‘Consuming the Country House’ is the title of a conference that will take place at the University of Northampton on 18 and 19 April 2012.
The theme of the conference is to look at the country house as an evolving social, economic and cultural phenomenon.
Various papers will investigate how the country house was ‘consumed’ by its owners – how and why they were built and decorated – but also how the country house was and is ‘consumed’ by visitors.
Subjects will include stately homes in the Dutch Republic, Victorian country house food, le style Rothschild at Mentmore, the collecting and display of classical sculpture, ‘foreign’ porcelain in English country houses, queer pilgrimage and the country house, the history of visiting Stowe, adultery in the country house, music in Irish country houses and showing historic interiors ‘as found’ – to name but some of them.
My own contribution will be about ‘consuming’ East Asian and the changing significance of chinoiserie in country house settings – a subject that regular readers of this blog will recognise. A full listing of all the papers as well as booking forms can be found on the Consumption and the Country House website.
The images here are all of the Kingston Lacy estate, a place transformed by the taste of a wealthy ‘super-consumer’ in the early Victorian period and which still attracts present-day consumers of beauty – and of scones.