Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship, 2017–2020

Posted in fellowships by Editor on May 27, 2017

From the National Gallery of Art in Washington:

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2017–2020

Applications due by 30 June 2017

The National Gallery of Art is pleased to announce a postdoctoral curatorial fellowship for 2017–2020 funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This is a two-year fellowship with the possibility of renewal for a third year. The fellowship provides curatorial training and supports scholarly research related to the collection of the National Gallery of Art. The fellow is fully integrated into a specific curatorial department with duties, privileges, and status equivalent to those of an assistant curator. Time is divided between specific projects and general curatorial work within the department, including research on the collection and new acquisitions, work on the presentation of the collection, participation in aspects of special exhibition projects, and opportunities to give public lectures. The fellow will plan and complete a project in consultation with the supervising curator.

Consideration is given to candidates working in fields represented by the Gallery’s permanent collection of European and American art. Placements are available in the departments of old master prints, sculpture and decorative arts, American paintings, modern and contemporary art, and photographs. The doctoral degree in art history (or the equivalent in countries outside the United States) must be or have been officially conferred within five years (preferably three years) of the start date of the fellowship. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. This is an international program.

More information is available here»

Call for Papers | Natures and Spaces of Enlightenment

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 26, 2017

Johan Zoffany, Colonel Blair with His Family and an Indian Ayah, 1786
(London: Tate)

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Natures and Spaces of Enlightenment
Griffith University and the University of Queensland, Brisbane, 13–15 December 2017

Proposals due by 1 August 2017

The Australian and New Zealand Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ANZSECS) is pleased to announce that the sixteenth David Nichol Smith Seminar, Natures and Spaces of Enlightenment, will be held in Brisbane, Australia, at Griffith University and the University of Queensland on the 13th to 15th December 2017. We welcome proposals for papers or panels on the theme ‘Natures and Spaces of Enlightenment’, broadly conceived as referring to the plurality of Enlightenments as well as the ideas and uses of nature which they endorsed, and the spaces in which they developed.

In the inclusive spirit of the David Nichol Smith Seminar, proposals may address any aspect of the long eighteenth century. Especially relevant topics include
• Enlightenment and religion, science, empire, or gender
• Popular, moderate, and radical enlightenments
• Regional, national, and global enlightenments
• Climate, the environment, and the Anthropocene
• Emotion, sentimentalism, and the language of feeling
• Theories of human nature and civil society
• Improvement and social utility
• Travel, exploration, and discovery
• Trade and commerce
• Philanthropy and the culture of moral/social reform
• Spaces of sociability such as clubs, salons, coffeehouses, and taverns
• Urban and rural spaces
• Ideas of landscape and forms of land use
• Nature in art, literature, and music
• Natural history, natural philosophy, natural law, and natural theology
• Nature in economic and political writing
• Nature, medicine, sexuality, and the body
• Botany, geology, and geography
• Representations and uses of animals
• Work, leisure, technology, and industrialisation

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers and panels comprising 3 x papers. Please submit an abstract of 250 words (maximum) and a 2-page CV, as PDF documents, to the following email address by 1 August  2017: dnsconferenceqld@gmail.com. Participants must be current members of ANZSECS. If you have any questions about the conference, please contact one of the organisers: Peter Denney (p.denney@griffith.edu.au) or Lisa O’Connell (l.oconnell@uq.edu.au).

Keynote Speakers
• Deidre Lynch (Harvard University)
• Jan Golinski (University of New Hampshire)
• Georgia Cowart (Case Western Reserve University)
• Sujit Sivasundaram (University of Cambridge)


Call for Papers | European Lacquer in Context

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 24, 2017

From H-ArtHist:

European Lacquer in Context
Jubelpark, Brussels, 18–19 January 2018

Proposals due by 4 June 2017

The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, Brussels, Belgium), the University of Antwerp (UA, Antwerp, Belgium) and the Royal Museums of Art and History (KMKG-MRAH, Brussels, Belgium) invite you to participate in our two-day conference European Lacquer in Context. The theme of this conference is European lacquers in a broad sense: theoretical and practical work concerning conservation and restoration, art historical, technological and chemical research will be highlighted.

