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Professor Elizabeth McKellar

Profile summary

Professional biography

Professor Elizabeth McKellar BA, MSc, PhD is Emerita Professor in the Art History Department and previously held the Chair in Architectural and Design History 2013-20.  She joined the Open University in 2005 having previously held posts at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Birkbeck College, University of London.  She was a Member of the Editorial Committee of the London Journal (2000-2010) and a Council Member and on the Editorial Board of the London Record Society (2008-10).  She has been an Expert Assessor for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Designation Scheme for Collections of National and International Importance and was a member of the Executive Council of the Association of Art Historians (1993-95).  She has regularly acted as an advisor to Historic England and was on its London Advisory Committee (2011-17).  She has been a member of Lund Humphries Editorial Board for Architectural History since 2018 and of the Editorial Committee of the Georgian Group Journal since 2012.  She has acted as a panellist for the Oxford Preservation Trust Annual Awards for Architecture and Landscape since 2019.  In 2020 she was appointed as President Elect of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain .

Research interests

Elizabeth McKellar specialises in British architecture and culture with a focus on urbanism and housing, especially in relation to London.  Her first book The Birth of Modern London (1999) remains an essential text in the field and will be re-issued in an electronic version by Manchester University Press in 2021.  She received a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2011-12 to complete her book Landscapes of London: the City, the Country, and the Suburbs 1660-1840 (2013) which was published by Yale University Press and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and won the Society of Architectural Historians (US) Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Award in 2017.  She also writes regularly on architectural and design historiography particularly that of the late nineteenth and twentieth century, the theme of her contributions to Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal (2016).  She is currently writing a cultural biography of the architectural historian Sir John Summerson - on whom she first published an essay in her co-edited volume Articulating British Classicism - for which she was awarded a Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship for 2018-219. 

Selected Publications

Books

Landscapes of London: the City, the Country, and the Suburbs 1660-1840, (Yale University Press & Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2013)

The Birth of Modern London: the development and design of the city, 1660-1720, (Manchester University Press, 1999)

Co-editor with Barbara Arciszewska, Articulating British Classicism: New Approaches to Eighteenth-Century Architecture, Aldershot & Burlington, VT, Ashgate, 2004
Co-editor with Julian Holder, Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal, (Historic England Publishing, 2016)

Articles

‘All roof, no walls: Peter Boston, A-Frames and the Primitive Hut in twentieth-century British architecture c. 1890-1970’, Architectural History, Vol. 62, 2019, pp. 237-69.

‘Georgian London before Georgian London: Beresford Chancellor, Rasmussen and “The true and sad story of the Regent’s Street”’, in J. Holder & E. McKellar eds., Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal, Swindon, Historic England Publishing, 2016, 36-51.

 ‘The Villa: Ideal Type or Vernacular Variant?’ in, P. Guillery ed., Built from Below: British Architecture and the Vernacular, Routledge, London, 2010, pp. 49-72. 

‘C. H. B. Quennell (1872-1935): Architecture, History and the Quest for the Modern’, Architectural History: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, 50, 2007, 211-46

‘Representing the Georgian: Constructing Interiors in Early Twentieth Century Publications, 1890-1930’, Journal of Design History, 20:4, 2007, 325-44

‘Popularism versus professionalism: John Summerson and the twentieth-century creation of the “Georgian”’, in Barbara Arciszewska and Elizabeth McKellar (eds), Articulating British Classicism: New Approaches to Eighteenth-Century Architecture, (Ashgate, 2004), 35-56

‘Peripheral Visions: alternative aspects and rural presences in mid-eighteenth century London’, Art History, 22:4, 1999, 495-513

‘Architectural History: The Invisible Subject’, The Architecture Journal, 1:2, 1996, 159-64

Teaching interests

Teaching contributions to Open University courses include: .

  • ‘Pugin’s Writings’, in C. Price ed., Tradition and Dissent, OU, 2008, pp.119-28, for course AA1000 Art and its Audiences.
  • ‘St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham’ DVD 1 x 20 minute film, for course AA1000 Art and its Audiences.
  •  ‘Blenheim Palace: Reading “the Duke of Marlborough in story”’, in S. West ed., Interpreting Global Heritage, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2010, pp. 180-204, for course AD281 Understanding Global Heritage.
  • ‘The Metropolitan Urban Renaissance: London 1660-1760’, in E. Barker ed. 'Art and Visual Culture 1650-1820: Academy to Avant-Garde', London, Tate Publishing, 2012, pp.101-140, for course A226 Art and Visual Culture.
  • ‘Urban Form in Spitalfields’, DVD 3 x 20 minute films, for course A226 Art and Visual Culture, 2012.
  • A844 MA in Art History, Part Two, Chair online module in production.
  • Author Block 1, Section 3: ‘Conservation Challenges: Tall Buildings and the London Skyline’.
  • Editor Block 3 ‘Inhabiting Space’ and author Block Introduction.
  • Author Block 3, Section 2: ‘Urban Space: Eighteenth-Century London & Nineteenth-Century Paris’.
  • ‘Transatlantic architecture: classicism, colonialism and race’ in E. Barker ed., Art Commerce and Colonialism 1600-1800, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2017, pp. 153-84, for course A344 Art and its Global Histories.
  • ‘Building the British imperial world 1900–1939: the architecture of New Delhi’, in R. Dohmen ed., Empire and Art: British India, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2018, pp. 145-177, for course A344 Art and its Global Histories

External collaborations

Elizabeth McKellar was Co-Investigator as part of a research team from the Design and Art History Groups at the OU on the ‘Empowering Design Practices: transforming places of worship into inclusive and sustainable places’ 2014-20 Project.  It was funded by the AHRC under their Connected Communities and Design’ Highlight Notice (£1,5 million) in collaboration with Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Wright & Wright Architects, The Glasshouse Architects.

