DGT Lectures

Lecture: Cottages Ornés: The Charms of the Simple Life by Roger White
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

12.30pm - 5pm Tea served at 4pm

Cerne Abbas Village Hall

Kettle Bridge Lane, Cerne Abbas, DT2 7GY

Click here to book tickets £12.00


The term ‘cottage orné’ suggests to many people Marie Antoinette and her make-believe rural ensemble in the grounds of Versailles. It is in fact an English invention of the earlier 18th century, and arguably the only architectural style that covers the whole social spectrum. It originated in simple buildings for the rural poor and gradually ascended the social ladder, becoming ever more fanciful, until it was adopted not just by aristocrats but also royalty: George IV inevitably had the largest (Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park), while the Tsar had his oxymoronically-named Cottage Palace outside St Petersburg.

Roger White, author of the definitive book on the subject (Yale University Press 2017) describes the architecture and social background of the style, with particular reference to surviving examples in Dorset and adjoining counties.

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