Exhibition | In Search of Classical Greece: Travel Drawings

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 1, 2013

Press release from The British Museum:

In Search of Classical Greece: Travel Drawings of Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi, 1805–1806
The British Museum, London, 7 February – 28 April 2013

Curated by John Camp with Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan

Edward Dodwell, Simone Pomardi, Panorama from the top of the Mousaion Hill, Athens. Watercolour, 1805.

Edward Dodwell, Simone Pomardi, Panorama from the top of the Mousaion Hill, Athens, 1805.

This exhibition will look at Greece through the eyes of the classical scholar Edward Dodwell (about 1777–1832) and his Italian artist, Simone Pomardi (1757–1830). During their travels in 1805–06, they recorded the country and its people in a series of fascinating and spectacular drawings and watercolours. Kindly lent by the Packard Humanities Institute, these works have never been seen in public before. They represent a unique record of an important chapter in the rediscovery of ancient Greece on the eve of the creation of the modern Greek state.

Their landscapes, often featuring the ruins of classical sites, are peopled with modern Greeks and Turks at a time when Greece was under Ottoman rule. Especially fascinating and impressive are five rare surviving panoramas, measuring up to four metres in length, and providing 360 degree views of Corfu harbour, the Acropolis and of Athens and its surrounding countryside.

Dodwell and Pomardi’s travels were part of a great surge of interest in Greece at a time when Napoleon’s military occupation of Rome in 1796 had brought the age of the European Grand Tour to a sudden end. This exhibition will set Dodwell and Pomardi in the tradition of travel in Greece in the age of Enlightenment, examining the motivation and circumstance of such travel as well as its cultural consequences. It will be accompanied by a related display of drawings from the British Museum’s permanent collection exploring the theme of travel in Greece in the Ottoman era and just after the War of Independence.

Throughout the eighteenth century, generations of young men from Europe’s leading families had gone to Italy to complete an education that had comprised, in large part, the learning of Latin and Greek. Rome, Florence and Venice were the cities most visited and for the intrepid traveller there was also Naples. This was the principal city of southern Italy and the stopping-off point for viewing the newly discovered towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried in the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79. When the occupation of Italy prevented Grand Tourists from visiting Italy, Dodwell and Pomardi, like many travellers, chose to go beyond the established Mediterranean regions of the Grand Tour. The understanding these travellers brought to the archaeological remains of ancient Greece encouraged the taste among British Hellenists for Greek architecture. This gave new vigour to the Greek Revival, already begun in the middle of the 18th century by the expeditions of the Society of Dilettanti. Hellenism, the love of ancient Greece, was to promote a new movement of Philhellenism, a sympathy for modern Greek people and a desire to realise the dream, as Byron put it, ‘that Greece might still be free’.

The beauty of its landscape and romance of its classical ruins were the primary reasons for travel to Greece under Ottoman rule. By the first decade of the nineteenth century a sympathy for the Greek-speaking peoples inspired European travellers to call for independence from Ottoman rule. In the years following the Greek War of Independence, many of the monuments recorded by Dodwell and his companions would change considerably as the new nation swept away the accretions of the late Roman, Christian and Ottoman eras and attempted to restore the purity of the classical remains. With hindsight these removals are controversial and they feed into a larger on-going debate around the creation of and the competing identities of modern Greece.

Dodwell was a talented amateur who signed many of the watercolours and drawings, even though some of them he worked on with Pomardi; others were Pomardi’s own work. Many of them were engraved in Dodwell’s own published accounts of his travels in 1819 A Classical and Topographical Tour Through Greece, During the Years 1801, 1805, and 1806. A few drawings exist in other collections, but the majority, over 800 in total, remained in the possession of Dodwell’s Irish descendants until they were purchased in 2002 by David Packard for the Packard Humanities Institute in Los Altos, California. He was advised by the distinguished American archaeologist John Camp, who has carefully catalogued the collection and made a representative selection of 67 works for the display here. He is the guest curator of this exhibition and the principal author of the accompanying publication which contains additional essays by the British Museum curators Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan, and by Fani-Maria Tsigakou, Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Benaki Museum, Athens.

