Speaker: Stephen Richardson
2 May 2017

The Regency period was full of great contrasts – wealth and poverty; radical political developments and extremes of taste, both good and bad. Its eponymous figurehead, the extravagant George Frederick, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent and ultimately George IV, cut a fashionable dash as a young man and was in the vanguard of developments in architecture, decorative style and art collecting. Criticised for his profligacy, the political responsibilities of the throne proved a heavy burden and his popularity declined as his weight and self-indulgence increased. Known as Prinny to his friends, he was often the target of caricaturists and other political enemies (the title of this talk is drawn from a typically vicious work by Gillray).
Opening with a look at Carlton House, the Prince’s palatial residence off Pall Mall, the talk then explores the many facets of Regency architecture, interior decoration and furnishing. Heavily influenced by Romanticism and Exoticism, the sheer variety of styles will be a surprise to many and provide a fascinating insight to the period.

Stephen is an art historian, NADFAS accredited lecturer and tour guide based in both London and Shropshire. He has a particular interest in British art and architecture of the Georgian period. He has a Masters Degree in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors, then administered by University College London and based at the Wallace Collection. He has published a number of articles on country house visiting, a favourite pastime. He is also a guide at both the Royal Academy and at the V & A, where he describes himself as a creature of the British Galleries. He is driven by a desire to bring clarity to the subject of art history often clouded by academic jargon and the absence of historical context.