Call for Papers | Printing Colour, 1700–1830

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 18, 2017

Jacob Christoph Le Blon, after Hyacinthe Rigaud, Cardinal André-Hercule de Fleury, 1738, mezzotint with colour separatons.

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From the Institute of English Studies at the University of London:

Printing Colour, 1700–1830: Discoveries, Rediscoveries, and Innovations
Senate House, London, 10–12 April 2018

Proposals due by 1 October 2017

Eighteenth-century book and print cultures are considered to be black and white (with a little red). Colour-printed material, like William Blake’s visionary books and French decorative art, is considered rare and exceptional. However, recent discoveries in archives, libraries and museums are revealing that bright inks were not extraordinary. Artistic and commercial possibilities were transformed between rapid technical advances around 1700 (when Johannes Teyler and Jacob Christoff Le Blon invented new colour printing techniques) and 1830 (when the Industrial Revolution mechanised printing and chromolithography was patented). These innovations added commercial value and didactic meaning to material including advertising, books, brocade paper, cartography, decorative art, fashion, fine art, illustrations, medicine, trade cards, scientific imagery, texts, textiles and wallpaper.

The saturation of some markets with colour may have contributed to the conclusion that only black-and-white was suitable for fine books and artistic prints. As a result, this printed colour has been traditionally recorded only for well-known ‘rarities’. The rest remains largely invisible to scholarship. Thus, some producers are known as elite ‘artists’ in one field but prolific ‘mere illustrators’ in another, and antecedents of celebrated ‘experiments’ and ‘inventions’ are rarely acknowledged. When these artworks, books, domestic objects and ephemera are considered together, alongside the materials and techniques that enabled their production, the implications overturn assumptions from the historical humanities to conservation science. A new, interdisciplinary approach is now required.

Following from Printing Colour 1400–1700, this conference will be the first interdisciplinary assessment of Western color printmaking in the long eighteenth century, 1700–1830. It is intended to lead to the publication of the first handbook colour printmaking in the late hand-press period, creating a new, interdisciplinary paradigm for the history of printed material.

Abstracts for papers or posters are encouraged from historians of all kinds of printed materials (including historians of art, books, botany, design, fashion, meteorology, music and science), conservators, curators, rare book librarians, practising printers and printmakers, and historians of collecting. Transport and accommodation offered to speakers. Please submit abstracts for papers (20 minutes) and posters (A1 portrait/vertical) by 1 October 2017.

Keynote: Margaret Graselli (National Gallery of Art, D.C.)
Convenors: Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies) and Ad Stijnman (Leiden University)




New Book | The Accomplished Lady

Posted in books by Editor on June 18, 2017

Available from ArtBooks.com:

Noël Riley, The Accomplished Lady: A History of Genteel Pursuits, c. 1660–1860 (Wetherby: Oblong Creative, 2017), 460 pages, ISBN: 978 09575 99291, $53.

This richly illustrated book is a study of the skills and pastimes of upper-class women and the works they produced during a 200-year period. Their activities included watercolours, printmaking and embroidery, shellwork, drawn from diaries and journals, rolled and cut paperwork, sand painting, wax flower modelling, painting on fabrics and china, featherwork, japanning, silhouettes, photography, and many others, some familiar and others little known. The context for these pursuits sets the scene: the general position of women in society and the restrictions on their lives, their virtues and values, marriage, domestic life, and education. This background is amplified with chapters on other aspects of women’s experience, such as sport, reading, music, dancing, and card-playing. While some of the activities discussed appear trivial, others show evidence of great seriousness of purpose and extraordinary talent. Pursuits of choice rather than for payment could reach levels of excellence as high as any commercially driven occupations, especially for those with plenty of time to follow their interests. Most of these women—because of their social status—were precluded from working for money, but they had time to study and hone their skills, and their creative works were supremely important to them. In some cases—particularly among watercolourists—they enjoyed the very best of teachers. The word ‘amateur’ in the context of this book is not a term of disparagement but rather a celebration of the fine work produced by those who followed their inclinations with loving care and diligent practice without the pressures of the market place. The material for this book has been drawn from diaries and journals, biographies and social histories, letters, documents, periodicals, contemporary pastime manuals, domestic guides, and conduct books. Above all, it has come from decades of close study—and sometimes collection—of the objects made by gentlewomen over more than two centuries. The illustrations come from a similarly wide range of sources: private collections, museums, galleries, country houses, and dealers in art and antiques.

Noël Riley is a writer and lecturer on the decorative arts and a consultant at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.

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Book Launch
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 19 June 2017

Join us on Monday, 19 June, 6–8pm to celebrate the launch of Noel Riley’s latest book The Accomplished Lady: A History of Genteel Pursuits, 1660–1860.

Exhibition | Elegance from the East: New Insights from Old Porcelain

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 18, 2017

Now on view at the IMA:

Elegance from the East: New Insights from Old Porcelain
Indianapolis Museum of Art, 26 May — 22 October 2017

Curated by Shirley M. Mueller

Elegance from the East: New Insights from Old Porcelain explores the popularity and variety of Chinese porcelain objects made for export to Western consumers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Chinese artists customized their traditional forms and decoration for European and American commercial tastes. This exhibition reveals the effects of these efforts to translate consumer demand from half a world away.

Like Chemistry of Color and What Lies Beneath, also on view, this exhibition relates science to art. Guest curator Shirley M. Mueller, MD, connects the past to the present and illustrates, through neuropsychological insights, the similarity of human feeling and motivation across time.

The exquisitely detailed porcelains in this exhibition—mostly made for use in the home—will be displayed inside the historic Lilly House.



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