We encourage students, young and established professionals to submit an abstract for either a poster or a paper presentation. Both theory and practice-oriented contributions from professionals working with European lacquers are considered (among others curators, conservators, restorers, art historians, analytical scientists and anyone with an interest in European lacquers). Presentations of collaboration projects between different professions are strongly encouraged.

For more information about the conference, please visit the ELinC-conference website. Please submit the abstract before 4 June 2017 through the conference online abstract form.

Symposium | Beautiful Sciences: Collecting under Joseph II

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 23, 2017

From H-ArtHist with additional information available from ÖAW and the programme:

Schöne Wissenschaften: Sammeln, Ordnen und Präsentieren unter Kaiser Joseph II
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW), Vienna, 19–20 June 2017

Registration due by 14 June 2017

Anatomical wax models, Josephinum, Vienna (Photo: Michael Nagl).

Beautiful Sciences focuses on the collections under Emperor Joseph II (1741–1790) and makes them the entry point to a far-reaching analysis of their history and of how they were understood scientifically and by the public in late eighteenth-century Vienna. Historical art and scientific collections will be discussed, as well as their interconnected systems of systematization and organization. This interdisciplinary conference will explore how these various disciplines approach parallel contents, times, and places through their different methodical approaches and in their respective fields. From the perspective of collecting, organizing, and presenting, we will examine the extent to which the Josephine collections concentrate the ideas of the Enlightenment and translate them into practice, spread and popularise them, and thus turn them into places of knowledge and learning. Such a process was exemplary for the paradigm change emerging at that time, one that is still active today.

Konzept und Organisation: Nora Fischer und Anna Mader-Kratky
Anmeldung bis 14. Juni 2017 unter: kunstgeschichte@oeaw.ac.at
Kontakt: anna.mader@oeaw.ac.at, nora.fischer@oeaw.ac.at

M O N T A G ,  1 9  J U N I  2 0 1 7

13.30  Werner Telesko (Direktor des Instituts für kunst- und musikhistorische Forschungen der ÖAW), Begrüßung
Nora Fischer (Wien), Einführung

14.00  Die Sammlungen: Konstitutionen von Wirklichkeiten und Wissensformen
Moderation: Gudrun Swoboda (Wien)
• Christa Riedl-Dorn (Wien), „Ordnung muss sein“ – Von der Naturaliensammlung zu den „Vereinigten k.k. Naturalien-Cabineten“
• Anna Maerker (London), „Spielwerk für Kinder“? Die Wachsmodellsammlung des Josephinums im Spiegel der Öffentlichkeit
• Bernhard Woytek (Wien), Systematische Numismatik. Wien und die Ordnung antiker Münzen im 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhundert
• Nora Fischer (Wien), Zwischen „Augenbelustigung“ und einer „dem Auge sichtbaren Geschichte der Kunst“. Zur Ordnung der kaiserlichen Galerie von 1781

18.00  Abendvortrag
Emma Spary (Cambridge), Placing Objects between Art and Nature in the Late Eighteenth-Century French Collection

D I E N S T A G ,  2 0  J U N I  2 0 1 7

9:00  Betrachtungsweisen und Denksysteme
Moderation: Anna Mader-Kratky (Wien)
• Hans Christian Hönes (London), Winckelmann im Sammlungsraum. Armut macht Geschichte
• Kristine Patz (Berlin), Unter verkehrten Vorzeichen: Zur Musealisierung kunst- und naturwissenschaftlicher Sammlungen im Wechselspiel von ästhetischer Inszenierung und Wissenschaftlichkeit
• Christian Benedik (Wien), Das Primat der Wirtschaftlichkeit: Die Etablierung länderübergreifender Baunormen im staatlichen Bauwesen in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts
• Markus Krajewski (Basel), Wie ordnet sich Habsburg?

12.30  Mittagspause

14.00  Methoden und Konzepte der Präsentation und Publizität
Moderation: Werner Telesko (Wien)
• Andrea Seidler (Wien), Verwaltetes Wissen: Zum gelehrten Journalismus im Josephinischen Wien
• Thomas Wallnig (Wien), Wissen in Wien um 1780: Kontexte, Netzwerke, Institutionen
• Eva Kernbauer (Wien), Kunst als Wissensform? Martin Ferdinand Quadals Darstellung des Aktsaals der Wiener Akademie









Art History, June 2017

Posted in journal articles, reviews by Editor on May 23, 2017

The eighteenth century in the current issue of Art History:

Art History 40.3 (June 2017)


Louis-Michel Van Loo, Carle Van Loo and His Family, 1757; oil on canvas, 200 × 156 cm (Musée National du Château de Versailles).

