A new apology for the builder
in Building reputations
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Borrowing its title from the notorious seventeenth-century speculative builder Nicholas Barbon’s seminal work on free market economics, published in 1685, the introduction offers a new apology for a much-maligned member of the architectural community: the building artisan. Taking the form of a discursive chapter in its own right, it weaves together a critical literature review with an extended analysis of the artisan’s place within architectural, design and cultural histories. Topics include the adverse effect of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century criticisms of the building community on modern scholarship; distinctions between intellectual and manual labour in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; and the systemic problems arising from a new literature devoted to British Atlantic world studies.

Building reputations

Architecture and the artisan, 1750– 1830


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