The HoursRomantic Illustration Network

The Romantic Illustration Network (RIN) restores to view the importance of book illustration and visual  culture in the Romantic period, but also across the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries. RIN brings together scholars working on poetry, prose, the printed book, visual culture, and painting from roughly 1750 – 1850 to share research and to develop new models for understanding the relationship between word and image in the period, between large and small scale work, and between painting, print and illustration.

RIN will foreground artists who have been unduly ignored, and return attention to well-known artists in unfamiliar roles. We aim to recapture lost cultures of looking and of reading, restoring the link between word and image not only in book illustration but in the wider literary and visual culture.

Our original programme of events took as starting points in turn the artist, the author, the gallery and the economics of print. We have produce an edited collection of essays and begun to expand the network as the basis for a longer research project. We have launched new partnerships, including with House of Illustration and the University of the Third Age. We are in conversation Tate Britain concerning research that will enhance the Tate’s collection of literary prints and paintings.




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Blake Awakes: Reinvention, Revival and Rylands Collections

Blake Awakes: Reinvention, Revival and Rylands Collections, 1 May, 1-5pm

The Christie Room, The John Rylands Library, Manchester
This workshop will explore some of the ways in which the artistic vision of William Blake has been reimagined and reinvented in British art and culture, with a special focus on material held at the John Rylands Library.
Hosted by the John Rylands Research Institute, the event builds on previous Blake projects at the John Rylands Library, including the exhibition Burning Bright: William Blake and the Art and Craft of the Book, which explored Blake’s own work as a commercial engraver, and his legacy in the world of the book in the century after his death.
This workshop spotlights other themes relating to Blake and his legacy in material held at the John Rylands Library as part of continuing efforts to unlock Blakean materials in the collections. Topics include Blake himself as a re-inventor in his designs for Edward Young’s Night Thoughts (1795-97); reinventing Blake’s Songs in editions of the poems held in Rylands collections; and Blake and counter-culture, represented in modern literary archives held at the Library.
The event is free to attend, and open to all. Booking is essential as places are limited.
This event is funded by the John Rylands Research Institute.
1-1.15: Introduction (Christie Room)
1.15-2.15: 3 x 15 minute papers + discussion (Christie Room)
  • Lusia Calé (Birkbeck, University of London), ‘Disbound, Encircled, Unrolled: Physical and Metaphorical Materialities of the Book in Blake’s Night Thoughts’
  • Colin Trodd (University of Manchester), ‘Codifying Vision:James Smetham’s Monuments to William Blake’
  • Sarah Haggarty (University of Cambridge), ‘Blake’s namby-pamby? Responses in the Rylands Library to the childlikeness of Songs’
2.15-3.30: Collections Session (Bible Room) / Tea and Coffee Break (Christie Room)
The group will be split in half for refreshments and the collections session; the two groups will swap between the activities at 2.50. A virtual tour of William Blake’s Cottage and other materials will be available to view during the break.
3.30-4.45: 3 x 15 minute papers + discussion (Christie Room)
  • David Hopkins (University of Glasgow), ‘The Impact of Machines’: Blake, British Surrealism and the Machine’
  • Douglas Field (Blake & Counter-Culture), ‘Transatlantic Visions: William Blake, Allen Ginsberg and Michael Horovitz’
  • Jason Whittaker (University of Lincoln), ‘Here be Tygers: from composite art to sequential art’
4.45-5: Closing discussion (Christie Room)


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