In Memoriam: Jahn Holljen Thon

RIN members familiar with Jahn Holljen Thon and his works will be saddened by the news of his passing. The following obituary was written by David Skilton.

Jahn Holljen Thon

We are sad to announce the recent death of Jahn Holljen Thon, who held a chair at Agder University in Kristiansand, Norway, and was Norway’s most innovative researcher in the field of illustrated literature. He was earlier the main cultural critic for left-wing newspaper, and it may be the fact that he did not fit neatly into the inherited academic disciplines that enabled him to pay attention to previously undervalued cultural phenomena such as Scandinavian verbal-visual works. He came to Illustration Studies via an interest in Norwegian works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and, like many of us, found that general pronouncements on how illustration functions were simply not adequate in relation to his challenging material. He made contact with the group at Cardiff University responsible for the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration, when it was running a series of workshops in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum under the title of LICAU, Literary Illustration: Conservation, Access, Use. He generously provided funding for the workshops to continue at Lampeter and Kristiansand for a few more years. Meanwhile he encouraged colleagues to research illustration in many fields, from Saami poetry from the far North of Norway, to verbal-visual poetry combining English and Scandinavian “text”. His weightiest contribution to Illustration Studies is a book entitled Talende Linje or “Speaking Lines”, in which he examines three early Norwegian printed books – early, that is, in terms of the development of Norwegian publishing – and he attempts to steer scholars towards what he elsewhere calls “a third way”, overriding modes of analysis which make the visual secondary to the verbal or vice versa. He also wrote persuasively on two of Norway’s greatest writers, Ludvig Holberg and Henrik Wergeland, and was for many years the prime mover in the Wergeland Society. His book Wergeland for Framtiden (“Wergeland for the Future”) was published in 2018. He delivered his last manuscript to his publisher only days before his death. We should remember him for his contribution in the previously neglected field of Norwegian Illustration Studies.

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RIN Members at Nineteenth Century Studies Seminar

Shannon. Fig. 3

RIN’s Mary Shannon will present her new work on 19th-century Newman Street in a special Nineteenth Century Studies Seminar on November 2nd.

In the early-nineteenth century and into the 1840s, London’s Newman Street (just off Oxford Street) was popularly known as ‘Artists’ Street’ because of its intense concentration of artistic residents. Many significant names of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century art world had addresses there: Thomas Stothard, Benjamin West, and James Heath, and other members and associate members of the Royal Academy. Alongside them were the homes and studios of less well-known artists who worked in many different media: sculptors, engravers, portrait painters and animal painters. Of the artists of Newman Street, a significant proportion worked on book illustration or literary subjects, or had close connections to famous nineteenth-century literary figures. They collaborated with, socialised with, and employed one another. They also dealt with other businesses on Newman Street, including the printers McQueen and Co., and the Hering family bookbinders. This talk will focus on the networks of ‘Artists’ Street’ and the surrounding parish of Marylebone, and use methodologies from cultural geography to show how interactions between art and literature played out on the ground in the print culture and visual culture of the early nineteenth-century.

Also presenting at the seminar are Professor Julia Thomas (Cardiff), Dr Luisa Calè (Birkbeck), and Dr Bethan Stevens (Sussex).

Attendance and booking are free at the Institute of English Studies website.

Call for Papers: ‘Who Shall Deliver Me?’ Christina Rossetti and the Illustrated Poetry Book

Organised between the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth–Century Studies and Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, this two-day symposium will include an opportunity to tour the exhibition ‘Christina Rosetti: Vision and Verse’ at Watts Gallery and a launch of the new digital edition of Goblin Market edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra and Anthony Harrison.

