From 1551 when Old Somerset House became a royal residence it occupied an important place in court, architectural, religious and metropolitan history. As the home of Queen's consort from Anne of Denmark to Catharine of Braganza, it lay in the forefront of architectural innovation and became a conduit for French ideas in court entertainment, the decorative arts and etiquette. It also became a focus for Catholic worship and anti-Catholic sentiment in London.
The Somerset House Conference (named after the peace conference held there by James I in 1604) aims to examine the influence and importance of the building and the courts of the Stuart queens there.
Speakers will include:
David Starkey, 'Somerset House under the Tudors'
Maurice Howard, 'Somerset House in 1550'
Simon Thurley, 'Architectural Innovation in the State Apartments at Somerset House under the Stuarts'
David Baldwin, 'The Role of the Regular and Secular Orders at Somerset House and St James's under the Stuarts'
Caroline Hibbard, 'Henrietta Maria's Somerset House Chapel and the Topography of London Catholicism'
Roy Sherwood, 'No Longer Royal? Somerset House during the Commonwealth'
Peter Leech, 'Music and Musicians in the Catholic Chapel of Catherine of Braganza 1662-92'
Frances Harris, 'Somerset House: Restoration to Popish Plot'.
The conference will take place on Friday 28th September in the Courtauld Institute Lecture Theatre (within Somerset House) with an evening reception in the Gilbert Collection Silver Galleries.
This event is being held in association with the Society for Court Studies and the Friends of Somerset House.
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