Wanted: Best Graduate Paper on a Feminist or Women’s Studies Subject

Posted in graduate students, opportunities by Editor on August 23, 2009

Catharine Macaulay Prize Competition

The Catharine Macaulay Prize is an annual award made by the Women’s Caucus of ASECS for the best graduate student paper on a feminist or Women’s Studies subject presented at the ASECS Annual Meeting or at any of the regional meetings during the academic year. In addition to special recognition, the prize carries a cash award of $200.

To be eligible for the prize, papers must advance understanding of women’s experience and/or contributions to eighteenth-century culture or offer a feminist analysis of any aspect of eighteenth-century culture and/or society.

The deadline for submission is September 1, 2009. The paper you submit for the prize should be the one you presented at the conference without expansion or significant revision. Submissions for the Catharine Macaulay Prize must be sent directly to the ASECS office for consideration. PO Box 7867, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109; or as an email attachment (Word): asecs@wfu.edu. The winner of the prize will be notified soon after the committee has made its decision and will be announced at the following year’s annual meeting as well as in the Summer or Fall news circular.

Time at the Louvre

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 22, 2009

Breguet and the Louvre: An Apogee of European Watchmaking

Exhibition curated by Marc Bascou

Musée du Louvre, Sully Wing, La Chappelle exhibition hall, June 25 – September 7, 2009

Turkish Watch – The name was used to denote watches produced specially for the Turkish market by Breguet. They have enamel dials and very distinctive numerals in Turkish characters. The cases are also highly distinctive: sometimes double-enameled throughout and richly decorated with floral motifs and landscapes. The last watches and clocks with Turkish numerals date from the late nineteenth century, when the firm still had a representative in Constantinople.

Turkish Watch – The name was used to denote watches produced specially for the Turkish market. They have enamel dials and very distinctive numerals in Turkish characters. The cases are also highly distinctive: often richly decorated with floral motifs and landscapes.

 'Souscription' Watch – Launched through a publicity brochure in 1797, watches of this sort were sold on a subscription basis, with a down-payment of a quarter of the price when the order was placed. Called “Souscription” in the sales ledgers, they were reliable and proved a great success.

'Souscription' Watch – Launched through a publicity brochure in 1797, watches of this sort were sold on a subscription basis, with a down-payment of a quarter of the price when the order was placed. Called “Souscription” in the sales ledgers, they were reliable and proved a great success.

Abraham-Louis Breguet was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1747 but moved to Paris in 1775. A peerless technician, Breguet invented mechanisms that constituted wonderful advances in watchmaking, notably the tourbillon regulator, an astonishing device that corrected the effect of gravity on the balance wheel. Watches, clocks, and measuring instruments, accompanied by portraits, archive documents and patent applications, shed light on the developments pioneered by Breguet from his early years in Paris to the period when he handed the business over to his son, Antoine-Louis.


Marine chronometers took the form of a movement of fairly large volume enclosed in a cylindrical brass casing. The latter was attached to a sturdy wooden box by means of brass gimbals serving as stabilizer and shock absorber. Fitted with handles and a glass face, the marine chronometer was placed at the heart of the vessel; among other functions, it was used to calculate longitude at sea.


In 1796, Breguet built the first modern carriage clock. It is equipped with a Breguet overcoil – which offered major advantages over the pendulum balance it replaced, which was not adapted to being moved – glazed on four sides and of small dimensions. Some of the carriage clocks of the first half of the nineteenth century are veritable tours de force, endowed with various advanced features.

Combining items from the lavish collections of the Louvre and of the Musée Breguet, this exhibition of historic Breguet timepieces also includes masterpieces on loan from private collections and prestigious institutions such as the British Royal Collections, the Musée des Arts et Métiers de Paris, the Kremlin Museum and the Swiss National Museum.

