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2017 marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death. Members of her close family were landowners and her cousin used Humphry Repton to ‘improve’ his estate at Stoneleigh Abbey. Her novels chart the shift in landscape and garden aesthetics from the Picturesque sensibilities of the 1790s to the development of Ornamental Gardening with its winding shrubberies and exotic planting. ...continue reading "‘A prettyish kind of little wilderness’- Landscapes and gardens in the novels of Jane Austen. Lecture by Timothy Mowl"

Our annual summer garden party will be in the Secret Garden on 24 June. Tickets are now available.

Kevin Wilsher reflects on a convivial afternoon in truly British weather 

Well, the day started in an unpromising way with sea fret and light drizzle and the organisers got a little damp whilst setting up the event.  By opening time, however, the weather had settled into a dry but overcast cool ‘summer’ day.

Following a quick trip to A&E to sort out the caterer’s sliced hand and to get some emergency ice, we were ready to go on time.

...continue reading "Summer Garden Party 2017: a bit on the chilly side but great fun!"

Delia Forester reflects on the highly successful 2017 study tour.

When embarking on a trip such as this it is probably best to understand that you must, for a while, abandon your destiny to a higher power. Forget lovely long lie-ins, leisurely breakfasts or lolling about on a lilo with a long gin and tonic. You won’t do much sitting in sunny squares sipping sangria or spritzer either.

...continue reading "The Great Northumbria Study Tour, June 2017"

April 2017

Why would a coach full of educated and erudite Regency Society members, sophisticated and with excellent taste head up to London to view “[mere] Gothic heaps of stone without form or order [which] meet with contempt from the best and worst tastes alike”?

...continue reading "From the Shadows: a tour of the London Churches of Nicholas Hawksmoor"

Nostlagia Strikes the Moderns: John Piper Brighton Aquatints. John Small lecture by Dr Alan Powers.

John Piper's Brighton Aquatints (1939) and their multiple meaning

April 2017

John Small lecture 2017 given by Dr Alan Powers

(This lecture followed the Regency Society Annual General Meeting)

 A month into the Second World War, a remarkable limited edition book was published: Brighton Aquatints by John Piper, a collection of twelve prints, with the artist's commentaries and a foreword by the 1890s relic: Lord Alfred Douglas.  It was a book of elegiac memory, a reconceptualisation of the potential of modern art to engage with place and history, and also a muted alarm call regarding threats to the historic fabric of the town.

This rarely-seen book, arguably Piper's finest printmaking effort, is being republished by the Mainstone Press with a contextual and bibliographic commentary by Alan Powers; there will be an accompanying display in Brighton Museum in September 2017.

Dr Alan Powers is an art historian specialising in mid twentieth century British art, architecture and design. He has published widely on this theme, including monographs on Edward Ardizzone (2016), Eric Ravilious (2013) and Serge Chernayeff (2001).  He teaches for New York University in London and the London School of Architecture.  He teaches a Summer School course for the Courtauld Institute Public Programmes on Emigrés and leads tours for ACE Cultural Tours.  Dr Powers is a former Chair of the Twentieth Century Society and is actively involved in the conservation of buildings.

March 2017

Sir Simon Jenkins, journalist, broadcaster and author, former editor of the Times and the London Evening Standard and campaigner for historic buildings is our current President. On 8 March he entertained a full Music Room at the Royal Pavilion at our Antony Dale lecture for 2017 on bringing old houses back to life. ...continue reading "Bringing the Music Room to life for an evening"