Past Events

Re-appraising the Neo-Georgian 1880-1970


  • 6 to 7 May 2011
  • 9:00 – 5:00 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre

An International Conference organised by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, English Heritage, The Open University and the Twentieth Century Society. Convened by Dr Julian Holder, English Heritage & Dr Elizabeth McKellar, Open University.

The aim of this conference, as the first on the subject to be held in Britain, was to investigate how, where, when and why the neo-Georgian has been represented over the course of the last century and to assess its impact as a broader cultural phenomenon. Different ideologies have been attached to the neo-Georgian at different times and places, particularly notions of home, nation, gender and class. Papers explored the construction, reception and historiography of ‘the Georgian’ throughout the twentieth century in relation to a range of building types, urban planning and interiors.

The Georgian became one of the most readily identified and popular historical styles in Britain and America with significant neo-classical revivals in both countries in the early twentieth century. In the 1930s the Georgian became an admired historical style across Europe due to its strong formal similarities with modernism. By the 1960s with the tide turning against modernism and in favour of conservation Georgian towns increasingly became the centres for battles between these two approaches. Thus the Georgian town house as well as the Georgian country house became identified as symbols of certain national and historical values. Re-interpretations and adaptations of the Georgian have been a constant theme over the past century and constitute a powerful and enduring strand in Anglophile culture across the globe. Papers will consider interpretations of the neo-Georgian in places as diverse as Central Europe, Finland and New Zealand as well as Britain and America.

View of Georgian terraced buildings from Bedford square gardens

Bedford Square,