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Title: Thomas Jefferson, Sir John Soane and Maria Cosway : the Transatlantic Design Network, 1768-1838
Author: Willkens, D. S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 2310
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Political, economic, and literary historians have studied the connections between America and Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Less consideration, however, has been given to how transatlantic exchange influenced achitectural culture during this period. This thesis examines select figues within architectural and artistic circles and argues that they effectiely constituted a transatlantic design network: a shared and fluid netork of people, sites, texts and objects that transcended nationalistic concerns. The contours and impact of the Transatlantic Design Network on architectural culture will be traced through a detailed study of Thomas Jeffeson (1743-1826) and Sir John Soane (1753-1837). Although Jeffeson and Soane never met, each man corresponded with Maria Hadfield Coswy (1760-1838), an artist, designer, and educator, for over four decades. Jeffeson and Soane exchanged letters and material objects with Cosway, such as drawings, books, artifacts, and personal contacts, through which they cultivated a set of shared aesthetic and social concerns. They were united by a love of picturesque landscapes, valued tradition and technological innovation in architecture, and were keenly interested in learned institutions. Offering a ereading of Monticello and Soane’s Museum through the lens of the network, this thesis counters the view of Soane and Jeffeson as autonomous innovators. Their house-museums tested how architecture could be more than an armature for displaying collections: buildings could act as the ultimate artifact, reflectie of the architects’ careful study of precedents, knowledge of contemporary archaeological and scientific discveries, and dedication to a design process that lasted more than forty years. By placing the landscapes, architecture, and collections of Monticello and Soane’s Museum in conversation, this thesis argues that Jeffeson, Soane, Cosway, and others contributed to and benefitted fom a transatlantic network of exchange that forged a distinct architectural culture linking the Early Republic of America and the Second British Empire.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available