentworth Woodhouse in Focus

Dylan Spivey (PhD candidate, University of Virginia), “Thomas Wentworth and Wentworth Woodhouse”

Joan Coutu (University of Waterloo), “Burke’s Exemplum: The ‘Natural Family Mansion’ and Wentworth Woodhouse”

John Bonehill (University of Glasgow), “Painting for Portland: George Barret and Welbeck”

Afternoon: Tour of Wentworth Woodhouse, followed by reception
Includes return coach to Wentworth Woodhouse from Manchester.


Morning: The House, the Style, the Contents, the Message.
Moderators: Kate Retford (Birkbeck, University of London)
& Anne Bordeleau (University of Waterloo)

Amy Lim (DPhil candidate, University of Oxford & Tate Britain), “Executive or exile? The art and architecture of country houses after the Glorious Revolution”

Juliet Learmouth (PhD candidate, Birkbeck, University of London), “Holding court at Marlborough House: The London residence of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough”

Jon Stobart, “Competing cultures of consumption: politics and taste at Shugborough”

Dale Townshend (Manchester Metropolitan University), “Tory Gothic / Whig Classicism: Chiasmus, Architecture and the Politics of Style in the Long Eighteenth Century”

Matthew Reeve (Queen’s University, Canada), “Francis Dashwood’s Gothic: the caves of West Wycombe, Medmenham Abbey, and the architecture of male libertinism”

Peter Lindfield (Manchester Metropolitan University), “A Gothic Houghton: Pelham’s forgotten country house”


Afternoon: The Empire at Home.
Moderators: Dana Arnold (University of East Anglia)
& Anne Bordeleau (University of Waterloo)

Elisabeth Grass (DPhil candidate, University of Oxford and the National Trust), “St. Kitts in Norfolk: The country house network of Crisp Molineux”

Jocelyn Anderson (University of Toronto, Mississauga), “The ‘Fine House’ of a Caribbean Planter: Public Responses to the Alderman Beckford’s Fonthill”

Kieran Hazzard (University of Oxford), “The Clives and India: Collecting, Display and Colonialism”

Rowena Willard-Wright (freelance curator), “William Pitt the Younger and how to make a Political Home”


Graduate Students Roundtable – Sources & Reflection, Building the Toolkit. Moderator: Oliver Cox

Concluding Remarks: Reflecting on the Political House, chaired by Jon Stobart, with Joan Coutu, Oliver Cox, and Peter Lindfield

Further details are available at:

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CONF: Houses of Politicians (Manchester, 29-30 Nov 19). In:, Oct 21, 2019. <>.

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