• Emma Barker, ” ‘No Picture More Charming’: The Family Portrait in Eighteenth-Century France,” pp. 526–53.

During the eighteenth century, so it is conventionally argued, the family portrait underwent a decisive transformation. Hitherto stiff and formal, such pictures took on a new informality and intimacy in response to the rise of a new set of domestic ideals. In the case of French family portraiture, this narrative has continued to be rehearsed in a largely uncritical way. What has not been adequately grasped to date is the way that such pictures functioned to legitimate the sitters and, more particularly, the male head of the family in the eyes of an external beholder. Although sometimes commissioned by a royal or noble family in response to a dynastic crisis, they most often functioned to consolidate the social ascent of wealthy commoners. The changes that the family portrait underwent during this period are bound up with the shift of political authority away from the absolute monarch towards the public sphere.


• Michael Schreffler, Review of Ananda Cohen Suarez, Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between: Murals of the Colonial Andes (University of Texas Press, 2016), pp. 672–74.

• T. A. Heslop, Review of Christy Anderson, Anne Dunlop, and Pamela H. Smith, eds., The Matter of Art: Materials, Practices, Cultural Logics, c. 1250–1750 (Manchester University Press, 2014), pp. 681–82.






New Book | Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between

Posted in books by Editor on May 23, 2017

From University of Texas Press:

Ananda Cohen Suarez, Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between: Murals of the Colonial Andes (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016), 304 pages, ISBN: 978  14773  09544 (hardcover), $90 / ISBN: 978  14773  09551 (softcover), $30.

This first comprehensive English-language study of the church-wall paintings created in Peru’s Cuzco region from the sixteenth through the early nineteenth centuries unveils the complex intersections of religious artists, indigenous congregants, and colonizers.

Examining the vivid, often apocalyptic church murals of Peru from the early colonial period through the nineteenth century, Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between explores the sociopolitical situation represented by the artists who generated these murals for rural parishes. Arguing that the murals were embedded in complex networks of trade, commerce, and the exchange of ideas between the Andes and Europe, Ananda Cohen Suarez also considers the ways in which artists and viewers worked through difficult questions of envisioning sacredness.

This study brings to light the fact that, unlike the murals of New Spain, the murals of the Andes possess few direct visual connections to a pre-Columbian painting tradition; the Incas’ preference for abstracted motifs created a problem for visually translating Catholic doctrine to indigenous congregations, as the Spaniards were unable to read Inca visual culture. Nevertheless, as Cohen Suarez demonstrates, colonial murals of the Andes can be seen as a reformulation of a long-standing artistic practice of adorning architectural spaces with images that command power and contemplation. Drawing on extensive secondary and archival sources, including account books from the churches, as well as on colonial Spanish texts, Cohen Suarez urges us to see the murals not merely as decoration or as tools of missionaries but as visual archives of the complex negotiations among empire, communities, and individuals.



1  The Painted Walls of the Andes: Chronology, Techniques, and Meanings
2  The Road to Hell is Paved with Flowers: Journeys to the Afterlife at the Church of Andahuaylillas
3  Clothing the Architectonic Body: Textile Murals of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
4  Turning the Jordan River into a Pacarina: Murals of the Baptism of Christ at the Churches of Urcos and Pitumarca
5  Earthly Violence/Divine Justice: Tadeo Escalante’s Murals at the Church of Huaro


Call for Papers | Moral Cultures

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 20, 2017

From H-ArtHist:

Moral Cultures / Kulturen der Moral
Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Erforschung des 18. Jahrhunderts Annual Conference
Paderborn, 19–22 September 2018

Proposals due by 30 June 2017

Hardly any term is as ubiquitous during the 18th century as the term ‘morale’. For Niklas Luhmann the “universalization of moral demands” is a pivotal trigger in the ongoing transformation of society from stratified to functional differentiation: It forces back religion’s dominance, gives way to those new pedagogical (e. g. Pestalozzi, Weiße), psychological (Erfahrungseelenkunde), and political or juridical concepts (democracy, theories of penalty) that modern societies are based on. Furthermore, the omnipresence of morale is intertwined with the way an aspiring bourgeoisie defines itself and its educational values in opposition to nobility (see Carl Friedrich Bahrdts Handbuch der Moral für den Bürgerstand, 1790).

