Trinity Tomes 12 - Follies: An Architectural Journey

Old Member
29 November 2021 17:30-18:30

Join us to hear from Rory Fraser (2015) about his recently published book Follies: An Architectural History 

Follies: An Architectural Journey is an illustrated travel account of Rory Fraser's journey painting England's follies the summer after leaving university.

From towering monastic ruins to the modern 'man cave', Fraser introduces us to an architectural cabinet of curios including treasonous renaissance symbols, lavish banqueting houses, temples to lost loves, Chinese pagodas, nuclear bunkers and the 'Taj Mahal of Gloucestershire'. The characters behind these buildings jostle across the pages: medieval visionaries, gunpowder plotters, The Rolling Stones and The Hellfire Club, as well as designers Wren, Vanbrugh, Kent, 'Capability' Brown and Repton - and their often zany patrons.

Fraser's philosophy is that follies, though often marginalised, serve as focal points for architecture, landscape and literature. As such, they create a series of portals through which to understand the periods in which they were built, providing an alternative lens through which to track and celebrate the English character, culture and love of individualism.

Fraser's exquisite sketches, both visual and verbal, seek not only to record these hidden wonders, but treasure them, bringing them to life

Follies has been described as a ‘compendium of joy’ by The Times, ‘blithely enjoyable’ with ‘charm, amusement and light touch erudition’ by The Spectator, and compared to Evelyn Waugh's travel writing by the Wall Street Journal. It was also the LRB’s book of the week, featured on BBC Radio London, and has been adapted into a forthcoming documentary.

It is no longer possible to book online but if you would like to attend please email Sarah Jenkinson for the details. 


Rory Fraser

Rory Fraser was brought up between Rutland and Inverness. He worked for English Heritage and learnt Art History in Venice and Florence, before studying English at Oxford University where he specialised in landscape poetry and architecture and wrote comedy for the Oxford Review. Rory has just completed an MPhil in Architectural History at Cambridge University on the confluences between the work of John Vanbrugh and design in Mughal India. He lives in London where he divides his time between writing, lecturing and painting commissions.