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dodwell jkt large

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John McKesson Camp, with contributions by Ian Jenkins, Fani-Maria Tsigakou, and Kim Sloan, In Search of Greece: Catalogue of an Exhibit of Drawings at the British Museum by Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi from the Collection of the Packard Humanities Institute (Los Altos, CA: The Packard Humanities Institute, 2013), £25.


• Introduction: The Road to Erudite Athens – Ian Jenkins
• Introduction to the Collection – John Camp
• Greece at the Eve of the Nineteenth Century: Poised between Myth and Reality – Fani-Maria Tsigakou
• Seen through a Glass Darkly: Dodwell and Pomardi’s Drawings and Watercolours of Greece – Kim Sloan

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John Camp — In Search of Classical Greece
The British Museum, London, 8 February 2013

Guest curator of the forthcoming Room 90 exhibition In Search of Classical Greece and Director of Athenian Agora Excavations, Professor John Camp, explores the reality of the Classical sites pre-independence, when well-to-do European travellers ‘re-discovered’ ancient Greece.

Friday 8 February, 18.30, BP Lecture Theatre (book early, as it’s expected to sell out)
Tickets £5 (Members/Concessions £3), book online here»

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Note (added 4 February 2013) — Additional information on programming for the exhibition is available (as a PDF) here»

Call for Papers | Midwest Conference on British Studies

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 1, 2013

From the MWCBS:

The Midwest Conference on British Studies, 60th Annual Meeting
DePaul University, Chicago, 11-13 October 2013

Proposals due by 1 April 2013

Chicago_montage-whrfseThe Midwest Conference on British Studies is proud to announce that its 60th Annual Meeting will be hosted by DePaul University in Chicago, October 11-13, 2013. The keynote speaker will be Professor Robert Bucholz of Loyola University of Chicago, and the plenary address will be given by Professor Jonathan Rose of Drew University. The MWCBS is also pleased to celebrate the career of Professor Walter L. Arnstein at this year’s meeting.

The MWCBS seeks papers from scholars in all fields of British Studies, broadly defined to include those who study England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Britain’s Empire and the Commonwealth. We welcome scholars from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including but not limited to history, literature, political science, gender studies and art history. Proposals for complete sessions are preferred, although proposals for individual papers will be considered. We welcome roundtables (of four participants plus chair) and panels (of three participants plus chair/commentator) that:

• offer cross-disciplinary perspectives on topics in British Studies
• situate the arts, letters, and sciences in a British cultural context
• examine representations of British and imperial/Commonwealth national identities
• consider Anglo-American relations, past and present
• examine new trends in British Studies
• assess a major work or body of work by a scholar
• explore new developments in digital humanities and/or research methodologies

After positive responses to recent roundtables on teaching and employment, we would particularly like to receive proposals for teaching roundtables that discuss collaborative or innovative learning techniques in the British Studies classroom and for professional development roundtables dealing with research, publication, or employment. We are also pleased to announce a session on holdings available to scholars conducting research in the Chicago area.
The MWCBS welcomes papers presented by advanced graduate students and will award the Walter L. Arnstein Prize for the best graduate student paper(s) given at the conference. A limited number of graduate travel scholarships will be available, and all graduate students are encouraged to apply. Please see the MWCBS website for further details.

Proposals must:

• Include a 200-word abstract for each paper and a brief, 1-page c.v. for each participant, including chairs and commentators.

• For full panels, include a brief 200-word preview of the panel as a whole.

Please place the panel proposal, the accompanying paper proposals and vitas in one file and send it as a single attachment. Also identify within the email the contact person for the panel. All proposals should be submitted electronically by April 1, 2013, to the Program Committee Chair, Jennifer McNabb at JL-Mcnabb@wiu.edu.

Program Committee: Martin Greig, Ryerson University; Phil Harling, University of Kentucky; Robin Hermann, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Isaac Land, Indiana State University; Jennifer McNabb, Chair, Western Illinois University; and Cathryn Spence, University of Guelph.

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