Published in conjnction with the exhibition is the catalogue, Breguet au Louvre, un apogée de l’horlogerie européenne, edited by Marc Bascou and Emmanuel Breguet, 39 € (also available in English as Breguet and the Louvre, An Apogee of European Watchmaking)

[N.B. – Text, images, and captions are drawn from the exhibition website at the Louvre. Portions of the text also comes from the Breguet website.]

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Jefferson in the Library

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 21, 2009

Thomas Jefferson’s Library, an ongoing exhibition that opened 11 April 2008 at the Library of Congress in D.C., is featured in a recent article from Smithsonian.com:

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Library of Congress curator Mark Dimunation stands among the fruits of his endeavor; over 4,000 books have been acquired but nearly 300 titles have yet to be located. Photo by Molly Roberts.

On the Hunt for Jefferson’s Lost Books
A Library of Congress curator is on a worldwide mission to find exact copies of the books that belonged to Thomas Jefferson

By Ashley Luthern
Smithsonian.com, August 11, 2009

For more than a decade, Mark Dimunation has led a quest to rebuild an American treasure—knowing he will likely never see the complete results of his efforts.

On an August day 195 years ago, the British burned the U.S. Capitol in the War of 1812 and by doing so, destroyed the first Library of Congress. When the war ended, former President Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library, which at 6,487 books was the largest in America, to Congress for whatever price the legislators settled upon. After much partisan debate and rancor, it agreed to pay Jefferson $23,950.

Then another fire in the Capitol on Christmas Eve of 1851 incinerated some 35,000 volumes, including two-thirds of the books that had belonged to Jefferson. And although Congress appropriated funds to replace much of the Library of Congress collection, the restoration of the Jefferson library fell by the wayside.

Since 1998, Dimunation, the rare-books and special collections curator for the Library of Congress, has guided a slow-moving, yet successful search for the 4,324 Jefferson titles that were destroyed. The result of his labor thus far is on view at the library in the Jefferson Collection Exhibition. . . .

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Visit the Smithsonian website for the full article; there’s also a video to complement the story. In addition, LibraryThing includes a catalogue of Jefferson’s books (or at least 5418 of them), complete with useful tags (and if you’ve not yet seen LibraryThing, you must click heretout de suite! -CAH).

Call for Papers: CAA in Chicago

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 20, 2009

Although most CAA panels for 2010 in Chicago closed long ago, the session allotted for the Historians of British Art business meeting will address the work of young scholars. Consequently, anyone falling into that category still has until the end of the month to submit proposals:

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HISTORIANS OF BRITISH ART: Young Scholars’ Works in Progress

Deadline: September 1, 2009

The Historians of British Art, a CAA-affiliated society, seeks papers for the upcoming mini-session to be held during CAA. Current or recent graduate students (if a Ph.D. recipient, the degree must have been earned within the past three years) are invited to submit proposals for consideration. The papers may address any topic related to British art, architecture, and visual culture. Presentations or “works in progress” should be limited to fifteen minutes to allow for ample discussion. Because the session will occur during the HBA business meeting, attendance is open to the public. To submit a paper for consideration, send the following items to the President of the Historians of British Art, Margaretta Frederick mfrederick@delart.org : (1) a 1-2 page abstract; (2) a 2-page C.V.; and (3) a brief cover letter explaining interest in the field. Decisions will be made by November 1. Upon selection, presenters are requested to join HBA if not currently a member.

Call for Papers: Sociability & Cosmopolitanism

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 20, 2009

CFP for a an edited collection of essays:

Sociability and Cosmopolitanism: Social Bonds on the Fringes of the Enlightenment

Deadline: 18 September 2009

The editors of this collection seek essays that explore how notions of sociability and cosmopolitanism were articulated in a variety of national contexts during the long eighteenth century. We are particularly interested in soliciting studies that focus upon traditions typically overlooked by scholars of the Enlightenment.