In addition to these social developments, morale is also the key element of the 18th-century aesthetic discussion since arts and literature aim at transforming uneducated masses into responsible and mature citizens who are able to tell right from wrong, and therefore make useful members of society. This is even true of concepts like that of Autonomieästhetik around 1800. Schiller’s classical approach still sees theatre as an institution of morale (moralische Anstalt), although the aesthetic ideals of both Weimarer Klassik and Romanticism have often been set apart from those of the Enlightenment.

Morale’s domination of both academic discourse and everyday life during the 18th century, its forms, and consequences need to be studied thoroughly in order to truly understand the culture of the time. In fact, contemporary debates show that there is no simple answer to the question of morale in the 18th century itself. On the contrary, the need to include morale into every aspect of life causes a number of problems. For example, it remains unclear what specific measures are to be taken in order to facilitate the moral education of the people. In the early 18th century, most scholars choose a rational approach. Such an approach leads to the ascent of literary genres that offer an explicit lesson or advice to the reader, just like the ‘morale’ of the fable, one of the most popular genres at the time. During the 18th century this rational approach draws more and more criticism. The philosophy of moral sense, as an alternative, establishes the ideal of an integral education that enables individuals to judge for themselves, not having to rely on a set of ‘lessons’ they were given by an academic elite. Now, having an explicit morale at the end of a literary text is even considered hurtful to the goal of making the reader a better person—not only because reality is too complex to capture everything a person has to know in a single sentence, but also because a mature audience, the one the Enlightenment wants to create, will not appreciate being spoken to as children who know nothing of the world. Once the discussion reaches this point, of course, even more attempts are made to solve the conflict. As long as giving up the goal of moral education altogether is not an option, which it finally will be around 1800, the ‘problem of morale’ remains central giving way to what can be called the different ‘moral cultures’ the conference would like to explore.

The term ‘moral culture’ refers, on the one hand, to the fact that the question of morale in the 18th century is not just an academic or aesthetic problem, but defines large parts of everyday life. People read moral weeklies and find joy in extending and constantly questioning their faculties of judgment. Behaving morally is a requirement for anyone who wants to be part of society; critique becomes a matter of public interest. Bon ton requires a certain amount of display of one’s morality, which is truly to be lived through joined enjoyment and critical assessment of art—whether in the direct personal contact of family life or reading societies or, at more distance, in writing (letters, public journals etc.). Using the term ‘culture’ also implies that morale is an essential requirement for cultivated existence and the progress of civilization—a crucial general idea of the Enlightenment’s worldview. For this reason moral judgment is seen to be a predicament of critical judgment as such, so aesthetic education becomes a relevant basis of moral schooling. Of course, there is the opposite point of view we can see in story of Inkle and Yariko about the ‘barbarian’ who has higher moral standards than the civilized European. This story illustrates that morality is something one is born with and faces the danger of being lost in the course of civilization. These opposite views both show how western societies use morale to define themselves in contrast to ‘naïve’ cultures that either existed in the past or that are found in other regions of the earth in the course of the discovery and the conquest of new continents.

On the other hand, we emphasize the plural of ‘morale cultures’ to accentuate that the central function of morale not only comes along with many different shapes on the numerous levels of social and aesthetic discourse but furthermore develops a plurality of distinct moral cultures. The reason for this is primarily that the 18th century aims to make access to moral discussion available for a great amount of people. Not only scholars get to voice their thoughts in moral weeklies but also ‘common’ folks and especially women, represented in dialogues and letters by authentic or fictional authors.

The 2018 Annual Conference of the German Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (DGEJ) wants to provide scholars in relevant fields with the opportunity to take the importance of morale during the 18th century seriously, and initiate an intense ongoing discussion about the complexity of the phenomena which we believe will prove to be extremely fruitful for future studies. The following eight sections offer suggestions and potential research questions to inspire proposals for the conference.


