tue14jun6:30 pmLecture: The Missing Link: Mughal India and the Design of Sir John VanbrughIn-person lecture by Rory Fraser6:30 pm The Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, FitzroviaBook Now

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£15 members/£18 non-members

Until recently, the mid 1680s in the life of John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard and general ‘Rockstar’ of the English Baroque, were missing from public knowledge. However, in 2000, Robert Williams established that Vanbrugh spent that time working as a Factor for the East India Company in Mughal Surat. Simultaneously, Vanbrugh’s design process has long been something of a mystery: not only the extraordinary scale of his buildings and their eccentric synthesis of forms, but the pioneering landscapes in which they are set. These have been loosely attributed to the variety of forms that Vanbrugh witnessed throughout his career as a political prisoner in France, playwright and herald, as well as a growing interest in the work Palladio. In this talk, building on clues in Vanbrugh’s 1711 Church Proposals, letters and contemporary travel accounts, Rory Fraser will suggest that the confluence between East and West in Surat contributed to a fundamental ‘emboldening’ of Vanbrugh’s later design.

Rory Fraser studied English at Oxford where he wrote his thesis on the relationship between the pastoral poetry of Alexander Pope and landscape design of William Kent. On graduating, he wrote ‘Follies: An Architectural Journey’ for Zuleika Books which was described as a ‘compendium of joy’ by The Times, ‘blithely enjoyable’ with ‘charm, amusement and light touch erudition’ by The Spectator, and compared to Evelyn Waugh’s travel writing by the Wall Street Journal. Last year, Rory completed an MPhil in Architectural History at Cambridge on John Vanbrugh’s time in Mughal India. He lives in London where he divides his time between writing, lecturing and painting architectural commissions.

The talks starts at 6.30pm, doors open from 6.15pm.

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(Tuesday) 6:30 pm


The Georgian Group

6 Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia

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