Digital Resources | History Working Papers Project & The Hellfire Club

Posted in resources by Editor on April 23, 2012

Following up on yesterday’s postings on the digital humanities, I include two examples of how the web might be used for sharing original, in-progress research, both from Jason M. Kelly. It seems to me that they raise interesting questions related to process, transparency, and audience. As I regularly suggest to my students, I don’t think we yet know what the web is really for; the web experience of the 2020s will surely look quite different from that of 2012. My own expectations have changed substantially since the 90s, when the web seemed pretty terrific because it meant I didn’t have to make space in a small Chicago apartment for a phonebook and Yellow Pages! I would have simply had no way to comprehend the likes of Twitter or Pinterest. In the world of web analytics — a world in which web-users are, above all, consumers — I think there’s probably more at stake with the scholarly potential of the digital realm than we might like to acknowledge, whatever that future might hold. -CH

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History Working Papers Project: Open Peer Review for the Humanities

The creators of the History Working Papers Project are Jason M. Kelly and Tim Hitchcock. HWPP has one goal. To develop an open source platform that allows for continuous revision, review, and evaluation from the earliest draft of an academic conference presentation and article, through publication and beyond. It is designed to bring the process of exposing one’s work at a conference, and revising it for peer review publication, in to the digital age.

HWPP is an online space for scholars to share works-in-progress with their peers. After uploading a conference paper, essay, or article manuscript to the HWPP website, authors can invite others to read their work and make comments in the margins. As more people respond, writers get more feedback. But, unlike traditional comments done on paper, HWPP allows commenters and authors to interact with each other. They can read each other’s marginalia and engage in dialogue about it. In fact, entire threaded discussions can take place in the margins. Here’s what it looks like:

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From the site’s about page:

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club, or, more appropriately, the Monks of Medmenham Abbey, was an association that met in Buckinghamshire between the 1740s and the 1760s. Controversy and mystery surrounds the group and has defined the histories written about them. Stories of sex, witchcraft, satanism, and spirits define the popular memory of the club. Misinformation abounds and has led to many misconceptions about the organization and its members. As part of my research on the history of eighteenth-century clubs and societies, I have studied the group and had a chance to access the surviving public and private manuscripts. This site is devoted to exposing the history of Monks of Medmenham Abbey. It will reveal new facts about the group while putting its activities into the context of its age. Using the surviving fragments of their activities, rare books, and even the odd film or television episode, this site tells a centuries-long tale of secret societies, ghost stories, illicit activities, rumor, and gossip.

New Title | ‘Debates in the Digital Humanities’

Posted in books by Editor on April 22, 2012

My sense is that Art History is by and large (and yes I’m generalizing), a few steps behind other disciplines in terms of the digital humanities (in contrast, for instance, to the large umbrella of eighteenth-century studies). One might explain the lag (if I’m even correct in characterizing it as such) in terms of the differences between texts and images. I suspect, however, that the limitations of working with large numbers of images in terms of searches and quantification will soon begin to recede. -CH

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From the U of Minnesota Press:

Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 532 pages, ISBN 9780816677955 ($35) / ISBN 9780816677948 ($105).

Debates in the Digital Humanities brings together leading figures in the field to explore its theories, methods, and practices and to clarify its multiple possibilities and tensions. Together, the essays—which will be published later as an ongoing, open-access website—suggest that the digital humanities is uniquely positioned to contribute to the revival of the humanities and academic life.

Encompassing new technologies, research methods, and opportunities for collaborative scholarship and open-source peer review, as well as innovative ways of sharing knowledge and teaching, the digital humanities promises to transform the liberal arts—and perhaps the university itself. Indeed, at a time when many academic institutions are facing austerity budgets, digital humanities programs have been able to hire new faculty, establish new centers and initiatives, and attract multimillion-dollar grants.