1  Moral Cultures in the 18th Century
This section gives room for major theoretical reflection on morale, both on the term and its specific role in the 18th century. Papers can address the particular historical background which leads to the ascent of morale as a crucial concept of discourse or raise the question when, how and why this phase comes to an end. What other macro-level theoretical concepts are useful to describe or elaborate the individual potential outcomes of the other section (e. g. Luhmann’s differentiation of society, beginning of modernism, Sattelzeit). What does it mean to use the term ‘moral cultures’? Which distinct cultures of morale can be found? Which are the underlying similarities that suggest the existence of only one moral culture or a superstructure that brings the different versions of morale cultures together?

2  Morale, Ethics, and Religion
This section gives room to discuss works of philosophy and theology on morale from the 18th century and to highlight interdependences between moral philosophy, ethics and religion. Since the topic is vivid there are numerous reflections on the concept of morale and its role in society. While rationalistic approaches tend to claim that moral judgment can be taught and learned, the theories of moral sense see morale as something every individual has a natural understanding of which can only be cultivated or protected from disfiguration. The importance of religion is now based on its moral achievements (as in Lessings Nathan der Weise). An intimate practice of religion outside the church comes into practice (Pietism) in close relation to questions of morale. Both of these developments help overcome simplified theories of secularization during the Enlightenment.

3  Morale in Politics and Law
The leading function of morale results in a different relationship between individual and government, reflected in new political and juridical concepts. In opposition to absolutism, the most important form of government in the 17th century, the ruler now has to meet certain moral standards to be seen as a ‘good’ head of state. In other countries, the concept of monarchy is eliminated altogether—sometimes successfully like in the foundation of the United States, sometimes only temporarily like in France. The moment former subjects are considered humans, more humanitarian forms of punishment are discussed (the best-known example is, of course, the guillotine). We invite scholars to discuss the various aspects of morale and public welfare in all fields of political or legal reforms as well as constitutional aspects.

4  Moral Culture: Time and Place
This section wants to explore the nature of a western moral culture in comparison and in opposition to other moral cultures that can be situated in the past (Ancient Greek, Middle Ages) or on different continents the civilized world gets to read about in the accounts by travelers that flood the book market. Attention should be paid to how the ‘barbarian’ or ancient cultures are described in terms of morale: Are they immoral people or just the opposite representing an unadulterated way of living that is always superior to more progressive societies? What concepts lie in-between? In addition, we have to ask whether there really are uniform western moral cultures or if the same procedures of delineation can be found inside the western world, e. g. between different European countries or between Europe and the western societies on the American continent. On the one hand, Paul Hazard observes the emerge of a mutual European thinking around 1700 when the never-ending process of critical thinking, which is so crucial to questions of morality, comes put into motion. On the other hand, the philosophical discussions of morale during the 18th century alone each have a different focus that has to be taken into consideration. An important frontier of mentality (and there are certainly others that are less talked about) surely runs between the north and the south of Europe. There is, for instance, the specific aura of Italy where many artists go to get in touch with the Ancient World or the Renaissance.

5  Morality in Everyday Life
On the one hand, this section explores the establishment of strategies to secure moral’s place in everyone’s life and promote moral behavior on a daily basis, such as joined reading of moral weeklies and other publications of the sort but also common practices like living pictures or social gatherings in general. On the other hand, a growing individualization and internalization of morale takes place, e. g. in the sense that a virgin’s purity now includes her soul. Friendships between the sexes are made possible by the faith in every human’s natural moral sense; other research areas include the relation between morale and love, marriage and family. They have to be considered in the light of the various social classes for it is the bourgeoisie which plays an important part in initiating these altered concepts of family and friendship.

6  Immorality
As morale becomes an omnipresent and, seemingly, omnipotent factor, alternatives to this dominance gain importance. They are in part created in direct opposition to the discourse of morale but also intertwined with it. There is, for example, the culture of libertinage and gallantry, which has been heavily criticized from the bourgeois standpoint, or the erotically teasing artworks of Rococo (see the paintings by Fragonard and Baudouin) and Anacreontic that are no less stigmatized as immoral although their defenders, like Christoph Martin Wieland, deliberately see them as way of a more effective moral education that does not only build on denial and sanctions. Even pornography begins to bloom with the expansion of the book market and the loss of female virtues becomes a popular literary motif (Richardson, Choderlos de Laclos). Furthermore, there is the moral bandit as another example of how morale and immorality are brought together.

