Symposium | In Circulation: John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on February 12, 2014

In addition to the topic, the format of this symposium looks interesting on several counts: the webinar format, the time (Friday afternoon and evening with a light supper and drinks between presentations), and the trans-Atlantic component (which presumably explains the timing). In the digital age, it seems fair to ask what a symposium should look like. I’m glad to see experiments like this one. -CH

From The Paul Mellon Centre:

In Circulation: John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West in England, France, and America
The Paul Mellon Centre, London, 28 March 2014

This symposium and webinar follows on from the international loan exhibition American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World, held at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston between 5 October 2013 and 20 January 2014.

It explores aspects of the work and careers of the American-born artists Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, focussing in particular on the ways in which they engaged with the exhibition and print cultures of their day, particularly in Britain, but also in France and America. The paintings of both artists moved between and across very different spaces of display, and were increasingly geared to satisfying the demands of a growing exhibition-going public. Just as importantly, Copley and West’s paintings were regularly translated into graphic form. Engravings as well as exhibitions promoted their work to audiences in Britain, France and America, and helped give both artists an international reputation.

The symposium and webinar will investigate the ways in which these forms of display and dissemination shaped both artists’ practice and reputations across transnational visual cultures. This event will be filmed and live-streamed to a group of scholars, students and curators at the MFA in Houston, who will be invited to ask questions of the speakers. It will also be live-streamed online, enabling an international audience to watch and respond to proceedings as they take place in London and submit questions to the speakers via an interactive website. A full symposium programme, with details of papers and ticketing, is available at The Paul Mellon Centre’s website.


15.15  Mark Hallett (The Paul Mellon Centre), Introduction

15.30  Emily Neff and Kaylin Weber (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), Introduce video of American Adversaries

16.00  Tea

16.15  Jane Kamensky (Brandeis University), Copley’s Revolutions

17.00  Stephane Roy (Carleton University), West’s General Wolfe in Eighteenth-Century France

17.45  Drinks and Light Supper

18.45  Rosie Dias (University of Warwick), Copley, West, and John Boydell: New Mechanisms of Patronage in
Late Eighteenth-Century London

19.30  Kaylin Weber (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), Displaying History: West’s Gallery and the Great Room

20.15  Drinks

20.30  Sarah Monks (University of East Anglia), Out of Time, Out of Place: Copley’s Last Pictures

21.15  Wendy Bellion (University of Delaware), West and Shakespeare in Early Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia

22.00  Mark Hallett and Emily Neff, Concluding Remarks

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