Francis Place, William Lodge & The York Virtuosi
A talk at Hospitalfield House about the York Virtuosi by Dr Helen Pierce (University of Aberdeen).
The antiquarian George Vertue (1684-1756) sets the scene: during the later decades of the seventeenth century “…there were then residing at York a set of most Ingenious Virtuosos.” This collection of gentlemen, largely of independent financial means, included a physician, a topographer, a mathematician, several amateur artists and a glass painter, who met regularly in the city on social and intellectual terms.
This talk will focus on the activities of two members of the Virtuosi, firm friends and ‘sworn brothers’ Francis Place and William Lodge, both of whom are represented in the collections at Hospitalfield. From fishing trips and sketching tours, to scientific illustrations and experimental pottery, with a case of mistaken identity and brief imprisonment thrown in for good measure, Place and Lodge highlight ways in which the visual arts contributed towards the polite recreations and self-improvement of the independently wealthy in early modern Britain.
Dr Helen Pierce is Lecturer in British Art at the University of Aberdeen having previously worked as postdoctoral research fellow at the University of York’s Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and two years as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. She has also held research fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC and the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.