The 18th century saw the end of the Stuart period and the beginning of the Georgian age. During this period, British artists and designers were increasingly influenced by other cultures, including Europe, the ancient civilations of the classical world, and new Asian trade partners.
18th-Century Interior Design
The 18th century saw the rise of a number of highly influential interior designers and architects such as William Kent, James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, Robert Adam and Horace Walpole. A number of rooms from 18th-century houses have been reconstructed in the V&A’s British Galleries.
The 18th century saw an explosion of opera across Europe. Opera houses were built in all the major European cities and new operas were commissioned for each season. The King's theatre became the home of opera in the 18th and 19th centuries where operas were the main offering in the evening's entertainment, usually interspersed with dances and sometimes a short play or farce as an afterpiece.
During the 18th century theatre flourished as a popular pastime and many theatres were enlarged and new playhouses built in London and the provinces. One of the most successful shows on the London Stage in the early part of the 18th century was the ballad opera The Beggar's Opera. John Gay recycled popular songs of the day and wrote new lyrics that were humorous and satirical.
Blog: Designing William Kent
This blog is a behind-the-scenes look at the process of delivering a major exhibition. These posts will focus on the many different aspects of curating and designing a show, as well as highlighting links between the exhibition and Kent’s work elsewhere in the country.