Keynote
Professor Lorraine Janzen Kooistra (Ryerson University) and Professor Antony H. Harrison (North Carolina State University): ‘Visualizing Christina Rossetti’s Poetry in Print, Pigment, and Pixel’

Christina Rossetti’s (1830-1894) poetry has inspired visual artists since it first began to be published in the 1840s. Artists who made designs to accompany her poetry in illustrated books include her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, Arthur Hughes, Laurence Housman and later Florence Harrison, Lucien Pissarro and Charles Ricketts. Those who engraved these designs include the prolific Dalziel Brothers firm and Joseph Swain.

This Autumn Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village will hold the exhibition ‘Christina Rossetti: Vision and Verse’, which is accompanied by a new publication Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art (edited by Dr Susan Owens and Dr Nicholas Tromans, Yale University Press). To coincide with the exhibition, this two-day symposium will bring together established and emerging scholars in the field to examine Rossetti’s work in the context of the mid-nineteenth-century illustrated poetry book. How did poets collaborate with publishers and artists in the production of illustrated poetry books? What role does ornament play in the formation of meaning? How did women poets work with illustrators and publishers?

We welcome proposals for papers and will be particularly interested in the following topics:
• The Pre-Raphaelite Illustrated Poetry Book
• The Illustrated Decadent Book
• The Illustrated Poetry Book in the Digital Age
• In the engravers’ workshop: The Dalziel Brothers and the Illustrated Poetry Book
• Ornament, Colour, and Lines: the Visual Culture of Poetry
• Poetry as Collaboration
• Women Poets and Women Illustrators
• Christina Rossetti as a visual artist
• Christina Rossetti and the Ut Pictura Poesis Tradition
• Christina Rossetti, Illustrated.

Abstracts of 350 words and biographies of no more than 100 words should be sent to Tessa Kilgarriff at assistantcurator@wattsgallery.org.uk by Monday 1 October 2018. Papers should be 20 minutes in length.

Postgraduate bursaries
Four postgraduate bursaries are available. Each bursary will cover registration for both days and up to £60 towards travel expenses. To apply for a bursary please send a two-page CV and a 300 word supporting statement in addition to your abstract and biography. In the 300 word statement, applicants should explain the reasons why they are seeking financial sponsorship and how attendance at Rossetti and the Illustrated Poetry Book conference will contribute to their research and professional development. All application materials should be sent to assistantcurator@wattsgallery.org.uk with ‘Rossetti bursary application’ under the subject line by Monday 1 October 2018. Any enquiries should be similarly addressed.

For more information, please click here.

Digital Resource: ‘Democratising Knowledge: Chambers’s Encyclopaedia’

(A guest announcement from RIN member Rose Roberto, MLIS.)

Many RIN members and 19th century scholars should find a new digital resource, Democratising Knowledge, to be both interesting and helpful. Produced by the National Museums Scotland in collaboration with the University of Reading’s Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, it not only has stunning images of 19th-century woodblocks, electrotypes and stereotypes, it also contains a wealth of illustrations from the 19th century. The resource provides visual information on the history of printing and publishing, showing that certain illustration subjects were frequently depicted in encyclopaedias during different decades. Furthermore, the resource also highlights the economics of the press and the ecosystem of publishing encouraged the growth and then decline of the wood engraving profession, and showcases the influence of photography in printed communication.

Access Democratising Knowledge at http://www.nms.ac.uk/chambers

Call for Contributions: “Printing Things: Blocks, Plates and Stones 1400-1900”

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Title: Printing Things: Blocks, Plates, and Stones 1400-1900


Editors: Giles Bergel (Oxford), Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)
Advisory board: Sven Dupré (Utrecht), Caroline Duroselle-Melish (Folger), Maria Goldoni (‘Xilografie modenesi’), Paul Nash (Printing Historical Society), Marco Mozzo (Polo museale della Toscana) 

Deadline: 15 October 2018 via https://goo.gl/forms/eHAzaQUFklyMOmYv2
Queries: Gemma Cornetti at printingcolourproject@gmail.com

In all fields based on historical printed material, research conventionally focuses on the text, images, and other information that was printed. The objects used to produce that information (including cut woodblocks, engraved metal plates, and cast metal sorts) have been neglected. Many hundreds of thousands of these historical printing surfaces survive today. The vast majority are inaccessible to researchers because they are uncatalogued and often considered ‘uncatalogue-able’. However, as individual objects and as an untapped category of cultural heritage, these artefacts of printing offer a great deal of information that the finished prints, books, fabrics, and other printed materials do not.

