Conference for Walpole and Delany Exhibitions in London

Posted in conferences (to attend), Member News by Editor on April 9, 2010

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

Curious Specimens: Enlightenment Objects, Collections, Narratives
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 15-17 April 2010

A conference organized by Birkbeck, University of London; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Yale Center for British Art; the Lewis Walpole Library. Supported by the Paul Mellon Centre.

Miniature cabinet from Strawberry Hill, rosewood 1743 (London: V&A)

This conference brings together academic and museum scholars to present and discuss new perspectives on eighteenth-century practices of collecting, using as its focus two exhibitions, Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill (V&A, 6 March-4 July 2010) and Mrs Delany and her Circle (Sir John Soane’s Museum, 19 February-1 May 2010). Horace Walpole (1717-1797) was a central figure in eighteenth-century social and cultural life and the most important collector of English historical artifacts and objects, including manuscripts, rare books, ceramics, portrait miniatures, prints, paintings, antiquities, armour and other curiosities, which he arranged in his Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill. Mary Delany (1700-1788) is best known for her cut-paper collages of botanically accurate flowers and floral embroidery designs, which connect the world of natural history with court culture and in particular the collections of the Duchess of Portland. This conference will address eighteenth-century pre occupations with the ordering of both the natural world and material culture, which required new ways of thinking about the classification of objects. Papers will examine issues of collecting, collectors and their circles; the creation of artisanal productions as forms of collecting; and intersections and tensions between antiquarian, aesthetic, and scientific cultures of collecting.

Thursday, 15 April — Lincoln Inns Fields

5:00  Keynote Lecture (at the Royal College of Surgeons)

  • Pamela Smith (Columbia): ‘Curious Modes of Production: Making Objects in the Early Modern World’

6:30  Reception at Sir John Soane’s Museum and viewing of Mrs Delany exhibition

Friday 16 April — Victoria & Albert Museum

10:00  Registration

10:30  Welcome from Directors/Organizers

10:45  Panel 1: Walpole and Delaney

  • Michael Snodin (V&A)
  • Alicia Weisberg Roberts (The Walters Art Museum)

12:00  Panel 2: Collectors, Predisciplinarity, Divisions of Knowledge I

  • Elizabeth Eger (KCL): ‘Quills and Other Feathers: Elizabeth Montagu and the Matter of Friendship’
  • Janice Neri (Boise State University, Idaho): ‘Paper Kingdoms: Mary Delany, the Duchess of Portland, and the Consequences of Collage’

1:30  Lunch

2:30  Panel 3: Collectors, Predisciplinarity, Divisions of Knowledge II

  • Stacey Sloboda (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale): ‘Material Displays: Porcelain and Natural History in the Duchess of Portland’s Museum’
  • Adriano Aymonino (Independent Scholar, London): ‘A Mirror of the Enlightenment: The Collections of Elizabeth Seymour Percy, first Duchess of Northumberland’’
  • Craig Hanson (Calvin College, Michigan): ‘Collecting Virtue: The Patronage and Acquisitions of Dr Richard Mead in Early Georgian London’

4:15  Tea

4:45  Plenary Lecture

  • Stephen Bann (University of Bristol), ‘Curiosity Future and Past: Siting Horace Walpole’

6:00  Reception and viewing of Strawberry Hill exhibition

Saturday 17 April — Strawberry Hill

10:00  Welcome: Michael Snodin

10:30  Keynote Lecture

  • Malcolm Baker (U. California Riverside): ‘Walpole and Sculpture’

12:00  Panel 4: Aesthetic and/or Antiquarian Collecting

  • Cynthia Roman (Lewis Walpole Library, Yale): ‘Collecting Copies, Surrogates, and Misattributions’
  • Rosemary Sweet (Leicester): ‘Contrary to my System and my Humour: Horace Walpole and Antiquarian Collecting in the 18th Century’
  • George Haggerty (U. California, Riverside): ‘Eccentric Collectors: Walpole, Beckford, and the Erotics of Things’

1:30  Lunch

2:30 Visits to Strawberry Hill (every 15 minutes, 1 hour per visit)

4:00  Tea

4:30  Roundtable Discussion: Museums, Collecting, Predisciplinarity

  • Malcolm Baker, Tim Knox, Kim Sloan, Michael Snodin

One Response

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  1. Amber Ludwig said, on April 9, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Can’t wait!

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