Course overview

We will investigate the extraordinary range of architecture produced by Christopher Wren, and see how his principal assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor went on to develop his own remarkable designs for churches in London, country houses and the universities. We will set out how, following the Restoration, Wren, as a mathematician, became the pre-eminent English architect of his time. Hawksmoor and John Vanburgh developed Wren’s architectural style into what became known as the “English Baroque “- we will consider the key features of this style and show how it related to Baroque in mainland Europe. This day school will combine short lectures with discussion sessions, backed up by colour-illustrated notes.

Course description

As the architecture of the Renaissance in Italy flourished, and led down divergent pathways to the works of Palladio and to the Baroque style, we will see how its influence was felt in England in the extraordinary achievements of Christopher Wren, and how his work led on to the "English Baroque" of John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor.

As the pre-eminent English architect of his time, we will examine how Wren developed his ideas, drawing on the publications of Renaissance architects, his visit to Paris in 1665, and the example of earlier English architecture – most notably the work of Inigo Jones in the reigns of James I and Charles I.

We will examine Wren’s work in building anew the City churches and St Paul’s cathedral, his projects for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and his royal works including Hampton Court and Greenwich.

We will see how the career of Hawksmoor expanded from his role as the leading assistant to Wren to the production of extraordinary buildings in his own right. His projects included his intriguing church designs for London, and secular projects including those for the universities. We aim to explain will why much of this work is described as the “English Baroque”.

What financial support is available?

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All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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