What is the course about?
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.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What 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.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this 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.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an `introductory` course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good
grasp of English to keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and
learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our history and current
affairs courses, intellectual curiosity and an open mind are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will consist of illustrated lecture, discussions, and questions.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs are involved. You might want to bring pen and paper for any voluntary note-taking.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HBH35 Life and times of George 111.