Exhibition | No Cross, No Crown: Prints by James Barry

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 20, 2016


James Barry, A Grecian Harvest Home, from the series The Progress of Human Culture, 1792, etching and engraving in black ink, 17 ½ x 20 15/16 inches (Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame: The William and Nancy Pressly Collection acquired with funds made available by the F. T. Stent Family, 2015.001.014).

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Press release (27 October 2015) from the Snite:

No Cross, No Crown: Prints by James Barry
Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, 24 January — 17 April 2016

The Snite Museum of Art will present an exhibition of 28 monumental prints by James Barry, the eighteenth-century Irish provocateur whose work challenged the British art establishment and questioned the government’s policies. The exhibition No Cross, No Crown: Prints by James Barry will be on view from January 24 through April 17, 2016.

James Barry (1741–1806) was born in Cork, made his artistic debut in Dublin, and was awarded membership in the Royal Academy in London in 1773, although he was later expelled for his belligerence and acrimony. The series of six murals he painted to decorate the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts in Adelphi from 1777 through 1783 is his claim to fame. Included in the exhibition is a complete set of the prints he made after these grand paintings, once referred to as Britain’s answer to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Barry’s prints are significant in the history of printmaking and eighteenth-century trans-Atlantic studies for their scale, their technical innovations, and the role they played in the artist’s creative process. These are not mere reproductive prints, but rather charts illustrating Barry’s evolving positions on hot political and artistic issues of the day. Peppering his religious and historical works with portraits of his contemporaries, such as the philosopher Edmund Burke and the politician William Pitt, the ensemble reads like a Who’s Who of British society in the late 1700s.

The Snite Museum acquired the prints in 2015 from Nancy and William Pressly, the latter being the foremost scholar on James Barry and professor emeritus of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art at the University of Maryland. Pressly said, “Over the years, as I looked and relooked at these prints, I was amazed at both the subtlety and richness of Barry’ process, but he never pursued virtuosity for its own sake: all is in the service of his passion to transform his audience, a transformation, however, that places great demands on his viewer.”

Pressly’s book James Barry’s Murals at the Royal Society of Arts: Envisioning a New Public Art (Cork 2015) received the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History in 2015.

The acquisition of eighteen of the prints was made possible by a generous gift from the F. T. Stent Family of Atlanta with ten additional prints donated by the Presslys. No Cross, No Crown: Prints by James Barry is made possible by the Snite Museum General Endowment.

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• Public reception Friday, February 12, 2016, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
• Gallery Talk at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 17, by Patrick Griffin, Madden-Hennebry Professor of History.
• Gallery Talk at 12:30 p.m., Friday, April 1, by William Pressly, Professor Emeritus of Art History, University of Maryland.
• Lecture, 4:00–5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, “An Irishman’s Address to the English Establishment: James Barry’s Murals at the Society of Arts in London” by William Pressly, Professor Emeritus of Art History, University of Maryland.
All programs are free and open to the public.


Call for Papers | Gendering Museum Histories

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 20, 2016

From H-ArtHist:

Gendering Museum Histories
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology Museum, Oxford, 7–8 September 2016

Proposals due by 11 March 2016; poster proposals due by 29 April 2016

Museums and Galleries History Group Biennial Conference

This conference addresses the relationship between museums, galleries and gender during the last 400 years. Museums can be understood as buildings, institutions, collections, displays, interpretations and groups of people; each of these aspects has both reflected and shaped ideas about gender and its construction and meaning. While the gendering of collections and museum displays has attracted some attention (for example Porter 1990; Machin 2008), too often other gendered aspects of museum and gallery history, such as employment practices or visitors, have been mentioned only in passing; yet it seems likely that museums have been responsible both for defining and for subverting gender roles and identities. This conference aims to draw attention to this topic and to bring ideas and practices relating to gender from different periods of museum history into productive dialogue.

We are delighted that the keynote speaker will be Merete Ipsen, Director of the Women’s Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, who will be speaking about gender in museums between the 1970s and the present.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers which address the points below, or which address other aspects of gender and museum history (papers dealing with contemporary museums should also have a historical comparative aspect). We are keen to receive proposals which engage with the full spectrum of gender presentation.

Topics may include but are not restricted to:
• Gender, display and curatorial practice
• Interpreting and narrating gender in museums
• Museum collecting/collections and gender
• Gendered performances: museum and gallery visitors
• Gender and invisible workers: museum photographers, copyists, clerks, warders, assistants etc.
• Gender and volunteering
• The development of museum governance: trustees, committees, &c
• Gender, philanthropy and patronage/matronage
• Museums and the enforcing/contestation of gender roles
• Gendered space and gendered buildings
• Gender, sexuality and museums
• Gendered objects of study in museums: personality museums, &c

Please submit a 300-word proposal, along with a 1-page CV, to gendermuseumhistory@gmail.com, by 11 March 2016. We will consider proposals for 3-paper panels; please submit individual paper proposals along with a rationale for the panel as a whole and indicate if you will supply a chair for the panel or not.

We also welcome proposals for posters as there are likely to be a relatively small number of paper slots. Posters should address the themes given above. Proposals for posters should be received by 29 April 2016 (same email address) and should include title, author(s) and brief description (200–300 words) of the poster content. The final poster format will be as follows:
• Maximum size A2
• Orientation may be landscape or portrait
• The title of the poster and the names and contact details of all authors should appear at the top

Please note, all participants whether speakers or poster presenters will have to cover their own costs including conference registration (though it is anticipated this will be less than £10 for MGHG members).

New Book | An Anthology of Decorated Papers: A Sourcebook

Posted in books by Editor on January 20, 2016

From Thames & Hudson:

P. J. M. Marks, An Anthology of Decorated Papers: A Sourcebook for Designers (London: Thames & Hudson, 2016), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0500518120, $60 / £38.

9780500518120_300Rich in ornamentation, decorated papers have been in use for centuries—as wrappers and endpapers for books, as the backing for playing cards, and even as linings for chests and cases. Yet despite the many contexts in which they can be found, they often go unnoticed. This remarkable new book not only showcases several hundred of the best and most exquisite examples of decorated paper but also provides a fascinating introduction to its history, traditions, and techniques. Drawing on the Olga Hirsch collection at the British Library, one of the largest and most diverse collections of decorated papers in the world, this beautifully produced anthology will both delight and inspire designers, bibliophiles, and anyone with a love of pattern and decoration.

P. J. M. Marks is curator of bookbindings at the British Library. Her previous books include The British Library Guide to Bookbinding, Treasures in Focus: Decorated Papers, and Beautiful Bookbindings. Her most recent publication is a chapter on selected European decorated bookbindings in The Arcadian Library: Bindings and Provenance.

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From the BL:

The Olga Hirsch collection of decorated papers, bequeathed in 1968, comprises over 3,500 sheets of paper and around 130 books in paper wrappers or with decorated end-leaves. There are hand-made papers from the 16th century onwards, and also later, machine-made papers. Various techniques of decorating paper are represented: there are brush-coated, sprinkled, sprayed, flock, marbled, block-printed, embossed, and metallic-varnish papers, as well as book jackets and 20th-century artists’ papers.

Mirjam Foot, “The Olga Hirsch Collection of Decorated Papers,” British Library Journal 7 (Spring 1981): 12–38, available as a PDF file here.