Clearly the digital humanities has reached a significant moment in its brief history. But what sort of moment is it? Debates in the Digital Humanities brings together leading figures in the field to explore its theories, methods, and practices and to clarify its multiple possibilities and tensions. From defining what a digital humanist is and determining whether the field has (or needs) theoretical grounding, to discussions of coding as scholarship and trends in data-driven research, this cutting-edge volume delineates the current state of the digital humanities and envisions potential futures and challenges. At the same time, several essays aim pointed critiques at the field for its lack of attention to race, gender, class, and sexuality; the inadequate level of diversity among its practitioners; its absence of political commitment; and its preference for research over teaching.

Together, the essays in Debates in the Digital Humanities—which will be published both as a printed book and later as an ongoing, open-access website—suggest that the digital humanities is uniquely positioned to contribute to the revival of the humanities and academic life.

Call for Papers | Digital Revolutions

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 22, 2012

Digital Revolutions: Interpreting and Historicizing American Culture
New England American Studies Association 2012 Conference
University of Rhode Island, Providence, 12-13 October 2012

Proposals due 3 May 2012 (extended from the original 15 April deadline)

Recent developments in digital technologies have transformed the place of the humanities in American life. From online versions of Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana to a daily John Quincy Adams Twitter feed to the Smithsonian’s publicly accessible Archives of American Art to the Women Writers Online Project, digital technologists are reshaping our sense of history, place, community, and identity. Digitization of America’s cultural heritage has also fundamentally transformed work in the humanities itself. From universities to libraries to cultural institutions, the information infrastructure has brought forth digital collaborations across disciplines and beyond the academy, as well as between scholars, educators, archivists and programmers. But it has also brought forward concerns about copyright, control and access to information and the future of print media.

Are such changes unprecedented? Prior evolutions in communications technology suggest otherwise. From broadsides to blogs, such changes have reshaped the way Americans interact and understand themselves both in the present and the past. The 2012 NEASA conference, Digital Revolutions, invites participants to consider what these developments are, how they are redefining work in the humanities and what previous media revolutions suggest for the future.

This conference will combine scholarly investigation of the cultural, political and economic significance of communications media with a series of panels, workshops and participatory forums that can take advantage of technologies now available to us. In addition to individual paper proposals, we also welcome submissions for roundtable discussions, hands-on workshops and multimedia sessions such as film screenings, online presentations and 5-minute micropapers.

Proposals should include a one page abstract and title, as well as the author’s name, address (including email), and institutional or professional affiliation. For panel proposals please include contact information for all participants, as well as a brief (no more than two page) description of the session topic and format. Submit proposals to neasaconference12@gmail.com by the revised deadline of May 3, 2012.

Proposal or queries may also be sent to:
Sara Sikes, NEASA President
Massachusetts Historical Society, The Adams Papers
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA02215

For more information about the conference and NEASA, including an expanded Call for Papers, please visit www.neasa.org.

New Title | ‘Knowing Nature: Art and Science in Philadelphia’

Posted in books by Editor on April 21, 2012

From Yale UP:

Amy R. W. Meyers and Lisa L. Ford, eds., Knowing Nature: Art and Science in Philadelphia, 1740-1840 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 424 pages, ISBN: 9780300111040, $65.

Philadelphia developed the most active scientific community in early America, fostering an influential group of naturalist-artists, including William Bartram, Charles Willson Peale, Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon, whose work has been addressed by many monographic studies. However, as the groundbreaking essays in Knowing Nature demonstrate, the examination of nature stimulated not only forms of artistic production traditionally associated with scientific practice of the day, but processes of making not ordinarily linked to science.

The often surprisingly intimate connections between and among these creative activities and the objects they engendered are explored through the essays in this book, challenging the hierarchy that is generally assumed to have been at play in the study of nature, from the natural sciences through the fine and decorative arts, and, ultimately, popular and material culture. Indeed, the many ways in which the means of knowing nature were reversed – in which artistic and artisanal culture informed scientific interpretations of the natural world – forms a central theme of this pioneering publication.

