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The Enlightement - Background


Olaus Worm's Cabinet of Curiosities

William Blake's Newton

Enlightenment - AKA Aufklarung



An Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason) was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe, that sought to mobilize the power of reason, in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition, intolerance and abuses in church and state.

The Enlightenment by Roy Porter

Prelude to American and French Revolutions
18th Century?
Long 18th Century - 1660's - 1820's

'Whatever one thinks it is' Norman Hampson 1968



Act of Union With Scotland - 1707 forming 'Great Britain'
Act of Union - with Ireland 1801 'United Kingdom'

British Empire

Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Sugar


Coffee Houses

Meeting Places for dissemination of ideas, for conversation and for business

2,000 clubs and Socs

Subscribing to Newsapers, Journals, pamphlets

for Stock exchange - Garroways and Jonathans
For Insurance and Cargoes - Lloyds & the Baltic
Literary Clubs - Wills, - Dryden, Buttons - Addison Dr Johnson's Literary Club, Soho
Burke, Reynolds, Banks, Garrick, Sheriden, Gibbon, Adam Smith
Thespians - Bedford

Artists - Old Slaughters

Spitalfields Math. Soc
Soc for encouragement of learning
Old Cogers
Political Clubs - Torys: Smyrna Pall Mall - Whigs - Kit Kat Club , Hampstead
Revolutionary clubs Sons of Freedom, Antigallican



From Blind Faith - To investigation of God's creation

From Intensive reading - To extensive reading

Licensing Act lapses - pre publication censorship ended

Publication - 1620's 6,000 titles published
1710's 21,000
1790's 56,000 plus



Toll Roads & improved stage coach design lead to increases in speed

Manchester to London

Toll Roads

1750 4.5 days 1788 28 hrs


Birmingham to London 1740 1 a day 1763 30 a day


London milepost


From Axial (via London) To Cross Post

Daily services

1794 - new Penny Post Office
6 deliveries a day
Post at 9
arrive same PM


Panini - Architectual Capriccio with an Apostle


Grand Tour became common for the Aristocracy from 1660's onwards

Society of Dilettanti ( from Italiy to delight ) founded in 1732

Publishing, Drawing, Measuring, Collecting

Herculamium excavations - 1709
Pompeii - 1748

Royal Soc of Art founded 1758

Page updated 4th March 2012

Lecture by Kevin Flude - prepared for 'Creative Practice in Narrative Environments'

MA course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design & developed for University College Worcester

Email the Author.Template Last Updated on 23 March 2006Cultural Heritage Resouces