Call for Papers | Architect-Designed Objects, 1650–1950

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 23, 2016


Designed by Robert Adam, made by Thomas Chippendale, The Dundas Sofa, commissioned 1764, made 1765, gilt pine and beech, with later silk upholstery (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

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From the MFAH:

A Sense of Proportion: Architect-Designed Objects, 1650–1950
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 23–24 September 2016

Proposals due by 15 June 2016 (extended from the original 1 June due date)

Rienzi, the house museum for European decorative arts of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, hosts the biennial symposium, A Sense of Proportion: Architect-Designed Objects, 1650–1950. The symposium aims to focus on objects that are the embodiments or extensions of an architect’s ideas or aesthetic. Scholars are asked to discuss objects made for particular spaces, objects used to explore new design sources and objects intended to be part of an integrated space. In short, why do objects that have been designed by architects look the way they do?

Rienzi houses a significant collection of European paintings, sculpture, furniture, porcelain, and silver from the mid-17th through mid-19th centuries. Built in 1953 as a residence and opened to the public as a house museum in 1999, Rienzi evokes fine European houses of the 18th century with architecture reminiscent of the Italian Palladian style, surrounded by period European decorative arts and paintings. Recently, Rienzi acquired the, elegant, nine-foot-long Dundas Sofa, designed by Robert Adam (1728-1792), renowned neoclassical architect of the 18th-century and made by the celebrated English furniture maker, Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779). It is from the only suite of furniture known to be a collaboration between these two masters.

Master’s and doctoral students as well as entry level and mid-career professionals are invited to submit a 400-word abstract outlining a 20-minute presentation, along with a CV, by June 1, 2016. Selected participants will be notified by July 15, 2016 and offered a $600 stipend for travel and lodging. All presentations are given Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The keynote lecture is held Friday evening followed by a reception at Rienzi.

Possible themes of investigation may include, but are not limited to:

• Interiors
• Design
• Architecture
• Dining
• Privacy
• Leisure Activities
• Etiquette
• Gender
• Costume
• Travel
• Technology
• Economics

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Keynote Address by Adriano Aymonino (University of Buckingham)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Friday, 23 September, 5:00pm

Aymonino obtained his PhD at the University of Venice. His main academic interest is the reception of the classical tradition in the Early Modern period, with a particular focus on Britain. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art of Yale University and at the Getty Research Institute. He is working on a revised edition of Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny’s Taste and the Antique, as well as on a project tracing the impact of antiquarian publications on 17th- and 18th-century European art and architecture.

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