7  Communication and Morale
In the 18th century the rise of new media also established a new, more intimate, language to communicate in, which plays its own part in making morale a central discourse of the time. This section focuses on strategies of communication through the eyes of linguistics, cultural or media studies. How do people communicate about morale? Where and in what way does this communication take place? What is ‘moral communication’? Papers can also relate these concepts to questions of common sense, rationality, sentimentalism, honesty, thoroughness or decency, ask to what degree they aimed at specific groups (educated/non-educated, adults/children, men/women etc.) or highlight their role in public critique and (scholarly) polemics.

8  Moral Aesthetics
Art in the 18th century is often defended by the argument that it has a moral value, so one of the key goals of the Enlightenment is to make it available for a large number of people. But what exactly are the strategies artists, writers and thinkers come up with to ensure moral education by means of art really does succeed? Is a literary text supposed to make its goal visible or must it be hidden in order to reach reluctant readers? How does moral education work in the visual arts and in music? In addition to these general questions papers can also address genres or topics that become popular because of their acclaimed moral value.

Prof. Dr. Lothar van Laak, Dr. Kristin Eichhorn
Neuere deutsche Literatur und Allgemeine Literaturwissenschaft
Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
Universität Paderborn
Warburger Str. 100
D-33098 Paderborn

Please send your abstract (about 300 words) for a 20-minute paper, along with a short CV (1 page), until 30 June 2017 to: Lothar.van.Laak@uni-paderborn.de and keich@mail.uni-paderborn.de.

New Book | Magical Manuscripts in Early Modern Europe

Posted in books by Editor on May 20, 2017

From Palgrave Macmillan:

Daniel Bellingradt and Bernd-Christian Otto, Magical Manuscripts in Early Modern Europe: The Clandestine Trade In Illegal Book Collections (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), ISBN 978  3319  595245, $60.

This book presents the story of a unique collection of 140 manuscripts of ‘learned magic’ that was sold for a fantastic sum within the clandestine channels of the German book trade in the early eighteenth century. The book will interpret this collection from two angles—as an artefact of the early modern book market as well as the longue-durée tradition of Western learned magic—thus taking a new stance towards scribal texts that are often regarded as eccentric, peripheral, or marginal. The study is structured by the apparent exceptionality, scarcity, and illegality of the collection and provides chapters on clandestine activities in European book markets, questions of censorship regimes and efficiency, the use of manuscripts in an age of print, and the history of learned magic in early modern Europe. As the collection has survived till this day in Leipzig University Library, the book provides a critical edition of the 1710 selling catalogue, which includes a brief content analysis of all extant manuscripts. The study will be of interest to scholars and students from a variety of fields, such as early modern book history, the history of magic, cultural history, the sociology of religion, or the study of Western esotericism.

Daniel Bellingradt is Professor of Book Studies at Erlangen-Nuremberg University, Germany, co-editor of the German Yearbook for the History of Communications and co-editor of Books in Motion in Early Modern Europe: Beyond Production, Circulation, and Consumption (2017).
Bernd-Christian Otto is postdoctoral researcher at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Germany. His book publications include Magie: Rezeptions- und diskursgeschichtliche Analysen von der Antike bis zur Neuzeit (2011) and, as co-editor, Defining Magic: A Reader (2013) and History and Religion: Narrating a Religious Past (2015).

Exhibition | Lives Bound Together: Slavery at Mount Vernon

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 19, 2017

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Now on view at Mount Vernon:

Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
The Donald W. Reynolds Museum, Mount Vernon, 1 October 2016 –30 September 2017

Mount Vernon was George Washington’s home. It was also home to hundreds of enslaved people who lived and worked under Washington’s control: in 1799, there were 317 men, women, and children enslaved at Mount Vernon’s five farms, which covered 8,000 acres. They made up more than 90% of the population of the estate.

House Bell, ca. 1784–88; Copper alloy, iron (Mount Vernon).

Through household furnishings, art works, archaeological discoveries, documents, and interactive displays, the exhibition, which spans 4,400 square feet throughout all seven galleries of the Donald W. Reynolds Museum, demonstrates how closely intertwined the lives of the Washingtons were with those of the enslaved. Nineteen enslaved individuals are featured throughout the exhibit, represented with life-size silhouettes and interactive touchscreens providing biographical details.

