Imagining the Orient before Orientalism: Georgian Travellers and the Emergence of Taste in 18th Century British Architecture

This project focuses on the architectural transfers from the (imagined) East to the West beyond the mere application of so-called Turqueries or Chinoiseries. Taking eighteenth century travel accounts and the perspective of the orientalist traveller as my starting point, I study how a new “taste” finds its way in architectural theory and practice – before the establishment of “orientalism” as a new building paradigm in the nineteenth century. As the “Grand Tour” increasingly became a part of a bourgeois lifestyle at the start of the eighteenth century, a new layer of traveller-professionals was able to share experiences with those at home, adding new insights to the “classical” canon of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The project at hand aims to study these transfers based on travel accounts, disclosing their influence on the emergence of a new architectural “taste” as early as the eighteenth century in Britain.

 Supervision: Anne-Françoise Morel

Phd-student working on the project: Lobke Geurs