OVN - Masonic symbolism in 18th century gardens - call for papers
IN 18TH CENTURY GARDENS
Influence of Intellectual and Esoteric Currents, such as Freemasonry.
September 2006, Schloss Schwetzingen, Germany
OVN, foundation for the advancement of academic study of the history of
freemasonry in the Netherlands.
Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Amt Mannheim
Dr. Monika Scholl and Prof.Dr.Jan Snoek
During the 18th century, freemasonry provided a social network
for men of different walks of life, including many aristocrats, intellectuals,
artists and architects. Membership of a masonic order was socially accepted at
the time and it was even fashionable to make one’s membership subtly known to
others, for instance through the use of domestic objects with symbolic
decorations. Also the decoration of houses could be used in this respect.
In the same time period, garden design and landscape art incorporated
classical, mythological and religious symbolism, and gardens became an
expression of the status, personality and learning of their owners.
It was not uncommon for a garden design to include ‘hidden’
symbolism, for the path through a garden to reflect a journey of initiation, or
for architectural follies to be built in the shape of masonic temples. This
symbolism was purposefully ‘hidden’, meant to be discovered by the initiated
or to enlighten the visitor with new insights.
Today, we are no longer familiar with common 18th century
iconography and unable to read the visual clues to the meaning of such gardens.
Art historical approaches and heritage preservation policies are traditionally
based on Christian iconography, and have largely overlooked the importance of
masonic and esoteric symbolism to art, architecture and garden design. Recent
academic studies, however, have shown the importance of masonic heritage to our
cultural collective heritage and brought the hidden symbolism in historical
gardens to the centre of attention.
This conference aims to provide an introduction into the masonic and
esoteric symbolism in 18th century garden architecture, provide an
overview of recent academic research into the subject, and raise awareness of
the importance of preserving the remaining sites as a part of our cultural
The conference takes place at the summer residence of ‘Kurfürst’
Theodor in Schwetzingen, the location of one of the eldest, most intricate and
best preserved masonic gardens in the world.
Call for papers
Students and scholars of all disciplines are invited to submit paper
proposals (in English or German) of max. 350 words, accompanied by a short c.v.
of the speaker, before 15 June 2006.
The conference will take place at Schloss Schwetzingen, Germany. Due
to the limited number of seats available, registration in advance is required.
Registration fees: €25,- for students / PhD students (proof/photocopy
of college or university registration required); €25,- for members of OVN and
ESSWE; €50,- for other participants. Registration fees are to be payed on
arrival and include tea/coffee and conference hand outs. (Lunch is excluded.
Participants can have lunch at a café or restaurant of their choice near the
venue.) More information on the registration procedure and location will be made
available to participants at a later date.
For more information, submission of proposals, and registration, please
- drs. Andrea Kroon, OVN <firstname.lastname@example.org>.