At Sotheby’s in June 2012 | Pastel Portrait by Liotard

Posted in Art Market by Editor on April 20, 2012

Press release (28 March 2012) from Sotheby’s:

Jean Etienne Liotard, “Portrait of Mademoiselle Jacquet” (Photo: Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s announced that their sale of Old Master & 19th Century Paintings & Drawings in Paris on 21 June 2012 will feature a very rare work of art by the most important pastellist of the 18th century, Jean Etienne Liotard. Estimated between 300.000 and 400.000€ ($400,000-530,000 / excluding buyer’s premium), this beautifully preserved pastel has been rediscovered by the Director of the Old Master Paintings Department at Sotheby’s in Paris, Pierre Etienne, in a collection in the South of France. This portrait of Mademoiselle Jacquet, a French actress at the Opéra (Académie Royale de Musique) in the 18th century, has never appeared before on the art market.

Liotard grew up in Geneva and trained as a miniaturist and enameller – first in Switzerland, then in France under Jean-Baptiste Massé, with whom he also studied engraving. However, apparently bored in his master’s studio, the young Liotard left for Italy in 1735, where he met Sir William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough, who offered to travel with him to Constantinople, drawing the costumes and characters they met along the way. Thereafter Liotard continued to travel, through Turkey, Greece, Moldavia (where the prince invited him to paint the royal family), Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Holland, Italy – and France. During his career Liotard came to Paris for three lengthy stays, and also stopped off in the French capital from time to time en route for other destinations.

The portrait of Mademoiselle Jacquet probably dates either from his second stay in Paris (1748-52), or from his brief trip to Paris in Spring 1757. When Liotard arrived in Paris in 1748 he was already famous. In 1749 he was asked to paint the royal family and, in the wake of this commission, numerous courtiers and other influential figures asked him to do their portraits, ranging from Madame de Pompadour and Voltaire to well-known figures of the theatre such as Marivaux and the great actress Madame Favart. It is thus interesting to note that the portrait of Louise Jacquet, also an actress, was probably commissioned during this period. The work to be offered for sale by Sotheby’s is drawn in pastel, Liotard’s preferred medium. Liotard’s first known pastel dates from his trip to Italy in 1736. Also in his autobiography, he explains that he especially appreciated pastel because it facilitated a subtle blend of colours and enabled him to rework a subject without having to repaint it. The portrait, executed with a pronounced delicacy, differs markedly from the standard format Liotard was used to propose, involving a frontal view of the sitter, without hands. The pastel is slightly larger than Liotard’s standard works of this type, and the sitter is unusually lent a context, or mise en scène.

It is not unusual to find letters in Liotard’s portraits, but this one in particular is unusually explicit, and the only one to be partly legible. We can make out a string of compliments addressed to the young lady, such as ‘You know how much I am interested in and admire you… and your perfections.’ Such details suggest that it was the sitter herself, or one of her admirers, who chose this ambitious mode of representation – one that makes no allusion to her profession as a singer. Jacquet’s name has always been associated with the pastel; it was offered to the ancestors of the current owners by Louise Jacquet herself.

The portrait will be exhibited in Paris, 18-20 June 2012, 10am-6pm.

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Note (added 24 June 2012) — As reported at Art Daily, Liotard’s pastel far surpassed estimates, selling for a record €1,464,750 ($1,853,509).

Exhibition | Gainsborough’s Landscapes

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by ashleyhannebrink on April 19, 2012

From the Holburne Museum in Bath . . .

Gainsborough’s Landscapes: Themes and Variations
Holburne Museum, Bath, 24 September 2011 — 22 January 2012
Compton Verney, Warwickshire, 11 February — 10 June 2012

Landcsape with Distant Village by Gainsborough
Thomas Gainsborough, Landscape with a View of a Distant
, ca. 1750 (Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland)

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Gainsborough’s Landscapes: Themes and Variations is the first exhibition in fifty years devoted solely to his landscape paintings and drawings, bringing together remarkable works from public and private collections, many of them little known and some not previously exhibited. For Gainsborough, if portraiture was his business, landscape painting was his pleasure, and his landscape paintings and drawings reveal his mind at work, the extraordinary breadth of his invention and the dazzling quality of his technique.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) sold relatively few of his landscape paintings, and none of his drawings, but he regarded them as his most important work. His paintings do not represent real views, but are creations ‘of his own Brain’, as he put it. A limited number of rural subjects exercised his imagination from one decade to the next, changing as he developed an increasingly energetic ‘hand’, or manner of painting, and becoming ever grander in conception.

