Humanities West Restoration London release 2_22_13
Humanities West Restoration London release 2_22_13

Charles II: Phoenix of Restoration London

Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

5 lectures and 1 performance. The restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660 energized London to escape the long shadow of civil war and Puritanism. Although battered by plague and a contested political and religious landscape, Restoration London burst with creative energy. Fueled by the Merrie Monarch’s patronage, the Court at Whitehall became a great cultural center of Europe, providing non-stop intrigue and entertainment. Theatres reopened and women appeared on stage for the first time; accomplished musicians gave the first public concerts. Restoration London also spawned a thriving public sphere, with Court antagonists spewing forth in coffee houses, clubs and newspapers, much to the Court’s chagrin. This artistic (and sometimes lusty) exuberance was matched by scientific and architectural advances, spurred by Charles’s sponsorship of the prestigious Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge – a superior example of the Restoration club. In planning the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666, club luminaries fostered not only a more rational and spacious city, but the first political parties, first relatively free press, public patronage of the arts, an explosion of scientific knowledge, and other hallmarks of modernity. It may be that Restoration London invented the Modern world.

Humanities West Board Fellow Dimitrios Latsis has archived selected program materials, including audio of lectures and performances if available, at the non-profit Internet Archive here.

Friday, 7:30 to 10 pm


Power, Pomp and Pleasure in the Restoration Court.
Robert Bucholz
 (History, Loyola U Chicago)

We might be tempted to think of the Restoration Court as the equivalent of the White House or Buckingham Palace, but it was much more than that. Charles II’s household was not merely the seat of government, but the social and cultural center of England, its Bloomsbury and Carnegie Hall, the corner of Hollywood and Vine, People magazine and American Idol, the round table of the Algonquin Hotel and the greatest frat party in history. This lecture addresses the personality and predilections of the Merrie Monarch, his cultural and social patronage, and why the Restoration Court became synonymous with scandal and fun: in the words of Walter Bagehot, “the focus where everything fascinating gathered and where everything exciting centred.”

20-Minute Intermission

Performance. Music of Seventeenth-Century London

Saturday   10 am to noon     1:30 to 4 pm


London in the Reign of Charles II.
Tim Harris
 (History, Brown University)

The reign of Charles II was a period of recovery and resurgence for London. But it was also a period of coming to terms with the past, of dealing with the legacy of the mid-century revolution. London had led the resistance to the Stuart monarchy and been a hotbed of Puritan radicalism. As the Good Old Cause died an inglorious death, Londoners welcomed back their king in 1660 amidst widespread jubilation, but what sort of monarchy did they want and what would they do if they felt that Charles II was going down the same road as his father Charles I? Professor Harris explores the political and religious divisions that were to tear Restoration London apart, divisions that were to crystallize around the formation of the first political parties in the modern world.

20-Minute Intermission

How I Learned to Love Restoration Theater.
Blair Hoxby
 (English, Stanford)

The Restoration stage is a bundle of contradictions. Plays written by Shakespeare’s generation were now performed in modern, indoor theaters with actresses (rather than boys) playing the female roles. A new age demanded new theater. Shakespeare’s romantic comedies gave place to the libertine sex comedies of authors such as Aphra Behn. His tragedies were overshadowed by heroic plays written according to the rules of Aristotle. What these brutal comedies and high-flown tragedies have in common is their commitment to the passions: their belief that the experience of desire and aversion, joy and despair define us as humans. Restoration theater lays bare human motivation with an objectivity that we still find bracing. But after fifteen years of trying to improve on Shakespeare, some authors began to suspect that he would not again be equaled.  Thus the Restoration also prepared the ground for the cult of Shakespeare that would soon sweep the world.