 

 

 

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Material Cultures Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts

 

Externally funded projects

Connected Communities & Design Highlight: Empowering Design Practices: historic places of worship as catalysts for connecting communities
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator21 Oct 201420 Oct 2020AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

Empowering Design Practices is a five-year research project exploring historic places of worship and their potential as community resources. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and includes the following partners: The Open University, Historic England, the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance, Heritage Lottery Fund and The Glass-House Community Led Design. Through this collaboration, the project aims to explore how community-led design can help empower those who look after historic places of worship to create more open, vibrant and sustainable places that respect and enhance the heritage. The project also aims to build national capacity for community-led design practice by developing open educational resources and training for design students, communities, as well as the professionals and support bodies who work with them. More information: http://empoweringdesign.net

Publications

All roof, no wall: Peter Boston, A-frames, and the Primitive Hut in Twentieth-century British Architecture c. 1890-1970 (2019)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Architectural History, 62 (pp. 237-269)


Tales of two cities: architecture, print and early guidebooksto Paris and London (2013-07-05)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Humanities, 2(3) (pp. 328-350)


Tall buildings in the London landscape (2008)
Hebbert, Michael and McKellar, Elizabeth
The London Journal, 33(3) (pp. 199-200)


Representing the Georgian interior in the Early Twentieth Century, 1890-1930 (2007)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Journal of Design History, 20(4) (pp. 325-344)


C.H.B. Quennell (1872-1935): architecture, history and the quest for the modern (2007)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Architectural History, 50 (pp. 211-246)


Peripheral Visions: Alternative aspects and rural presences in mid-eighteenth-century London (1999)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Art History, 22(4) (pp. 495-513)


'Architectural History: The Invisible Subject' in The Architecture Journal (1996)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Journal of Architecture, 1(22) (pp. 159-164)


Landscapes of London: the City, the Country and the Suburbs, 1660-1840 (2013-12-03)
McKellar, Elizabeth
ISBN : 9780300109139 | Publisher : Yale University Press | Published : New Haven


Russell Square: a lifelong resource for teaching and learning (2005)
Clarke, Richard; McKellar, Elizabeth and Symes, Michael
Clarke, Richard; McKellar, Elizabeth and Symes, Michael eds.
Birkbeck FCE Occasional paper
ISBN : 907904238 | Publisher : Centre for European Protected Area Research (CEPAR), Birkbeck, University of London | Published : London


Articulating British classicism: New approaches in Eighteenth Century architecture (2004-08)
Arciszewska, Barbara and McKellar, Elizabeth
Reinterpreting classicism: culture, reaction and appropriation
ISBN : 754637352 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK


The birth of modern London: The development and design of the city 1660-1720 (1999)
McKellar, Elizabeth
ISBN : 0 7190 4076 0 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester, UK


Chapter 1: Introduction: reappraising the Neo-Georgian (2016-05-15)
McKellar, Elizabeth and Holder, Julian
In: McKellar, Elizabeth and Holder, Julian eds. Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal (pp. 1-12)
ISBN : 978-1-84802-235-5 | Publisher : Historic England | Published : Swindon, UK


Georgian London before 'Georgian London': Beresford Chancellor, Rasmussen and the 'The true and sad story of Regent's Street (2016-05-15)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: McKellar, Elizabeth and Holder, Julian eds. Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal (pp. 38-51)
ISBN : 978-1-84802-235-5 | Publisher : Historic England | Published : Swindon, UK


Writing the New Urbanism: Architecture and Guidebooks to London and Paris, c.1650-1730 (2016-01-07)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: Arnold, Dana and Cohen, Jean-Louis eds. Paris-Londres (pp. 15-69)
ISBN : 9782884746304 | Publisher : INHA & Infolio | Published : Paris


The villa: ideal type or vernacular variant? (2011)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: Guillery, Peter ed. Built from Below: British Architecture and the Vernacular (pp. 49-72)
ISBN : 978-0-415-56532-5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


The suburban villa tradition in seventeenth and eighteenth-century London (2009)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: Arciszewska, Barbara ed. The Baroque Villa: Suburban and Country Residencies c.1600-1800 (pp. 197-208)
ISBN : 978-8360959-76-3 | Publisher : Wilanow Palace Museum | Published : Warsaw


Popularism versus professionalism: John Summerson and the 20th-century creation of the 'Georgian' (2004-08-31)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: Arciszewska, Barbara and McKellar, Elizabeth eds. Articulating British classicism: new approaches in Eighteenth-Century architecture. Reinterpreting Classicism: Culture, Reaction and Appropriation (pp. 35-56)
ISBN : 0-7546-3735-2 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK


Peripheral Visions: Alternative aspects and rural presences in mid-eighteenth century London (1999)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: Arnold, Dana ed. The Metropolis and its images: Constructing Identities for London, c. 1750-1950 (pp. 29-47)
ISBN : 0 631 21667 7 | Publisher : Blackwell | Published : Oxford, UK


The city and the country: the London vernacular in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century (1996)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In: Burton, Neil ed. Georgian Vernacular (pp. 10-18)
ISBN : 951746170 | Publisher : The Georgian Group | Published : London


Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal (2016-05-15)
McKellar, Elizabeth and Holder, Julian eds.
ISBN : 978-1-84802-235-5 | Publisher : Historic England | Published : Swindon, UK


Defining the Boundaries of London: Perambulation and the City in the Long Eighteenth Century (2014)
McKellar, Elizabeth
In : European Architectural History Network Conference (19-21 Jun 2014, Turin, Italy) (pp. 437-447)


Charles and Marjorie Quennell (2011)
McKellar, Elizabeth
Oxford University