Online Lecture: Alfred Stevens: Master of Design, 1817-1875, by Teresa Sladen

Online Autumn Lecture Series

Crossing Boundaries: Victorian art, Design and Architecture

We are used to the idea of Victorian architecture, art and design as separate disciplines, with their own historians. But that seriously misrepresents the way that many nineteenth-century architects and designers thought and practiced. They conceived of the fine and decorative arts as part of an architectural whole – a total work of art.

These lectures will boldly break down disciplinary boundaries in a discussion of the use of colour and texture across the whole range of Victorian design and analyses of the important roles played by mosaic, stained glass, embroidery and three-dimensional wall coverings.


Alfred Stevens: Master of Design, 1817-1875, by Teresa Sladen

Tue 10 December, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

When Alfred Stevens was waiting to hear who would finally be given the commission to design the Wellington Monument he said “They must give it to me. No one else knows anything about ornament”. What he meant by this is the subject of this lecture.

While other artists usually regarded themselves either as painters, sculptors or architects, Stevens considered himself a master of all three. This enabled him to pursue the integrated approach to design to which he was naturally drawn; his sense that nothing stands alone, that everything is connected to everything else. This lies at the heart of all patternmaking and his supremacy in this field can be seen not only in his designs for a wide range of ornamental products but also in his grand schemes of architectural decoration.

Teresa Sladen studied sculpture at Camberwell School of Art and History of Art and Italian at London University. She worked for the Victorian Society for ten years before becoming a freelance architectural historian. Her publications include the chapter on ‘Mosaics’ in The Albert Memorial, ed. Chris Brooks (2001) and ‘Embellishment and Decoration 1696-1900’ in St Paul’s Cathedral Church of London 604-2004, ed. Derek Keene, Arthur Burns and Andrew Saint (2004). Her biography of Alfred Stevens is due to be published in October this year.

All attendees will be sent a recording of the talk.

Image: The Spandrels beneath the Dome, St Pauls by Alfred Stevens

Ticket Price: £6
Date: December 10th, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm