Mansion House Doncaster

The website of The Friends of Doncaster Mansion House

James Paine Festival Launch

Saturday 25th March saw the launch of the James Paine Festival at the Mansion House.

Around 130 people attended the afternoon event, including some Paine property owners and curators, to view the Paine exhibition and hear from a range of speakers about Paine and his world and the architecture of the Mansion House. The celebrations were preceded by an ‘open house’ in the morning where the public were offered guided tours by Mansion House volunteers and an opportunity to view the exhibition.

We of course are biased, we think the Mansion House is perhaps Paine’s finest work. But there was no doubt that this civic building with its long history of public gatherings provided the perfect setting to launch our celebrations of this great Georgian architect.

The partnership between the Friends and University of York produced the centrepiece of the exhibition, the James Paine Story. This was created by George Norton, an MA student at York who is working with the Friends until September 2017 to help develop a wider appreciation of Paine and his work. The exhibition also showcased some of Paine’s published plans and drawings, demonstrating the range and output of the architect.

The afternoon event, which took place in Paine’s magnificent ballroom, was launched by Doncaster’s civic mayor, Councillor David Nevett and was chaired by the Friends chairman, the Venerable Bob Fitzharris.

Carolyn Dalton, Doncaster Council’s Heritage Services Manager gave an introduction to this HLF funded project and outlined what she hope to achieve through the project, as well as then giving everyone a brief feel for the history of Regency Doncaster – part of the Doncaster’s Georgian golden age.

Carolyn was followed by George Norton from University of York who explained the link between the University of York, the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House and the James Paine celebrations. He introduced James Paine, explaining who he was and outlining a brief contextual life. He also talked about the exhibition, why it is important and why we are right to celebrate Paine. With reference to the exhibition, he introduced Paine’s key works and influence and explained why the exhibition content was chosen.

The next speaker, Helen Hutchinson from Donald Insall Associates was well-placed to talk about the detail of the Mansion House, having previously prepared a conservation management plan for the building.

Within the context of the Georgian Mansion, its development and function and Georgian Doncaster and the key individuals in the creation of the Mansion House, Helen’s illustrated talk explored Paine’s original Palladian building, its influences, design and key features. She looked at the Regency alterations and extensions, through the Victorian period up to modern times.

Helen concluded her talk by considering the significance of the Mansion House today, including; James Paine’s legacy, the range and variety of English Classicism and the survival of a historic public building.

Our keynote speaker was John Goodall, architectural editor of Country Life magazine.

In his illustrated talk entitled ‘Country Life and the Georgian revival’, John considered the revival of interest in our Georgian heritage and of Country Life’s role within this movement.

He explained that Georgian neo-Classicism – as represented by the Mansion House – is perhaps the most widely admired historic architecture in Britain today. Yet the architecture of the 18th-century fell sharply from fashion in the mid 19th century and only became popularly appreciated again from the 1950s onwards.

Launch Speakers with the Mayor and Mayoress

l-r John Goodall, George Norton, Helen Hutchinson, Cllr David Nevett, Kathleen Nevett

James Paine Festival Launch 2017