The exhibition includes some of his most famous and popular works including The Watering Place from the National Gallery (the most famous of all his landscape compositions in his life-time) and less well-known works such as the little-seen but ravishing Haymaking from Woburn. The paintings have been selected to represent six landscape themes; the remarkable drawings and prints show Gainsborough returning to these themes and demonstrate the longevity of each theme and the degree of experimentation that was involved in the search for the perfect composition.

The evolution of Gainsborough’s style is traced from early naturalistic landscapes in the Dutch manner, enlivened with small figures (pictured above), to grand scenery that is dramatically lit and obviously imaginary, such as the Romantic Landscape from the Royal Academy of Arts. In the Girl with Pigs, from the Castle Howard Collection, a rustic figure takes centre stage: fancy figures of this kind are, in Gainsborough’s art, closely integrated with his landscape practice.

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Accompanying publication: Susan Sloman, Gainsborough’s Landscapes: Themes and Variations (London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2011), ISBN: 9780856676970, £14.99

Conference | Desiring Statues

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 18, 2012

From the University of Exeter:

Desiring Statues: Statuary, Sexuality, History
University of Exeter, 26–27 April 2012

A Wellcome Trust funded conference, hosted by the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate how statuary intersects with questions of sexuality, and temporality, specifically history. It explores the numerous different ways in which statues – as historical and/or imagined artefacts – allow us to think about the past and its relation to sex, gender and sexuality. The conference brings together contributors from a variety of disciplines, including history, gender and sexuality studies, literary and cultural studies, art history, classics, archaeology and philosophy.

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Thursday, 26th April 2012

9.00  Registration

9.45  Welcome

10.00  Session 1
Panel 1: Gender and the Erotics of the Living Statue
•Beth Brunton (Queen Mary University of London), From Motherhood to Mannequin: Bodily Perfection in Good Morning Midnight
• Lynsey McCulloch (Anglia Ruskin University), ‘Why, did you think you had married a statue?’ The Erotics of Sculptural Motion in English Renaissance Drama
• Will McMorran (Queen Mary University of London), Made of Stone: Reading And Watching Sade’s ‘Eugénie de Franval’
Panel 2: Statues, Censorship and Nudity
• Julie Anne Godin Laverdière (Université du Québec à Montréal), The Arrest of The Family (1949) and the Destruction of The Peace (1951): The Reception of Two Indecent Sculptures in Montréal
• Linda Ann Nolan (John Cabot University and American University of Rome), Deadly Nudity and Xenophobia in St. Peter’s Basilica in Early Modern Rome: the reception of the figure of Justice on the Tomb of Pope Paul III
• Sophie Schoess (University College London), The Naked Truth: Ancient Greek Sculpture in the Face of Christian Censorship

11.30  B R E A K

12.00  Session 2
Panel 1: Statuary, Sexuality and Modernity
• Andrew Eschelbacher (University of Maryland), Gendering Modernity/Modernizing Masculinity
• Charles Miller (University of Manchester), The Sex of an Origin: Picasso, Freud, Glozel
• Bernard Vere (Sotheby’s Institute of Art), ‘A Token of Triumph Cut Down to Size: Jacob Epstein’s Rock Drill as Fetish Object’
Panel 2: The Erotics of the Gaze: Interacting with Statuary Objects
• Sarah Jones (University of Exeter), ‘The Art of Love’: Religion, Sex, and the Tourist Gaze at the Temples of Khajuraho
• Amy Mechowski (Victoria and Albert Museum), ‘Britain’s Most Romantic Museum’ or a ‘Temple of Lust’?: Statuary, Lesbian Spectatorship and the V&A
• Lisa Trentin (Wilfrid Laurier University), The Sleeping Hermaphrodite: Desirous Viewing in Ancient and Eighteenth-Century Rome