Historians are now familiar with the explosion of intellectual fervor during the long eighteenth century in such diverse locations as Naples, Königsberg, Edinburgh, and London. While the scholarly task of recovering the contours of debates along the “periphery” of the Enlightenment has made great progress, there are still a number of glaring lacunas to be filled. The study of notions of sociability is one such field. (more…)

Cuts Said to be Considered at Courtauld’s Conway & Witt

Posted in resources by Editor on August 19, 2009

The following message from Colum Hourihane regarding the Conway and Witt photographic libraries in London went out the CAAH list last Thursday: [N.B. Please also see the follow-up post, added August 25, here.]

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Urgent: Courtauld Photographic Libraries under Threat

Somerset House, home of the Courtauld Institute (Wikimedia Commons)

Somerset House, home of the Courtauld Institute (Wikimedia Commons)

In response to the current economic downturn The Courtauld Institute is looking to make savings. The Conway and Witt photographic libraries have been identified as areas in which savings could be made without affecting the core activities of the Institute. There is currently a brief consultation period-which ends in the next few days.

If no satisfactory alternative can be found it is possible that the Conway and Witt will be frozen, their staff made redundant, and access limited to one day per week. Silence from the scholarly community on this topic is likely to be taken as acquiescence in whatever plan is finally decided upon. (more…)

An Antiquare’s Influence

Posted in marketplace (goods & services) by Editor on August 19, 2009

Above: Chaim Soutine, Portrait of Madeleine Castaing, 1929 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art). Bottom Left: Photo of Madeleine Castaing by Christina Vervitsioti-Missoffe, ca. 1920. Top Left: The salon of Castaing's country house, Maison de Lèves, near Chartres; photograph by René Stoeltie (via An Aesthete's Lament)

Leves_by_Rene_Stoeltie,_copyright_2007pfrench7_1384411cYesterday’s interior photographs of the Swedish Gunnebo House were supplied by Christopher Flach. In 2007, Flach made a half-hour documentary about the legendary French aesthete, Madeleine Castaing (1894-1992). Though associated with leading artists of the early twentieth century – including Modigliano and Soutine (the latter’s portrait of Castaing now hangs in the Met) – this grande dame of design was enthralled by the possibilities of classicism – in most cases nineteenth-century revival pieces of one sort or another. Emily Evans Eerdmans, author of Regency Redux, describes the Castaing look as a “unique blend of Neoclassicism, Proustian Romanticism, and pure wit.” One might see Castaing (the wife of the art critic, Marcellin Castaing) as a twentieth-century analog of the Goncourt brothers, though admittedly, the discrepancies are as interesting as the points of congruity.


Interior of the Castaing shop's; photograph by René Stoeltie (via an Aesthete's Lament)

9Castaing’s greatest influence was channeled through the antique shop she ran in Saint-Germain-des-Prés at the corner of rue Jacob and rue Bonaparte (it’s now home to the patisserie, Ladurée). Various accounts have appeared over the past few years (including this one from David Feld), but for dixhuitièmistes, its importance stemmed from the way it animated a twentieth-century vision of previous eras of design (however idiosyncratic the interpretation may have been). The shop, turns up, for instance as an early source for the aesthetic proclivities of David Mlinaric, who went on to forge much of what now constitutes period interiors, particularly in England (he’s worked, for instance, at the V&A, the National Gallery, and Spencer House). In the recent Frances Lincoln book, Mlinaric on Decorating, Mirabel Cecil describes Castaing’s shop as an “exercise in looking – and remembering”
(pp. 9-10).

09_30_sothebys_castaingFollowing Castaing’s death at age 98, her furniture was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2004. In addition to sources already provided, the following articles and postings may be useful: The Style Saloniste on ‘Castaing blue/green’ (related, of course, to the colors of Wedgwood and Robert Adam), Jan del Monte on the renewed interest in Castaing (including an exhibition in Paris of her furniture and a biography by Jean-Noël Liaut), a summary with photos from Topsy Turvy, more photos at An Aesthete’s Lament, and finally, this feature from The New York Times Magazine (17 October 2008). Flach’s documentary is available for purchase through his website.

