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Title: Architectural transactions : architecture in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1665-1700)
Author: Astengo, Gregorio
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 1386
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates early modern architecture in the Philosophical Transactions, the monthly journal of the Royal Society of London. Founded in 1665, the Philosophical Transactions is considered the first 'scientific' periodical in history as it was primarily dedicated to original empirical investigations informed by the Royal Society's nascent culture of experiment. As such, the thesis identifies the Transactions during its first 35 years of publication as a significant 'site' for studying seventeenth century architecture as part of the journal's experimental interest. On one hand, the research examines the Transactions' vast primary material as an original source for architectural history and, on the other hand, it identifies the journal as a form of early modern architecture. The thesis argues that architecture in the journal emerges through forms of 'transaction', i.e. as systems and networks of relations between authors, objects and places, design practices and trade, writing and drawing, travelling and building, copying, editing and printing. These are examined through the Transactions' local and international modes of production, such as its experimental composition and manufacturing, and in the vast amount of written and drawn contents of the journal, such as experimental reports, image-making and travel narratives. Through these aspects, early modern architecture in the Transactions appears as a system of processes through largely lesser-known practices and authors (e.g. mechanical practitioner Joseph Moxon, chaplain William Halifax and mathematical artist George Sinclair), and expands on existing scholarship on late seventeenth-century English architecture and architects (e.g. Wren and Hooke). The thesis is divided into four chapters, identified as four categories of transactions. First, I investigate the journal's material production and its relation with architectural practices in post-1666 London and around the Royal Society. I then examine the strategies for making and composing the journal's vast visual apparatus, especially in relation with optical technologies, mechanisation and drawing techniques. Successively, I study the written contents of the journal as a way to present architecture through travel accounts, antiquarian reports, building descriptions and modes of writing and transmitting distant information. Finally, I trace the European dimension of the Transactions, especially in relation to France and the Netherlands, through cross-national forms of architectural transactions such as correspondences, translations and displacements of people and objects.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available