William Sterling

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Life and Times of King George II

February 14 @ 11:00 am - February 21 @ 1:30 pm

  1. What is the course about?l

George II is perhaps best remembered as the last British monarch to lead his troops into battle and also as the instigator of the custom of standing for the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah.  His reign marked the high point of Handel’s career which the King did much to promote but also saw other great achievements in British culture with the art of Hogarth and the works of Pope and Swift.  In politics, Robert Walpole created the post of Prime Minister and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion was the last attempt by the Stuarts to regain power and made him into an instant legend.  Towards the end of the reign men like Pitt, Wolfe and Clive laid the foundations of the British empire whilst the Agricultural Revolution was transforming British society.

  1. What topics will we cover?

George II’s life looked at more or less chronologically.  In each session his personal life and family will be examined as well as the role he played as Prince of Wales and King as well as looking at the background to his “times”, the social and cultural state of the nation.  Themes that will come out include the changes in politics with the development of the post of Prime Minister under Robert Walpole and his successors, foreign affairs such as the wars against France and the famous Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 under Bonnie Prince Charlie, cultural developments especially in music and the role of the court in the works of Handel (who wrote much of his best loved music for the royal family) and his contemporaries, the art of Hogarth, Britain’s first great native painter of everyday life who nevertheless ended up by being given a royal appointment, and the early development of the British Empire in Canada and India under great leaders like Wolfe and Clive.

  1. By the end of the course you should be able to:

Discuss the place and role of the monarchy in the eighteenth century with more authority

Listen to music and look at art from the period with greater appreciation of the background to how the composers and artists approached their work

Recall facts and events from the reign to put in context with other historical studies

Recognize the style of the period and influences on our modern world

Analyse the interaction between the court and the events going on around them