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Swedish Neoclassicism

Posted in on site by Editor on August 18, 2009

Carl Wilhelm Carlberg, Gunnebo House, ca. 1780s (Photo by Tor Svensson, Wikimedia Commons)

Interior of Gunnebo House (Photo by Chris Flach, courtesy of Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar AB)

Interior of Gunnebo House (Photo by Christopher Flach, courtesy of Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar AB)


Interior of Gunnebo House (Photo by Christopher Flach, courtesy of Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar AB)

This week, Diane Dorrans Saeks – author of The Style Saloniste along with twenty books, including one with Michael Smith (the interior designer for the Obama White House) – turns her attention to Gunnebo House and Gardens, just south of Gothenburg. Now open to the public, Gunnebo was built in the late eighteenth century as a summer residence for the merchant John Hall. The architect was Carl Wilhelm Carlberg.

The handsome interior photos from Saeks’s site were taken by Christopher Flach, who kindly granted permission for two to be reproduced here as well (for more information, see his website: www.chrisflach.com)

Conservation in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in resources by Editor on August 15, 2009

national-portrait-galleryAmong the various useful online resources available through the National Portrait Gallery of London, there is a directory of British Picture Restorers, 1630-1950. The first edition appeared in March of 2009, and the database is to be updated regularly (there is also a helpful Resources and Bibliography section that introduces various archival materials, many with links). Contributions and corrections should be sent to Jacob Simon at jsimon@npg.org.uk. The following description comes from NPG website:

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This is a directory of leading picture, paper and sculpture restorers, active in Britain before 1950, who worked on major collections or who advertised extensively in art periodicals. Many worked in London but others were based in Bath, Derby, Dublin, Edinburgh, Hull, Leamington, Manchester, Nottingham and Plymouth. Picture restoration only became a specialised trade during the course of the 19th century. As such, this directory includes dealers such as John Anderson and John Bouttats and print publishers including Thomas Gaugain and Robert Guéraut. It also includes the few artists such as Arthur Pond, William Kent, Joshua Reynolds and Joseph Wright of Derby, to highlight the role of the artist. But it excludes most artists’ suppliers and framemakers who only offered an occasional restoration service. The collections covered in some depth in this directory include the Royal Collection, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the Soane Museum and the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood. It is hoped to treat the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and National Trust properties in more detail in a subsequent edition.

Call for Papers: Conference on American Art & Trade

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 14, 2009

Custom House, Salem, Massachusetts, 1819 (Photo by Torsten Henning, Wikimedia Commons)

Visual Arts and Global Trade in the Early American Republic

Salem, Massachusetts, March 6, 2010 (tentative date)

Proposals Due September 10

American participation in global trade increased dramatically during the Early Republic. American ships ventured beyond the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn to expand direct contact with China, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and other parts of the Pacific world. This trade brought widespread access to Asian arts and other visual materials and profoundly influenced American visual arts. While much of the literature on the arts of the Early Republic has focused on building nationalism in the wake of the Revolution, this conference investigates the state of early American internationalism. How did global trade contribute to knowledge and culture in the Early Republic, particularly in the arts? We invite papers and proposals that examine the impact of global trade from the 1780s to the 1840s on all aspects of visual art production: painting, sculpture, architecture, garden design, ceramics, furniture, silver, wallpaper, textiles, fashion, and other media. We also invite papers on the transmission of artistic ideas—through eyewitness accounts, illustrated books and prints, imported images and objects, museum collections, patronage, art markets, and other topics.

Honoraria and travel support for speakers are available through a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Organizing institutions include Salem State College, the Salem Maritime Historical Site (National Park Service), and the Salem Athenaeum. The conference will provide opportunities to tour Salem’s magnificent Federalist architecture and museum collections. (more…)

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