13.30  L U N C H

14.30  Session 3
Panel 1: Desiring the Past: Eighteenth-Century Uses of Statuary
• Sarah Betzer (University of Virginia), Dangerous Admiration: Sculpture and Desire on the Grand Tour
•  Katharina Boehm (University of Regensburg), Desiring Antiques: Sir William Hamilton, Commercial Antiquarianism and the Cult of Priapus
• Elsje van Kessel (DFK, Paris and Leiden University), Longing for the Past: Eichendorff’s Marmorbild and the Lives and Deaths of Statues
• Katie McAfee (University of Cambridge), The Sexy Statue: Venus’ Body through Eighteenth-Century Eyes
Panel 2: Sculpting Gender and Sexual Norms in Antiquity and Beyond
• Linnea Åshede (University of Gothenburg), Hermaphroditos: Desired Object and Desiring Subject
• Glenys Davies (University of Edinburgh), The Gendered Body Language of Roman Portrait Statues
• Jane Draycott (British School at Rome), Determining Desirability: Aphrodite of Cnidus vs. Baubo of Eleusis
• Fabio Guidetti (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), “I am black, but comely” desire, sensuality and colour in Roman ideal statuary

16:30  B R E A K

17.00  Keynote Lecture by Dr. Ian Jenkins (Senior Curator, Ancient Greece at the British Museum), The Body Beautiful: The Human Body in Greek Art and Society

19.00  C O N F E R E N C E  D I N N E R

Friday 27th April 2012

9.00  Registration

9.30  Session 4
Panel 1: Statuary (Im)Possibilities of Desire
• June Dunn (Eastern Connecticut State University), Statuesque Landscape: The Cailleach and the Topolatry of Desire in Colm Tóibín’s “A Long Winter”
• Sarah Parker (University of Birmingham), ‘Which is the god, / which is the stone / the god takes for his use?’: H.D. and Bryher’s Sculptural Exchanges
• Ery Shin (University of Oxford) “She was gracious and yet fading, like an old statue in a garden”: Nightwood’s Robin Vote, Impossible Object Desire, and the Culture/Nature Binary
Panel 2: Sculptural (In)Decency
• Catriona MacLeod (University of Pennsylvania), Flirting with Sculptural Indecency: The Realist Psyche
• Melissa Percival (University of Exeter), Angelina Jolie as a Breastfeeding Muse: The Nude Female Portrait in Context
• Linda Walsh (The Open University), Houdon’s Winter and the Problematic Sexuality of Youth

11.00  B R E A K

11.30  Session 5
Panel 1: Agalmatophilia
• Jane Fae (Independent Scholar) “Agalmatophilia” as Paraphilia
• Caterina Y. Pierre, (Kingsborough Community College, CUNY), The Pleasure and Piety of Touch in Aimé-Jules Dalou’s Tomb of Victor Noir
• Shawn O’Bryhim (Franklin & Marshall College), In the Footsteps of the Greek Agalmatophiliacs
• Lise Wajeman (Aix‐Marseille Université), The Erotic Power of Sculpture and the Question of Artistic Superiority: Agalmatophilia and the Paragone during the Sixteenth Century
Panel 2: Statuary and Science
• Richard Brown (University of Leeds), “Silent veining…drinking electricity”: The Bodies of Statues in Joyce
• Melissa Haynes (University of Wisconsin, Madison),  A Unique Anthropometry: Measuring the Venus de Milo and a Rationality of Desire
• Alice McEwan (University of Hertfordshire), Mythological Sculpture at the Service of Eugenicist Desire in the early
Twentieth Century: the Case of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Living Statues’
• Guillermo de Eugenio Pérez (Carlos III University of Madrid), Wax Dolls and the Dream of Asepsis

