Illustration Studies Seminar – 8 December

On Thursday, 8 December, Mary Shannon (Roehampton), Julia Thomas (Cardiff) and Luisa Calè (Birkbeck) will discuss their recent work on nineteenth-century illustration as part of the Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar series at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London.

Mary Shannon – ‘Illustration on London’s “Artists Street” 1800-1820’

Julia Thomas – ‘Reading Victorian illustration: word, image, digital’

Luisa Calè – ‘A Dream of Thiralatha: promiscuous book gatherings, and the wanderings of Blake’s separate plates’

The seminar begins at 17:30 and ends at 19:30, and will be held in Room G7, ground floor, Senate House. To book a (free) place, visit the IES website.

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19th-Century Women Writers on the Old Masters

Knowing ‘as much art as the cat’: 19th-Century Women Writers on the Old Masters

The Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies will host a major conference examining the role of English-speaking women as disseminators of knowledge about Old Master paintings and historic painting techniques during the Victorian era on Friday, 10 November at 10am in the Sainsbury Wing Lecture Theatre, National Gallery.

Aims and Scope:
John Ruskin infamously dismissed the art historian Anna Jameson as knowing ‘as much of art as the cat’. However, in recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in women like Jameson as influential interpreters of the visual arts and as writers of art history during the formative years of the discipline. This conference, which capitalises and expands upon this interest, will look afresh at the role of English-speaking women as disseminators of knowledge about Old Master paintings and historic painting techniques during the Victorian era.
While the National Gallery’s first Director, Charles Eastlake, and his male colleagues produced scholarly publications, including museum catalogues, aimed at professionals and connoisseurs, women in his circle and in the following generations typically had a wider reach. They could – and did – speak to specialists, but many chose to disseminate information in more creative and demotic ways. Mary Merrifield, for instance, wrote on historic painting techniques and also published articles about women’s fashion, in which she used the Old Masters as a sartorial guide, illustrating her points with pictures from the National Gallery’s collection.
Among the research questions the conference speakers will engage with are: What was the contribution of British women writers to the emerging discipline of art history, including canon formation, formal criticism and history of techniques and other genres such as exhibition guides and translations? Is there anything distinctive about women’s approach to these fields? A second set of issues we will address concerns women’s networks and relationships – between sexes, between generations, and with professional counterparts abroad  – as well as exploring women writers’ institutional affiliations. Finally, we hope to see new insights emerging at the conference about the reception of women writers’ published work in art history, not least in relation to its reach and audiences and its critical fortune.

London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar

The Autumn programme of the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar features two sessions of interest to scholars of illustration:

 

3rd November: Historical Fiction

Dr Brian H Murray (King’s College London) and Prof. Rosemary Mitchell (Leeds Trinity)

 

8th December: Nineteenth-Century Illustration

Prof. Julia Thomas (Cardiff) and Dr Mary Shannon (Roehampton)

 

Information, including details of how to book, are available on the Institute of English Studies website.

CfP: Blocks Plates Stones

BLOCKS PLATES STONES: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections
21 September 2017, Senate House, London (reception at British Academy)
Deadline: 30 June 2017, via bit.ly/BlocksPlatesStones-Submit
Details: bit.ly/BlocksPlatesStones
Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)

KEYNOTE ROUNDTABLE

Dr Richard S Field (Yale), Prof James Mosley (Institute of English Studies), Dr 
Ad Stijnman (Leiden), Prof Michael Twyman (Reading)

CFP
The material turn in fields that rely on historical printed matter has led to interest in how those texts and images were—and are—produced. Those objects, including cut woodblocks, etched and engraved metal plates, and lithographic stones, could be fundamental to research. Tens of thousands survive from the last 500 years, but the vast majority are inaccessible because they do not fit into the cataloguing structures and controlled vocabularies used by the libraries, archives and museums that hold them. Those that are accessible tend to be under-used, as few researchers are equipped to understand them or communicate about them across disciplinary boundaries. Even the most basic term is debated: in book research, a matrix is the mould for casting pieces of type; in art research, each resulting type is a matrix (and the sheets printed from them are the multiples). As new possibilities to catalogue and digitise these artefacts are revealing their research potential, it is essential to establish how they can best be made available and how they can be used in research.

This deeply interdisciplinary conference will survey the state of research into cut woodblocks, intaglio plates, lithographic stones, and other matrices/printing surfaces. It will bring together researchers, curators, librarians, printers, printmakers, cataloguers, conservators, digital humanities practitioners, and others who care for or seek to understand these objects. The discussion will encompass all media and techniques, from the fifteenth century through the present. Please submit abstracts for papers (20 minutes) and posters (A1 portrait/vertical) by 30 June 2017 at bit.ly/BlocksPlatesStones-Submit.

FUNDING BODY
This event is part of a 12-month British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, ‘The Matrix Reloaded: Establishing Cataloguing and Research Guidelines for Artefacts of Printing Images’, bit.ly/BARSEAMatrixReloaded. The discussions will support the creation of a research network to distil a single, interdisciplinary best practice from existing standards across disciplines and heritage collections and produce a program to train researchers to engage with matrices/printing surfaces.

