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Sheila Binns will explore architectural decoration by delving into the model villages of Saltaire and Akroydon.
Architectural decoration has often been used to convey messages and the later Victorian years have left us some particularly rich examples. Artistic symbolism became highly developed, allowing the expression of ideas independent of literacy. The model villages of Saltaire and Akroydon in West Yorkshire are both full of architectural decoration, which is far more than simply attractive embellishment. It carries messages that were of great importance to their respective patrons. This talk unravels the messages in these communities and provides a new understanding of architectural decoration. It aims to leave the audience to ponder the meaning of the decoration of their own favourite buildings.
Sheila Binns is a member of the Victorian Society and an independent researcher of the architectural history of the nineteenth century. Her book The Aesthetics of Utopia (2013) analyses the language of decoration, where the decorative features we see today were fundamental to the ideals and aspirations of the patrons as well as the architects. Her most recent publication (W H Crossland: an architectural biography, 2020) is the first full-length biography of the architect W H Crossland, whose career began at Akroydon.