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This programme is the seventeenth television programme of the Arts Foundation Course A101. It is second in the block dealing with Art History and in it Professor Girourd examines the ideas of the P...rince Consort in the mid nineteenth century -that gave rise to the building of museums complex in South Kensington, London. The Natural History Museum is taken as a particularly fine example of Victorian idealism and artistic expression. Professor Girouard discusses the reasons why German romanesque was the main stylistic influence chosen and why it was built in the new material, terra-cotta, which influenced this decision. Inside, the building is seen as a cathedral dedicated to knowledge, where accurate copying of - German detail is replaced by motifs drawn from nature. Thus, faithful to the dictates of the Victorian art critic John Ruskin, decoration and form are made to follow function.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A101, An arts foundation course
Item code: A101; 17
First transmission date: 14-06-1978
Published: 1978
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:25:00
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Producer: Edward Hayward
Contributor: Mark Girouard
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Architecture; Baroque; Museums; Revivalism; Romanesque; Terracotta
Footage description: Film of the Natural History Museum throughout the whole programme, with Mark Girouard commenting over. The programme opens with a view of the Museum from the tower the Imperial Institute. Girouard comments on the alignment of these two buildings with the Royal College of Science and the Royal Albert Hall. Over a portrait of Prince Albert Girouard describes the Consort's ideals and his role in the creation of London's Victorian museums. Shots of both the exterior and interior of the Natural History Museum. Print of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Portraits of Richard Owen, first head of the Natural History Museum, and of Alfred Waterhouse, the museum's architect. Girouard describes the initial plans for the Museum, some of which are shown. Over shots of the exterior he compares the Museum to a baroque palace. Francis Fowke's rejected plans for the museum are shown. Girouard compares these with Waterhouse's design. Over shots of the museum he describes how the plans were finalised, and comments on the cathedral like tone of the buiIding. Over shots of details of the Museum's fabric Girouard talks about Waterhouse's use of terracotta. He explains the architect's use of German gothic as his model. Details of the museum's many carvings are shown. Girouard indicates Waterhouse's aims in such large scale use of sculpture. Film of the building's roof and facade. He comments on the multiplicity of architectural styles, but argues for an overall unity. Girouard describes features in the great hall of the Museum and relates them to Romanesque church architecture. Organ music played over as the camera explores the interior. Girouard specifically mentions the side-chapels, staircases and roof decorations. The various galleries are examined and architectural influences are identified. Girouard pays particular attention to lighting in the galleries. The conclusion, Girouard comments on the variety of architectural styles present in the museum. Film of various features of the building. He explains why the Museum is characteristic of Victorian Architecture.
Master spool number: 6HT/72895
Production number: 00525_3443
Videofinder number: 2607
Available to public: no