Worth Talking About: Before and After Zoffany

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 2, 2009

Buckingham Palace offers an immensely satisfying show anchored by Zoffany (works include the The Academicians of the Royal Academy and The Tribuna of the Uffizi). From the website of the Royal Collection:

The Conversation Piece: Scenes of Fashionable Life
Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, 27 March — 20 September 2009
Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, London, 30 October 2009 — 14 February 2010

The Conversation Piece: Scenes of Fashionable Life is now on view at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. The exhibition presents a fascinating insight into high-society fashions, interiors and manners from the time of Charles I to the reign of Queen Victoria. While a portrait primarily records the sitter’s appearance, the Conversation Piece depicts their way of life, often conveying the impression that the subject has been caught off-guard. Typically a work shows a family group or a gathering of friends participating in informal activities. The genre was popular amongst Dutch painters in the seventeenth century and was subsequently developed in England. It is best known through the work of artists William Hogarth and George Stubbs during the eighteenth century and Sir Edwin Landseer in the nineteenth century. The exhibition brings together outstanding paintings by the greatest exponents of the Conversation Piece. The centrepiece is a remarkable series of portraits produced by Johan Zoffany for his royal patron George III, including the artist’s masterpiece The Tribuna of the Uffizi, 1772-7. The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue The Conversation Piece: Scenes of Fashionable Life by Desmond Shawe-Taylor, the first publication on the subject for over 30 years.

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An informative exhibition microsite accompanies The Conversation Piece. In the London Times and Sunday Times, the show is reviewed by Anna Burnside, Rachel Campbell-Johnston, and Waldemar Januszczak, while Richard Cork supplies a summary for The Financial Times.

Call for Papers: Queer Britain

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 2, 2009

Conference on British Queer History
McGill University, Montreal, 14-16 October 2010

Proposals due by 1 February 2010

The Department of History at McGill University solicits paper proposals for a conference on British Queer History. Keynote addresses will be given by

  • Laura Doan (Professor of Cultural History and Sexuality Studies, University of Manchester)
  • Chris Waters (Professor and Chair of History, Williams College, Mass.)
  • Jeffrey Weeks (Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London South Bank University)

We welcome proposals on all aspects of the topic and for all periods. We hope to attract both established and younger scholars researching in and writing about some of the freshest and most promising new approaches across the field. Selected papers from the conference will be considered for publication. Details of venue, accommodation and registration fees will be forthcoming in the New Year.

Please send a paper abstract of under 500 words, plus a CV by February 1, 2010 , to brian.lewis@mcgill.ca or to Brian Lewis, Associate Professor, McGill University, Department of History, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2T7, Canada.

Call for Papers: Beyond the Waters at Bath

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 2, 2009

More than a Spa Resort? — The Urban Experience in Bath since the Reformation
Symposium at Bath Spa University, 24 April 2010

Paper proposals due by 1 January 2010

Bath is a city in need of historical reappraisal. Much historiography focuses on the city as a spa resort and the personalities involved in its development, but little has been written on the residential population and links between them and the visitors. Bath attracted entrepreneurs and young people with the offer of employment opportunities and education. Could the city be seen as a centre for commerce and education outside London? The city was also a centre of conversation and opinion with many spaces set aside for sociability and display. How did these social networks develop and how were they maintained? The relationship between Bath and the rest of country also needs to be addressed. Was the city a trend follower or a trend setter? How did Bath stand in relation to London and other main towns?

To explore these issues, Bath Spa University is hosting an international symposium on 24th April 2010, with a view to holding a conference later in the year placing Bath within the European context. Keynote speakers include Professor Rosemary Sweet (Head of History, University of Leicester) and Professor Peter Borsay (Aberystwyth University). Proposals for papers of 15 minute duration are invited on any of the following subjects:

  • Urbanisation
  • Commercialisation
  • The use of space
  • The growth of civic consciousness
  • Class (particularly the rising middle classes and servants)
  • Gender
  • Philanthropy
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Political culture
  • Other subjects relating to the urban milieu

Interdisciplinary and non-historical papers are particularly welcome. Please send abstracts of proposed papers (250 words) to d.hughes@bathspa.ac.uk. The closing date for the submission of abstracts is 1st January 2010.

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