The British Empire was at its height in 1900, yet in retrospect, the signs of an imminent decline can be seen. The elegant architecture, residential squares, parks, and private clubs of London at that time reflect a world of complacent stability, but the docks and working-class neighborhoods foreshadowed class conflicts and a new multicultural reality. Earlier in the 19th century, John Ruskin, William Morris, Walter Pater, and the Pre-Raphaelite painters tried to temper England’s headlong rush into industrial technology with recollections of medieval and renaissance aesthetics; however, later turn-of-the-20th-century artists, such as Walter Sickert, Augustus John, and Vanessa Bell, cultivated modern life and modern subjects. Meanwhile, Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley radically distanced themselves from establishment culture and from the values of Protestant capitalism and middle class morality. In this course, we examine a historical turning point that resounded through the succeeding decades of the 20th century.
You'll Walk Away with
- Knowledge of Imperial London of 1900—its architecture, parks, and clubs, as well as its docks and working-class neighborhoods
- Familiarity with the aesthetics of London artists and writers at the turn of the 20th century
- The curious and creative
- All members of the community—working, retired, and in between