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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF1047 The English Country House: Making and Meaning

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Kerry Bristol

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Country houses are one of Britain’s greatest contributions to world culture, but who created them and why? Have they always functioned as ‘containers’ for art collections or have they had deeper meanings and a wider social impact? Using Yorkshire’s world-class country houses as case studies, this module will introduce you to the builders of the country house; the often difficult relationship between patron and architect; the ‘upstairs’ lives of the men, women and children who lived in the country house and the ‘downstairs’ world of the men and women who served them; and the allied arts of interior design and decoration. Particular emphasis will be placed on the transformation of the country house into a ‘curated’ heritage site in the twentieth century and the growth of heritage organisations such as the National Trust.


This module aims to familiarise students with the architecture of the English country house between the sixteenth and twenty first centuries, particularly that of local country houses such as Temple Newsam, Harewood House and Lotherton Hall; the role of country houses as tourist attractions/museums; the ways in which curatorial methods have developed since World War II; and the different approaches architectural historians have taken when writing about country houses.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be familiar with what a country house was (and is) through gaining an understanding of the themes and methodologies of architectural history. They should be able to ‘read’ the plan and façade of selected country houses, understand the different approaches authors have taken when writing about the country house, and assess the different curatorial approaches taken when presenting the country house as a museum. Through visits to selected Yorkshire sites, students should become familiar with country houses in the Leeds area and develop an ability to use them as examples in class discussions, essays, seminar papers and exams.


In this module we will analyse the country house visually and consider its functions and purposes by observing the links between architectural forms, social functions and cultural meanings. We will consider the idea of the country house as a museum and explore the ways in which the country house affects our understanding of museums and how we study them today. Through engagement with, and study of, a number of local country houses students will explore the architectural development and social and cultural history of the English country house; the role of the country house in our understanding of national, class and gender identity; how the country house acts as a metaphor by addressing how it has been represented over the years in literature and the media; and the country house in relation to the museum and museum studies. The module includes guided visits, where students are encouraged to consider various approaches to the presentation of a country house to a 21st-century audience.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

178 hours comprised of weekly reading, seminar presentation preparation, researching and writing one essay, exam revision.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Oral presentation, participation in class discussion

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 X 2,500-3,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/11/2018 09:25:45


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