13.30  L U N C H

14.30  Session 6
Panel 1: Statuary, Colonialism and Nation
• Cora Gilroy‐Ware (University of Bristol), “The Fragment of the Negro’s Chest”: Benjamin Robert Haydon and the Black Body
• James Hargrove (Roanoke College), Paris 1900: Bodies of National Identity
• Gráinne O’Connell (University of Sussex), Embodying the Nation; Emancipated Ex-Slave Statues in Jamaica’s Emancipation Park and the Jamaican Afro-Creole Nationalist Project
Panel 2: Metamorphosis, Materiality and Desire
• Vito Adriaensens (School of Arts, University College, Ghent) and Steven Jacobs (University of Ghent), Mysteries of the Wax Museum: Eros, Thanatos and Sculpture in American Cinema
• Katie Faulkner (Courtauld Institute of Art), Metamorphosis in Sexuality and Sculpture in the Nineteenth century: G.F. Watt’s Clytie, 1868-78
• Ashley Hannebrink (University College London), Stone and Flesh in Antoine Watteau’s Fêtes Galantes

16.00  B R E A K

16.30  Keynote Lecture by Dr Stefano Evangelista (Fellow and Tutor in English, Trinity College, University of Oxford), Title TBC

17.30 Closing remarks

Please note that the programme might be subject to minor changes due to unforeseeable circumstances.

Call for Session Proposals | 2013 ASECS in Cleveland

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 18, 2012

2013 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference
Cleveland, Ohio, 2-7 April 2013

Session proposals due by 1 May 2012

The 2013 ASECS conference takes place in Cleveland, Ohio at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Committee organizers are now accepting proposals for sessions. The form (as a PDF file) is available for download here.

Portrait of Chevalier D’Éon — Diplomat, Spy, and Transvestite

Posted in Art Market by Editor on April 17, 2012

News from Philip Mould of a painting that’s reportedly attracted the attention of the National Portrait Gallery in London. The portrait is on display in London this week (16-20 April 2012). From Artdaily.com:

Thomas Stewart, "Portrait of Charles Genevieve Louis Auguste André Timothée D’Éon de Beaumont, called the Chevalier D’Éon," 1792

The earliest surviving formal portrait of a male transvestite has been discovered by Philip Mould in a New York saleroom. On first glance the historic portrait featuring a rather masculine looking woman piqued the renowned art sleuth’s interest. A gentle clean and further painstaking research uncovered a rich and colourful history. “The eighteenth-century portrait appeared to be of a somewhat manly middle-aged lady. Research before the sale suggested otherwise, and upon cleaning, the face revealed a distinctive 5 0’clock shadow. This fuelled further investigation that resulted in the astonishing discovery that the portrait is of the legendary spy, diplomat and transvestite, Chevalier D’Éon that has been lost since 1926. The painting is now “under serious consideration” by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Should it be purchased will represent the gallery’s first oil painting of a cross-dresser in guise. “The story of D’Éon is one of the more remarkable biographies of the eighteenth century. The recent rediscovery of this lost and only oil portrait should dramatically reawaken his historical significance,” adds Philip Mould.

The picture will be on display at Philip Mould & Company, 29 Dover St from Monday 16th – Friday 20th April 2012 (excluding Wednesday morning). Although some line engravings and satirical prints survive, until the re-discovery of this lost portrait last year no illuminating portrait of D’Éon was known to survive. The painting emerged, fittingly for the sitter, as Portrait of a Woman with a Feather in Her Hat, as attributed to Gilbert Stuart, as part of a general antique paintings auction a Thos. Cornell Galleries Ltd, New York, in November last year. It was part of the collection of Ruth Stone, daughter of Samuel Klein of Klein’s Department Stores, USA. Research undertaken by Philip Mould Ltd has since proved that the picture is by the theatrical artist called Thomas Stewart who specialised in painting actors and theatrical scenes in London in the 1790s – the same time as D’Éon was performing on stage as a fencer in drag.