As relics of historical crafts and industry, these objects fall outside the modern disciplines. This edited volume will respond to the need for a multidisciplinary introduction to what image-based fields calls ‘print matrices’ and text-based fields call ‘printing surfaces’. Following from the conference Blocks Plates Stones (London, 2017), the first facilitated discussion of the use of such objects in research, Printing Things will represent the state of research in this new and developing field. It will bring together object-based research, collection-level surveys, historical printing practices, ethical considerations of their storage and use (or non-use) today, methods for multiplying the originals (eg dabs, stereos, electros), and methodological studies. By doing so, it will offer frameworks for describing, conserving, curating, presenting and understanding these objects using new and existing paradigms. It aims to facilitate their introduction into historical research across the disciplines.

Contributions are sought from art historians, book historians, cultural historians, musicologists, science and medicine historians, typographers, and researchers in other fields based on historical printed material; material scientists and conservators; historically informed printers and printmakers; curators, cataloguers, librarians, and printing museum managers who care for these objects; and digital humanities specialists who are creating a new generation of tools for culling information from these objects. The book will focus on handpress work.


In addition to object- and collection-based case studies, theoretical perspectives might include: 

– What can print matrices/printing surfaces teach us that printed materials cannot, and vice versa?
– How should they be regarded: as artists’ tools; intermediary states of works of art; or works of art in themselves?
– Is there a value in considering woodblocks, metal plates, and litho stones together as a single category?
– What lies behind the sudden and recent increase in interest in these objects, and how can these objects inform those emerging research trends?
– How are they to be conserved, curated, presented and understood?
– Does the recent turn to object-centered cultural criticism (‘thing theory’) provide useful paradigms for their study?
– What are the ethical and critical issues around bringing them back into use as printing surfaces?
– What is their place within the systems of digital remediation and knowledge within which art and book history is increasingly practiced?

Book and Illustration at the Turn of the Century in Britain + America

BOOKS AND ILLUSTRATION AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY IN BRITAIN AND AMERICA
A public symposium presented by the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies

Saturday, May 19, 2018 · 1:30 pm
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE
 
Free for Museum Members or with Museum admission

In conjunction with the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies’ (FABS) Tour of Delaware and the Delaware Bibliophiles, the Delaware Art Museum will hold “Books and Illustration at the Turn of the Century in Britain and America,” a symposium with three speakers. These talks will focus on illustration and book design—a strength of the collections of the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware Library. A tea reception will follow.

Please visit www.delart.org/event/books-and-illustration/ for details and registration.

Speakers:

–         “Ouida Illustrated: Commerce, Politics, and Representation in the Illustrated
Editions of Ouida’s Works”
Jesse R. Erickson, Postdoctoral Researcher in Special Collections and Digital
Humanities, University of Delaware

–        “Rediscovering an American Woman Illustrator, Alice Barber Stephens”
Martha H. Kennedy, Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art, Library of Congress

–        “Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market: 150 Years of Art & Illustration”
Casey Smith, Visiting Professor of English, West Chester University

This event is sponsored by the Delaware Art Museum’s Friends of the Helen Farr Sloan Library and by the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delware Library.

 

APS Collaboration Grant Application Extension

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The deadline to apply for an Association of Print Scholars Collaboration Grant has been extended to April 15, 2018.

The APS Collaboration Grant funds public programs and projects that foster collaboration between members of the print community and/or encourage dialogue between the print community and the general public. The grant carries a maximum award of $1,000. More information can be found on their website.