Conference at York: The Portrait and the Country House

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 5, 2011

From York’s Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies:

Placing Faces: The Portrait and the Country House in the Long Eighteenth Century
King’s Manor, York, 11 June 2011

Postgraduate Organisers: Jordan Vibert and Hannah Lyons

This interdisciplinary conference is concerned with the complex relationship between eighteenth-century portraits and the places they were so often ultimately destined for – the country houses of Britain’s landed elites. These grand houses were vast public spaces, used by their owners to systematically showcase their political power and social status. Commissioning and displaying portraits was one way in which a family could aggrandize themselves, whether by making a genealogical link to a military hero or a royal relative, or by making a broader national claim to political allegiance or imperial dominance. But portraits could also interact with country houses in other quite surprising ways, drawing together seemingly disparate contexts and narratives to create new and unexpected meanings. A portrait of a woman, for example, could vastly complicate seemingly confident masculine displays of martial heroism and political power, while a depiction of a dead child might forge unsettling connections between private grief and public narratives of bloody warfare and imperial dominion. It is these complex interactions between the portrait and the wide array of familial and national narratives at work in the country house that this conference sets out to unravel. Our speakers are a mixture of established academics, professional curators and young researchers working in a range of disciplines and environments.

P R O G R A M M E  Printer-friendly programme (Word. doc)

10.30 Registration and tea/coffee

11.00 Session 1: The Portrait and the Estate

  • Keynote Speaker – Dr Kate Retford (Birkbeck College, University of London) ‘The Topography of the Conversation Piece – A Walk around Wanstead’
  • Dr Leslie Johansen (Council for British Archaeology) ‘A Look into the Prospect Beyond: The Portrait and the English Designed Landscape’

12.30 Lunch

1.25 Session 2: Collection and Display

  • Desmond Shawe-Taylor (Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures) ‘George IV as a Collector of full-length Portraits’
  • Professor Marcia Pointon (University of Manchester) ‘The Woburn Abbey Portraits’

2.40 Tea/coffee

3.10 Session 3: Gendered Displays

  • Professor Gill Perry (Open University) ‘Dirty Dancing at Knole: Portraits of Giovanna Baccelli and the Performance of ‘Public Intimacy’
  • Jordan Vibert (University of York) ‘Lady Anne Stanhope and Sir Francis Blake Delaval at Ford Castle: Female Sociability, Military Masculinity and the Seven Years’ War’

The conference fee is £12 (£10 for registrations received before 31st March). This fee includes tea, coffee and a simple sandwich lunch.

For details concerning registration, consult the CECS website.

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