D’Éon is known as the ‘Patron Saint of Transvestites’ and the word “eonism” meaning cross dressing and cross-sexuality derives from him. D’Éon was the son of middle class, provincial French parents and having excelled at school in 1756 the brilliant graduate was recruited by the top-secret network of spies called Le Secret du Roi, which worked personally for King Louis XV. The monarch sent D’Éon on a secret mission to Russia in order to meet Empress Elizabeth and intrigue with the pro-French faction against the Habsburgs. Later tales claim that D’Éon disguised herself as a lady to do so, and even became a maid of honour to the Empress. In 1763, having spent a heroic spell in the French dragoon guards where he distinguished himself as a master fencer, D’Éon was sent by Louis to London with the title Special Ambassador from France. His true mission was to spy for the king and collect information for a potential invasion – an initiative of which Louis’s ministers were unaware. Despite remaining private documents that prove he was buying female corsets, at this stage D’Éon kept his transvestite proclivities clandestine. After a year, D’Éon was replaced as ambassador by the aristocratic Count of Guerchy. Furious and humiliated by being reduced to his former rank as secretary, D’Éon decided to disobey orders to return to France, claiming that the new ambassador had tried to murder him. In an effort to save his position in London, D’Éon published most of the secret diplomatic correspondence. This breach of diplomatic protocol was unprecedented and scandalous, but D’Éon was careful to keep back from publication the King’s secret invasion documents and those relative to the Secret du Roi as ‘insurance’. With the invasion documents in hand, D’Éon held the king in check, and continued to work as a spy. But he could not return to France. At this point D’Éon began to dress publicly as a woman, the motives for which are not entirely clear, and a betting pool was started on the London Stock Exchange about his true sex. Observers described him as elaborately attired as a woman, but with masculine traits such as stubble and a tendency to hitch his skirts up when climbing stairs – all characteristics which have become more comprehensible since the emergence of the lost portrait. He was noted for his great intelligence and intellect but also his boorish lack of female charms. . .

The full article is available here»

Things: Material Culture at Cambridge, Easter Term 2012

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 17, 2012

Programming from CRASSH at the University of Cambridge:

Things: Material Cultures of the Long Eighteen Century
Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge, ongoing series

Please note the change to the time and location of the seminar:
We meet alternate Tuesdays 12.30-2.30pm in the CRASSH Seminar Room at 7 West Road on the Sidgwick Site. A light lunch will be provided.

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The eighteenth century was the century of ‘stuff.’ Public production, collection, display and consumption of objects grew in influence, popularity, and scale. The form, function, and use of objects, ranging from scientific and musical instruments to weaponry and furnishings were influenced by distinct features of the time. Eighteenth-century knowledge was not divided into strict disciplines, in fact practice across what we now see as academic boundaries was essential to material creation. This seminar series will use an approach based on objects to encourage us to consider the unity of ideas of the long-eighteenth century, to emphasise the lived human experience of technology and art, and the global dimension of material culture. We will re-discover the interdisciplinary thinking through which eighteenth-century material culture was conceived, gaining new perspectives on the period through its artefacts.

Each seminar features two talks considering the same type of object from
different perspectives.

1 May 2012 – Food
Dr Melissa Calaresu and Dr Emma Spary (University of Cambridge)

15 May 2012 – Decorative Textiles
Dr Mary Brooks (York Museums Trust) and Dr Tara Hamling (University of Birmingham)

29 May 2012 – The Ship
Dr James Davey, Dr John McAleer and Dr Quintin Colville (National Maritime Museum)

12 Jun 2012 – The Body
Dr Faramerz Dabhoiwala (University of Oxford) and Dr Simon Chaplin (Wellcome Library), Guest Respondent: Jane Munro (Fitzwilliam Museum)

We will be rounding off the year with a one-day colloquium on Friday, 28 September 2012, We Need to Talk about ‘Things’: Concluding Colloquium. Details can be found at http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/1980/

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You’re invited to visit the external blog and welcome to subscribe to the group mailing list at https://lists.cam.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/crassh-things

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