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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.

We are collaborating with Tate Britain to enhance the Tate’s collection of literary prints and paintings. 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 programme of events will take as starting point in turn the artist, the author, the gallery and the economics of print. We will produce an edited collection of essays and it is hoped that this network will form the basis for a longer research project.

 

 

Recent Posts

Musings on the Romantic Illustration Network: The Story So Far

This year, facilitating the Romantic Illustration Network has taught me three things: be ready shift furniture and sweep floors at 9am in your best conference jacket; never underestimate the importance of the well-timed tea break; and the most important work is often done in the pub after the symposium, so always choose a good watering-hole and book a large table.

It’s been a great pleasure developing the Network and getting to know the regulars and the new faces who attend each event. I’ve become familiar with the inside workings of the British Academy, the Tate, and the House of Illustration, and I now have a really good sense of the goals and constraints of what are often loosely termed ‘heritage organisations’. It’s exciting to see, particularly after our recent event on Saturday June 6th, how our convivial gatherings, individual research papers, and gallery tours are actually building towards an understanding of shared interests and emerging research questions. Intellectually the awareness of a shared agenda and new theoretical approaches is growing, and alongside this, there is now a real sense of the Network as a collaborative international team of scholars. I hope we can continue to build on this.

The great strength of the network is, I think, that relationships have been built both in person and virtually. The website and blog goes from strength to strength, with more than 6700 views in over 25 countries. We are currently developing a digitised gallery of 18th century prints of scenes from Shakespeare, courtesy of a generous donation from Frederick Burwick at UCLA. These beautiful high-definition images will be ready for the Shakespeare 2016 commemorations. I’ve enjoyed keeping in touch with network members via the blog: I post news of CFPs and events, but also useful resources and members’ research: ‘Image of the Month’ is a popular series of posts. RIN members are a collegiate bunch.

The Network events have shaped my own research in unexpected ways: I never imagined I’d write a scholarly article about Dickens and Byron’s chair, for example. Most importantly, they have been great fun: as someone said to me at the recent symposium, ‘Why don’t we do this every week?’. Why don’t we, indeed.

  1. REGISTRATION OPEN: The Arts And Feeling in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Birkbeck, University of London, 16-18 July 2015 1 Reply
  2. Event Report: ‘The Art of Quotation and the Miniaturised Gallery’, RIN 4, Saturday 6 June 2015 1 Reply
  3. REMINDER: RIN 4: The Art of Quotation and the Miniaturized Gallery. Saturday 6 June 2015, 10 – 5pm, The House of Illustration, London 1 Reply
  4. REMINDER: RIN 4 Bibliographical Society Studentships, for symposium Sat 6th June, House of Illustration 1 Reply
  5. Birkbeck Arts Week Starts: Monday, 18 May 1 Reply
  6. CFP: ‘The Arts and Feeling in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture’, Birkbeck College, University of London, 16-18 July 2015 1 Reply
  7. CFP: ‘Illustrating History / Illustrer l’histoire’, Université de Valenciennes, 4 Dec. 2015 1 Reply
  8. REGISTRATION OPEN: RIN 4: The Art of Quotation and the Miniaturized Gallery. Saturday 6 June 2015, 10 – 5pm, The House of Illustration, London 1 Reply
  9. New RIN member publication: Sandro Jung, ‘James Thomson’s The Seasons, Print Culture, and Visual Interpretation, 1730-1842′ 1 Reply