CfP: Art of Power

A new, collaborative exhibition, ‘The Art of Power: Masterpieces from the Bute Collection’, will open on 31 March at two venues: Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute, and The Hunterian, Glasgow. The exhibition shows a number of masterpieces from the collecti

JohnStuartBute

John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute

on of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-92), and runs at both venues until 14 January 2018.

Paper proposals are invited for a three-day symposium inspired by themes explored in the exhibition. In addition to the interplay between art, politics and collecting, possible themes include (but are not limited to):

  • Aristocratic and royal collecting
  • Scottish Enlightenment and Scottish identity
  • Mid-eighteenth-century politics and political culture
  • Bute, satire and political prints

The symposium will be held 2-4 October 2017 at The Hunterian and Mount Stuart. Full details, including instructions for submitting proposals, are available here.

CfP: ‘The Unique Copy: Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture’

The Unique Copy:

Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture

Workshop (Herzog August Library, Wolfenbüttel, Germany; 24-25 May 2018)

 

Co-organisers: Dr Christina Ionescu and Dr Sandro Jung

 

Is extra-illustration an ornamental art or does it add layers of significance and nuance to the accompanying text? How does it shed light on authorship, the act of reading, book history, and print culture? How does text-image interaction manifest itself in the extra-illustrated book-object? Is extra-illustration the equivalent of grangerising or are there other means of materially expanding the text? Is it a creative act or a form of customised reproduction or reuse of print matter? Who are the artists, readers, collectors, publishers, and curators who are responsible for the creation of extra-illustrated objects?

In his study of the history, symptoms, and cure of a fatal disease caused by the unrestrained desire to possess printed works, Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1847) observes that “[a] passion for a book which has any peculiarity about it,” as a result of grangerising by means of collected prints, transcriptions, or various cutouts, “or which is remarkable for its size, beauty, and condition—is indicative of a rage for unique copies, and is unquestionably a strong prevailing symptom of the Bibliomania.” Extra-illustration as a practice did not emerge during bibliomaniac Dibdin’s birth century, which witnessed the publication of James Granger’s Biographical History of England (1769) and a widespread rage for unique copies of books, nor has it been extinguished in our digital era by modern technology. Whether it manifests materially as a published work that is supplemented verbally (with interleaved or pasted autograph letters, handwritten notes, or print matter either directly or tangentially linked to its content), or visually (with additional drawings, prints, maps, watercolours, photographs, or other forms of artwork that are similarly connected to a variable degree of closeness to the text), an extra-illustrated copy is important not only for its uniqueness as an original artefact and its commercial value as a desired commodity. As emblematic of an artistic, bibliographic, and cultural practice, it sheds light on its creator, the context of its production, and the reception of a text. As a form of personalised book design, it is moreover significant as a means of creative expression, an outlet of reader empowerment, and an archival repository of historical or cultural insight. Some of the popular targets of extra-illustration through time have been the Bible, biographies, historical treatises, topographical surveys, travel narratives, and popular plays.

A plethora of monographs and special journal issues dealing with book illustration from various theoretical and (inter)disciplinary perspectives have been published in recent years, but the subfield of extra-illustration remains largely unstudied. It is important to note, however, the contribution to the field by Luisa Calè, Lucy Peltz, and Stuart Sillars, who have proposed useful in-depth reflections on extra-illustration and grangerising as a practice. To address this gap in current scholarship, we invite papers that engage with extra-illustration through the conceptual lenses of book history, print and visual culture studies, and word and image theory. Contributions that focus on original artwork contained in extra-illustrated copies from the perspective of word and image studies are of particular interest to the co-editors, as are studies of extra-illustration as a link between text, book-object, and context, as approached through the prism of the book arts and reception theory. Other possibilities include contributions investigating extra-illustration diachronically or cross-culturally, and case studies dealing with a special copy, a collection of extra-illustrated books, or an individual collector, publisher, curator, or artist responsible for the creation of such unique artefacts.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • grangerising as a biblio-cultural practice
  • grangerising as a form of material repurposing in relation to print culture
  • grangerising as a fashionable and biblioclastic pastime
  • grangerising as an act of authorship
  • the Grangerite, bookscrapping, and collecting practices
  • illustrative responses to the text in the form of unique infra-textual images
  • marginal illustration and text-image interaction
  • extra-illustration as interactive and engaged reading
  • extra-illustration as emblematic of institutional/curatorial collecting practices
  • extra-illustration as personalised book design
  • extra-illustration as a window into history and intellectual thought
  • extra-illustration as a book customisation response to mass production
  • digital imports of extra-illustration as a means of expression

500-word abstracts, along with the author’s contact information and bio-bibliographical note, should be sent to the co-editors (cionescu@mta.ca / prof.s.jung@gmail.com) by 30 May 2017. A publication on the topic, either a journal issue or a collection of essays, is envisaged.

Gender and Image Workshop

The Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 will host its 2017 workshop on 6 May, on the theme ‘The Fruitful Body: Gender and Image’.

Attendees are welcome from any discipline and period covered by the group. Each attendee is asked to bring a 5-minute presentation on some topic exploring the workshop theme. Suggested topics include (but aren’t limited to): caricature, texts, novels, conduct manuals, medicine, philosophy, motherhood and women artists.

In addition to presentations and discussion, there will be a keynote address by Karen Hearn (UCL) on ‘Women, agency and fertility in early modern British portraits’.

Full details, including registration information, are available on the Women’s Studies Group website.