Beginning in the seventeenth century with the rise of the Baroque and culminating in Art Nouveau at the end of the nineteenth, this varied and exciting course provides a comprehensive understanding of key stylistic developments in Western European design and the decorative arts. The course focuses on furniture, ceramics, glass and metalwork, explored within the context of architecture and interiors and the broader historical and cultural forces that have influenced the production and consumption of decorative art objects. It seeks also to provide students with a basic knowledge of materials and techniques.
A diverse programme of lectures is complemented by visits to leading museums, galleries and houses and relevant auction house previews.
Students are taught by a range of in-house tutors and visiting experts from the art world.
The course is introductory and requires no prior knowledge.
The teaching approach is object-based and enables students to gain confidence in analyzing and identifying a wide range of art objects, and promotes skills that will be useful for working in the art world. It also serves as a bridging course for further study. Read more
about what past students have to say about Summer Study. Sample Topics
- Louis XIV and the influence of Versailles
- Trade with the Far-East in the 17th century
- Rococo interiors
- Arts and Crafts
- The impact of Japan in the 19th century
- Art Nouveau
London is a major centre for design and the decorative arts and a wide variety of faculty-led visits to museums and galleries forms an integral part of the learning experience and enables students to gain a direct understanding of the design movements dealt with in the course. London visits typically include:
Visits further afield may include:
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- British Museum
- Geffrye Museum
- Wallace Collection
- Hampton Court Palace
- Red House, home of William Morris
- Syon House
- The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Students are assessed by a number of short written assignments and a final slide test. These are intended not only to assist students in their understanding of the subject matter of the course, but also in developing a range of transferable skills in the research, analysis and interpretation of objects.