Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Announcing The George B Clarke Prize


A biennial prize of £2,000 has been launched by the Hall Bequest Trust in association with The Georgian Group in recognition of the great contribution that George Clarke has made to Stowe in Buckinghamshire. In the course of over sixty years, the historian and champion of Stowe was a Chairman of the Hall Bequest Trust, which aims to support Stowe through acquisitions and education. 

Stowe House (a school since 1923) was built as a summer residence of the Temple-Grenville family, and in its completed form remains amongst the grandest of eighteenth-century mansions. From c.1688-1810 it was remodelled in numerous phases by many of the leading architects of the age including Vanbrugh, Gibbs, Kent and Soane, though the family also took a personal involvement in aspects of design. Recent restoration work has spurred new research and interest. Yet the magnificent landscape gardens which remain remarkably intact are no less interesting. They are owned by the National Trust which has recently invested heavily in replanting the early Georgian gardens and creating a new visitor centre.

Much remains to be discovered about Stowe, as its cultural context is notably broad, while the 350,000 historic Stowe papers are held at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, with which George Clarke was instrumental in developing a close working relationship.

The £2,000 Prize will be awarded for original research pertinent to Stowe within the fields of architecture, architectural history, the material arts or landscape design.

To apply, please e-mail your research proposal to by 30 June 2016. The winner will be invited to write an article arising from his or her research, which will be considered for publication in The Georgian Group Journal, and to give a lecture within three months of completion of the research.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A warm welcome to our new Secretary

Dr Jonathan Foyle joins the Georgian Group as Secretary from 13 January, succeeding Robert Bargery, who has decided to move on to new challenges after fourteen years' distinguished service marked by innovations such as the annual Architectural Awards. 

Dr Foyle holds wide-ranging interests in the built environment, having trained in architectural design, art history and archaeology. Beginning his career at Canterbury Cathedral, he curated the conservation and presentation of the multi-period architecture of Hampton Court and Kew Palace. As Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain from 2007, he campaigned, fundraised, and advised on numerous major Georgian buildings such as Stowe House, St George's Bloomsbury, Shobdon Church in Herefordshire, John Knill's Monument in St Ives Cornwall, and Walpole's Strawberry Hill. A regular speaker, Financial Times writer and award-winning BBC presenter, he is author of three monographs on English cathedrals and honorary Visiting Professor of Conservation at the University of Lincoln. Dr Foyle says:

"I am delighted and honoured to join the Georgian Group, an essential, admired and deeply experienced statutory body with a vigorously engaged membership. I look forward to helping the Group optimise our work in what are challenging times, when we need to speak more clearly and convincingly than ever on the importance of understanding, looking after and enjoying the wonders we've been so fortunate to inherit from the long- and very broad- eighteenth century."

Robert Bargery said: "I am delighted to be leaving the Georgian Group in the excellent hands of Jonathan Foyle, who combines a deep knowledge of historic buildings with a great ability to communicate his passion. With him at the helm, the charity is well-positioned to meet the challenge of protecting and preserving Georgian buildings and landscapes".