Lunch Break at noon. Program resumes at 1:30 pm

Mistresses, Maidens, and Noble Pictures in Restoration England, 1660-1685.  Julia Marciari-Alexander (Deputy Director, San Diego Museum of Art)

This lecture examines some of the spectacular portraits of the most famous women at the court of Charles II of England. These paintings were highly significant within the cultural production at the Restoration court, and, as objects, they reflect both the spirit of the age as well as the individual characters of the women portrayed. These works range from sumptuous full-length oil paintings to intimate, jewel-like miniatures and are among the most beautiful images produced in England between 1660 and 1685. They were – and have since been – collected and displayed with pride in important houses in Great Britain and abroad. By considering the life stories of these remarkable women, Dr. Marciari-Alexander assesses the ways in which these women and their portraits can inform our 21st-century understanding of Restoration culture and the role visual art played in the shaping of this early modern society.

How Strong Coffee and Free Conversation Restored London after Plague and Fire.
 Bucholz (History, Loyola U Chicago)

As the Restoration Court began to decline into insolvency and political isolation, Restoration London saw the rise of new forms of sociability and patronage. Coffee houses, clubs and pleasure-gardens offered all that the Court could (food, drink, entertainment, conversation and networking) without the formality or constraint of a court. These venues promoted free conversation abetted by the rise of the newspaper and essay magazine. The government’s failure to control these new media enabled the dissemination of new ideas in politics and science. Puritan preachers argued that the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666 were punishments for Restoration London’s obsession with pleasure and freedom of speech. But rather than repent, the men who forged these ideas in clubs and coffee houses rebuilt London as a rational and imperial capital. Its symbol was Sir Christopher Wren’s new St. Paul’s Cathedral: baroque yet neo-classical, imposing yet welcoming, everything the new, modern city needed in its parish church.

Stretch break

Panel Discussion with Written Questions from the Audience

Conclusion: 4:00 pm


Robert O. Bucholz (Professor of History, Loyola University Chicago) has authored The Augustan Court: Queen Anne and the Decline of Court Culture(Stanford, 1993); with Sir John Sainty, KCB, Officials of the Royal Household 1660-1837, 2 vols. (Institute of Historical Research, London, 1997-98); and, with Newton Key, Early-modern England 1485-1714: a Narrative History(Blackwell, 2003). He has taped several series in The Great Courses, all rated highly: History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts; Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World; London: A Short History of the Greatest City in the Western World. His particular interests include early modern Britain, the British Court and Royal Household 1660-1901, and early modern London. His latest projects are Londoners: a Social and Cultural History of the Metropolis 1550-1750 with J.P. Ward (Cambridge, in press) and Power, Pomp and Pleasure: a Political, Social and Cultural History of the British Court 1660-1901 (Oxford, forthcoming).

Tim Harris (PhD, Cambridge) is Munro-Goodwin-Wilkinson Professor in European History, Brown University). A social historian of politics, his books include London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II (1987), The Politics of Religion in Restoration England (1990), Politics Under the Later Stuarts(1993), Popular Culture in England, c. 1500-1850 (1995), The Politics of the Excluded, c. 1500-1850 (2001), Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms 1660-1685 (2005) and Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685-1720 (2006). Recipient of grants and fellowships from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, British Academy, Folger Shakespeare Library, Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Huntington Library, Mellon Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities, he has also held visiting fellowships at Wolfson College, Oxford and at Merton College, Oxford, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and taught at the Folger Shakespeare Library. He edits the book series Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History for Boydell Press and is on the editorial board of the journal History of European Ideas. His study of the Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War is forthcoming at Oxford.

Blair Hoxby (PhD, Yale) is Associate Professor of English at Stanford University. He is the author of Mammon’s Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton (2002), and he is editing a new collection entitled Milton in the Long Restoration. He has published numerous articles on the Restoration stage and, more generally, on tragedy and tragic opera before Mozart.  This research should be appearing soon in two books, What Was Tragedy? 1515-1795 and Reading for the Passions: Performing and Interpreting Tragedy and Tragic Opera in the Neo-classical Order.

Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a “master of the scoreʼs wandering and acrobatic itinerary,” Joshua Lee (viola da gamba) performs with some of the world’s leaders in early music. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory and the Longy School of Music, Josh is the founder of Ostraka, and he has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carmel Bach Festival, Musica Angelica, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Les Délices, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Josh’s performances have been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Todayand Harmonia, and he has recorded for Dorian, Koch International and Reference Recordings. In 2011 Josh toured the US and South America forThe Infernal Comedy starring acclaimed actor John Malkovich, and in 2012 Josh directed the fourth Viola da Gamba Society’s Young Playersʼ Weekend.

Rita Lilly (soprano) has appeared as featured soloist with American Boychoir, American Classical and American Symphony Orchestras, Artek, Bachworks, Bach Aria Group, Clarion Music Society, Collegium Antiquum, Concert Royal, Rebel, and the NY Consort of Viols. In the Bay area, Ms. Lilly has been a soloist with AVE, Albany Consort, American Bach Soloists, Bay Choral Guild, Berkeley Early Music Festival, California Bach Society, Chora Nova, City Concert Opera, Magnificat Baroque Ensemble, Musicsources, New Music Works, SF Concert Chorale, SF Renaissance Voices, and Sacramento Baroque. She toured the US and abroad with Waverly Consort. She was featured on WNYC, WNCN, NPR, and Radio-Canada live broadcasts. She made her NY Weill Recital Hall debut in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Collegium Antiquum. Her recordings include three on EMI; Handel and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus on Musical Heritage; Scarlatti’s St. Cecilia Mass on Newport Classic; Sowerby’s Medieval Poem on Naxos; a German Baroque Christmas on Musicmasters and Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Patricia Lundberg, PhD is Emerita Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Indiana University Northwest and Executive Director, Humanities West. At IU Northwest she also served as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as well as interim Dean and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining Humanities West she served as Founding Executive Director of the Center for Regional Excellence and the Center for Cultural Discovery and Learning. Her doctorate is from Loyola University Chicago, where she also earned a BA Summa Cum Laude and a Masters in English. She is the recipient of several grants and awards and has post-doctoral training from Harvard in leadership.

Julia Marciari-Alexander is Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at The San Diego Museum of Art. Earlier, she was Associate Director for Exhibitions and Publications at the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA). A specialist in the arts and visual culture of Britain and France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, she holds a PhD in History of Art (Yale) and a MA in French Literature (NYU). In 2001, she curated, with Catharine MacLeod of the National Portrait Gallery, London, Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II and edited the exhibition catalogue. In 2007, she curated, with David Scrase (Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge), Howard Hodgkin Paintings 1992-2007, named one of the ten best exhibitions of 2007 by Time. She publishes regularly and has organized and managed numerous exhibitions, among them Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman with the Cincinnati Art Museum, the San Diego installation of which LA Timescritic Christopher Knight named one of his top ten California exhibitions of 2011.

Gilbert Martinez (harpsichord) is Artistic Director of MusicSources, Center for Historically Informed Performance Inc. in Berkeley. In five years as director, he has expanded MusicSources’ concerts into an international series featuring scholars, performers and students from around the world. He studied harpsichord with MusicSources Founder Laurette Goldberg at the SF Conservatory of Music, and subsequently went to Italy to study briefly with Alan Curtis. Mr. Martinez was named assistant conductor to Alan Curtis in the critically acclaimed Berkeley West Edge Opera production of Handel’s “SERSE.” On the MusicSources Concert Series he recently conducted a reconstruction of a Spanish Renaissance vespers service, with music for double and triple choirs of Tomas Luis de Victoria and contemporaries. This coming season he will be performing the complete oeuvre for harpsichord of Jean-Philippe Rameau in concerts in Southern California and Canada. More conducting projects will include Monteverdi’s “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” and Scarlatti’s “La Guiditta.” More of his activity can be seen at