David Packwood


in association with Warwickshire Leisure Studies

David Packwood is an art historian with interests in renaissance and baroque art- although he does occasionally teach modern art. After a career in the Civil Service, he left to study a variety of humanities subjects at university as a mature student. Settling on a career as an art historian, he became a PhD student at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, where his subject was ‘Theological and Philosophical Themes in Nicolas Poussin’. He gained his doctorate in 2005. In addition to his association with WLS, David teaches art history for Warwick University. He has also taught for the universities of Birmingham, Northampton, Coventry, and Keele, East Warwickshire College and the Open University.
He maintains a web log that has lots of useful links –Art History Today.

Art & Society in Eighteenth-Century Europe.


Starting on 17th, 18th and 19th of April on Tues, Wed, Thurs (2.00 pm to 4.00 pm)


This course runs in Solihull, (Methodist Church); Stratford-Upon Avon (Friends Meeting House, Maidenhead Rd, ); and Leamington (Oddfellows Hall).

For further details e.mail me at davidpackwood1@gmail.com

Art & Society in Eighteenth- Century Europe.

From Paris to St Petersburg, from London to Rome, the period of the eighteenth-century sees a new era in art that parallels, and contributes, to the rise of polite and enlightened society. And the century marks the appearance of the middle-classes who support art markets, and champion exhibitions, thus ensuring that art becomes part of everyday life rather than just the preserve of an aristocratic minority. After introducing the course with a general survey of the evolution of art throughout eighteenth-century Europe, the course focuses on the leisure culture of eighteenth-century England; this includes the origin of the London art market, as well as the practice of teaching art in the studios and academies. Staying with paint, but combining it with the stage, the next week explores the interpretation of Shakespeare (for this is the century of the Bard for painting)- on painters in England. Then we take a humorous journey throughout Europe looking at the growth of caricature in painting and prints, including of course Hogarth (above) and other comic masters such as Rowlandson. The next week concentrates on the progress of portrait painting in France, a genre of wit and elegance suitable to a manifestly civilised age. After this we look at social identity and painting in Italy, a place thought essential to the education of an eighteenth century gentleman. Then we look at view painters like Canaletto, Bellotto, Guardi and Pannini whose views of Rome and Venice also marked history by depicting current events, as well as imaginative views of cities through art (below). One stimulant to painters in the century was landscape, so we next analyse the importance of landscape painting with particular reference to the doctrine of the sublime (as set out by Burke and others) in theories of aesthetics and beauty. For the penultimate week, we voyage northwards to view the art of Germany, Sweden and Denmark, whose art communities were bound together, since Scandinavians were taught in eighteenth-century German academies; we also look at Anglo-Nordic artistic relationships, too. The course concludes with a week on the art of dreams and imagination in the painters of fantasy, especially Fuseli and Blake whose art looks ahead to the more turbulent mood of Romanticism, the style that replaced the orderly elegance of the eighteenth- century. Many artists are covered on the course including Blake, Canaletto, Fragonard, Fuseli, Gainsborough, Goya, Hogarth, Tiepolo, and many others.

Course Outline.

  1. The Pursuit & Pleasure of Art in Eighteenth-Century Europe.

  2. The Growth of the Art Market in Eighteenth Century England.

  3. The Theatre & the Easel: Representing Shakespeare in English Art.

  4. The Comic Century: Humour, Caricature & Satire in European Art.

  5. The Smile of Reason: Evolution of Portrait Painting in Enlightenment France.

  6. Painting and Social Identity in Eighteenth-Century Italy.

  7. The View Painter & the Eighteenth Century.

  8. Art as a Force of Nature: Landscape, Genius & Painting in Europe.

  9. Art in Eighteenth-Century Northern Europe (Germany & Scandinavia).

  10. The Nightmare of Art: Dreams & Imagination in Goya, Fuseli, Blake & the Romantics.



One thought on “David Packwood”

  1. Hi David
    I have done one of your Art History courses at WArwick.
    Please could you tell me the cost of attending the mini 10 week course on Tuscany?
    Hope you are well


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