Phil Archer

Of No Great Size or Utility: English Garden Temples in Miniature
Thursday, January 18, 3:00 p.m.
ZSR Library Room 625

Presentation by Phil Archer at 3pm in ZSR Library Room 624, exhibit and reception to follow in the Special Collections & Archives Research Room (625).

Among the more negligible fruits of the Age of Enlightenment there remain a number of English garden temples from the 18th century. They were derived from classical models and dedicated to various classical gods, goddesses, muses, “ancient virtue,” even pastoral poetry. Later referred to as “follies,” the little temples signaled that their owners paid attention during their grand tours of Europe, much as the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered replicas of Greek temples to be built for his contemplation at his villa many centuries earlier. In recent years, I’ve been carving little copies in mahogany and walnut of these English temples –technically copies of copies, since the British borrowed so unabashedly from historical models. In this talk, I’ll share some stories of the eccentrics and obsessives who adorned their justly famous gardens with the columns and domes of antiquity. Togas optional.

Phil Archer (BA ’03, MBA ’06) is the Betsy Main Babcock Deputy Director at Reynolda. He recently organized two exhibitions at Reynolda House: The Voyage of Life: Art, Allegory, and Community Response and The O’Keeffe Circle: Artist as Gallerist and Collector. He is also the curator of the exhibition Smith & Libby: Two Rings, Seven Months, One Bullet. In 2016, Archer was recognized by the Southeastern Museums Conference with its annual Outstanding Services to the Museum Profession Award.