NPG Appeal to Secure Historic Portrait

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 11, 2010

Press release from the NPG in London:

Appeal to Secure First British Portrait of a Black African Muslim and Freed Slave
National Portrait Gallery needs £100,000 to acquire first British oil painting of a freed slave, never seen in public

William Hoare, "Portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, also known as Job ben Solomon," oil on canvas, 1733 © Christie's Images Limited

The National Portrait Gallery today launches, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Art Fund, an appeal to acquire for the nation the earliest known British oil painting of a freed slave, and the first portrait that honours a named African subject as an individual and an equal. Never before seen in public, and currently on temporary display at the Gallery, this portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (c.1701-73), known when he was in England as Job ben Solomon, shows the sitter painted in 1733 in his traditional dress wearing his copy of the Qur’an around his neck.

The portrait, from a private collection, was sold at auction in December, is now under a temporary Ministerial export bar following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The Gallery needs to have raised £554,937.50 to secure this important and compelling painting for future generations by 25 August 2010. Art Fund members have kick-started the campaign with a £100,000 grant and the Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged £333,000 towards the acquisition and a project to cover costs for its conservation, display, interpretation and regional tour to Leicester, Liverpool and the North East Museums Hub. In addition to the funds the Gallery is able to contribute to the purchase, it is now launching a campaign to raise £100,000 to complete the target. . . .

A high status African from a prosperous family of Muslim religious clerics, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo was born in the Gambia. At the age of 29 he was captured as a slave and transported to work on a plantation in America. After being imprisoned for trying to escape, he met the lawyer Thomas Bluett who become aware of Diallo’s high birth, intellect and education and took an interest in him, arranging to bring him to England in 1734. After his arrival, he mixed with high society and had a lasting impact on Britain’s understanding of African culture, identity and religion. (more…)

Call for Papers: SAH Conference in New Orleans

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 11, 2010

Society of Architectural Historians 64th Annual Meeting
New Orleans, 13-17 April 2011

Proposals due by 14 August 2010

Members and friends of the Society of Architectural Historians are invited to submit abstracts by 14 August 2010. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent directly to the appropriate session chair; abstracts are to be headed with the applicant’s name, professional affiliation [graduate students in brackets], and title of paper. Submit with the abstract a short curriculum vitae, home and work addresses, email addresses, and telephone and fax numbers. Abstracts should define the subject and summarize the argument to be presented in the proposed paper. The content of that paper should be the product of well-documented original research that is primarily analytical and interpretative rather than descriptive in nature. In addition to the following two panels, the full list of session topics can be found here»

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Architecture and Gastronomy

Architecture and food have long held analogies. Both can be characterized by words such as “tasteful,” “bland,” and most prominently in recent years—“organic.” Their synergy is embodied by the Latin word colere (“to till, tend”), which is also the root of our modern term “to cultivate.” Importantly, cultivation can reference both pragmatic and symbolic phenomena. Cicero notably fused the concrete and figurative inflections of the term, proposing that the human mind must be cultivated in order “to fruit.” During the Enlightenment this analogy was widened into architectural theory when J.-F. Blondel defined “taste” as the “fruit of reasoning.” Just as chefs designed recipes for fine cuisine, architectural theorists began to devise rules for good architecture. While both architecture and gastronomy are disciplines that espouse fundamental principles and standards, neither can be wholly controlled by absolute prescriptions or rigid formulae. They rely on a combination of intuition, inventiveness, and even wonder. This session aims to illuminate and clarify the reciprocity between building and eating, paying particular attention to the role of gastronomy in the expression and interpretation of architecture. Proposals can be from diverse approaches, and those that reassess the metaphorical relationship between taste and architecture are particularly welcome. Speakers may also wish to present case studies that address how the built environment, including landscape, participates in the experience of a meal. Possible questions to explore might include: What is the underlying significance of the terms like “setting” and “service” within architectural discourse? How do food markets contribute to the character of a city? In what ways does architecture structure certain forms of dining, such as ritual meals and communal feasts? How can tastes and smells help define the memory of particular places? The session is also open to presentations that examine emerging dialogues between building and eating, such as how vernacular architecture and regionalism have been aligned with contemporary movements like Slow Food and Edible Schoolyards.

Please send proposals to: Samantha Martin-McAuliffe, University College Dublin School of Architecture, Richview, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14, Republic of Ireland; samantha.martinmcauliffe@ucd.ie   +353.1.716.2757.

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The Architecture of Spectacle: Antiquity through Early Modernity

While many recent period-specific studies address the ways that buildings and cities serve spectacle, from the perspective of visuality (Jay 1988) it may be useful to analyze how architecture for spectacle may condition visual experience itself and how it is theorized within cultural contexts. In turn, we might also ask how the requirements of facilitating or enhancing spectacle impacted the institution of architecture and its design processes, or how theaters or similar buildings adapted to new practical uses or even as models for envisioning the design and structure of the world. This session seeks papers focused on any period from antiquity to 1800, addressing how historical places for spectacle of all sorts shaped or reflected other architectural forms, how they adapted to other purposes, or how they influenced knowledge. How did forms in the theater resonate with public buildings, institutions, houses, or cities? How might columnar stage backdrops with pavilions, niches, and aediculas have both influenced and evoked urban forms? In what ways did later periods adapt monumental theaters or amphitheaters like those of the Roman world for domestic, commercial, or political purposes? Similarly, how might designers have adapted the architecture of theaters to different visual concerns in the manner Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, for example? What role did theaters serve in the development or construction of institutionalized knowledge in contexts like the anatomical theater or planetarium, or more generally in terms of the nature of spectacle and how visual experience itself works?

Send proposals to: John Senseney, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Architecture, 117 Temple Buell Hall, MC-621, 611 Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820; 217-244-5137; senseney@illinois.edu

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