More than 350 items are on view—seeds and animal bones, ceramic fragments, and metal buttons unearthed from archaeological excavations around the estate, as well as fine tablewares and furniture from the Washington household, providing insights into the enslaved community’s daily lives and work. Guests gain a better understanding of Washington’s changing views towards slavery, culminating in his landmark decision to include in his will a provision freeing the slaves that he owned. Visitors will have an opportunity to view original manuscript pages from George Washington’s will, written in July 1799, showing his decision to free the slaves he owned. The exhibition profiles 19 individuals enslaved at Mount Vernon, using George Washington’s extensive records to piece together what is known of their lives in interactive displays.

Susan P. Schoelwer, ed., with an introduction by Annette Gordon-Reed, Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon (2016), 172 pages, ISBN: 978  970931  9170, $20.

Lives Bound Together provides fresh research on this important topic, with brief biographies of 19 enslaved individuals, 10 essays, and 130 illustrations, including paintings, prints, and household furnishings from the Mansion, artifacts excavated by archaeologists from the slave quarters, documents, maps, and conjectural silhouettes that suggest the presence of the enslaved.


2017 Mount Vernon Symposium

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 19, 2017

Next month at Mount Vernon:

Under My Vine & Fig Tree: Gardening, Landscape, and Design in the Age of Washington
Mount Vernon, 2–4 June 2017

Morning sunlight highlights colorful beds in George Washington’s upper garden with seed house in the background, 2012. Photo by John Henley.

Join leading gardeners, historians, horticulturalists, archaeologists, and preservationists as they reconsider the importance of gardening, landscapes, and design in early America. Learn how Washington and his contemporaries shaped the natural world to achieve beauty through gardening, profited through agriculture, and conveyed civic values through landscape design—and how these historic methods remain relevant in today’s world. Revisit long-lost gardens, explore contemporary creations inspired by the past, and come face-to-face with the most authentic 18th-century plantation landscape in the United States.

F R I D A Y ,  2  J U N E  2 0 1 7

12:30  Registration

1:00  Welcome and Introductions

1:15  William Rieley (Landscape Architect for The Garden Club of Virginia), Proportion without Mathematics in Early Virginia Landscapes

2:00 William C. Welch (Professor and Landscape Horticulturist for Texas A & M University), Exploring our Southern Gardening Heritage

2:45  Break

3:15  Dean Norton (Director of Horticulture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon), George Washington’s Mount Vernon Landscape

4:15  Landscape and Mansion Tours

5:45  Reception

6:30  Dinner

S A T U R D A Y ,  3  J U N E  2 0 1 7

8:45  Welcome and Introductions

9:00  Forrest Pritchard (full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author), Restoration Agriculture: Building Fertility and Protecting our Watershed through Sustainable Farming

10:00  Break

10:15  Luke Pecoraro (Director of Archaeology at George Washington’s Mount Vernon), ‘We have done very little investigation there; there is a great deal yet to do’: The Changing Historic Landscape of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

11:00  Bruce Ragsdale (recently served as Mount Vernon’s inaugural fellow in the Georgian Papers Programme at the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle), The Landscape of Improvement: Washington, George III, and the Picturesque Farm

12:00  Lunch

1:30  Morrie Heckscher (Curator Emeritus of the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Creating Central Park

2:30  Break

3:00  Joseph P. Gromacki (Chicago-based attorney, collector of American decorative arts, and avid gardener with a keen interest in heirloom plants), Kelton House Farm: Celebrating the History of Gardening in Colonial America

3:45  Gabriele Rausse (Director of Gardens and Grounds at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello), Jefferson and Wine

5:00  Reception and Wine Tasting

6:30  Dinner, Whiskey Tasting, and Tours, George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill

S U N D A Y ,  4  J U N E  2 0 1 7

7:45  Optional Episcopal Service and Tour at Nearby Historic Pohick Church, where George Washington Attended and Served as Vestryman

9:30  Leslie B. Grigsby (Winterthur’s Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass), Blooms Transported: Ceramic Vases and Floral Ornament

10:15  Thomas Ranier (Thomas Rainer is a landscape architect, teacher, and author living outside of Washington, D.C.), The Garden of the Future: Re-Imagining the American Yard

11:00  Break

11:30  Curator-led Tours of Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon