Lecture Series - Cultural Cross-currents in the Visual Arts: Jacobean & Carolean England & Europe

December 01, 2020

If you are unable to attend the live session, do not worry - all those who register will automatically be sent copies of the lecture to view in your own time (from around four hours after it takes place).

Cultural Cross-currents in the Visual Arts: Jacobean & Carolean England & Europe  

Early Stuarts Rubens Detail 1        Following decades of cultural ‘isolation’ during the later Tudor period; the arrival of a new dynasty and king in 1603, the Stuart James VI and I, marked a sea-change for the “ship of state”. Near constant warfare with Spain came to a temporary end and James sought to link his family via dynastic alliances with some of the major royal (and mostly Catholic) houses of Europe - the Medici, Valois and Habsburgs. Simultaneously, his court opened up to new ideas as foreign travel exposed intelligent travellers to the visual arts of the continent, above all in Italy and most importantly, the Veneto. This saw what is often described as the birth of the ‘proto’ Grand Tour as diplomats, collectors and their motley agents and hangers-on fanned out across the continent, helping to reshape English taste, the prime examples being Thomas Howard and his wife, Alethea Talbot, Earl and Countess of Arundel. 

The traffic was not all one-way. While there had always been a steady trickle of foreign artists and craftsmen willing to come and work in ‘Protestant’ England in the Tudor era, the flow increased in the early 1600s as enlightened patronage attracted a better class of artist to the royal court in London, particularly during the reign of Charles I. This linked pair of webinars will explore the world where high politics, diplomacy and patronage merged with travel, espionage and the machinations of the art world. This was crowned by the visit of Sir Peter Paul Rubens to England at the end of the 1620s, ostensibly to negotiate peace (once again) between Spain and England, but with the happy outcome that he received the commission to create allegorical paintings to fill the ceiling of Inigo Jones’ Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace. 

The First Grand Tourists: Exploring Europe in Early Stuart Times - 1 December, 2020

James Hill introduces the extraordinary influence of continental travel, above all to Italy, which changed the course of the visual arts in England in the early Stuart period as he takes us via Antwerp and the Alps into Italy and on to Venice and Rome. 

Rubens & England: Art, Politics & the Banqueting House - 2 December, 2020

Tom Duncan plotted the reverse journey as Peter Paul Rubens comes to maturity in Italy, returns home to Antwerp, and enjoys a glittering career crowned when the greatest painter in northern Europe (a Fleming who was a Spanish subject, and a Roman Catholic) was awarded the most important art commission of the seventeenth century in England. 

Format for Lecture 

Early Stuarts Rubens Detail 2      

Tom & James will each give a one-hour illustrated lecture.

You will not need to download any software and the lecture will work in any browser. For the best experience use a desktop or laptop - but it will also work on an iPad or similar tablet. 


 Please call 01869 811167 for recording of lecture



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