Exhibition | The Remaking of Scotland

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 18, 2018

Press release (12 June 2018) from the National Galleries of Scotland:

The Remaking of Scotland: Nation, Migration, Globalisation 1760–1860
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 16 June 2018 — 27 June 2021

A dynamic new exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (SNPG) explores how Scotland’s place in the world was dramatically transformed after the mid-eighteenth century, as the country emerged as a leader of European cultural life and a major force in Britain’s industrial and imperial expansion. The Remaking of Scotland: Nation, Migration, Globalisation 1760–1860 traces this remarkable transformation through the many extraordinary personalities who contributed to this turning point in Scottish history, bringing together a range of fascinating paintings, sculptures, and drawings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s outstanding collection.

George Willison, Mohamed Ali Khan Walejah, Nawab of the Carnatic, 1777, oil on canvas, 236 × 146 cm (National Galleries of Scotland, Bequeathed by Douglas Willison Clark 1994, PG 2959).

As well as tracing the changes that took place within Scotland in the areas of science, technology, and literature, it will also look beyond Scotland’s borders to highlight the many Scots who ventured further afield—as soldiers, sailors, administrators, artists, missionaries, and adventurers. Their destinations ranged across the world, and the exhibition showcases work featuring Scots with close relationships to India, the Americas and Arctic, as well as the Caribbean.

Among the portraits on display is a captivating new acquisition—a portrait of the lawyer Sir Thomas Strange (1756–1841) by the fashionable London painter John Hoppner. Strange was the son of a Scottish engraver and spent his entire career abroad, first in Nova Scotia, Canada and then in India. While in Nova Scotia he used his position as Chief Justice to protect runaway slaves from their masters. In India, he helped create the fusion between British Common Law and Hindu traditions that would be the foundation of the modern Indian legal system. Hoppner’s characterful portrait gives a vivid sense of Strange’s intelligence and fair-mindedness. Strange’s portrait will be shown with a number of other paintings highlighting the relationships between Scotland and India at this time, including Scottish artist George Willison’s dramatic portrait of his Indian patron, Ali Khan Waledjah, Nawab of Arcot (1717–1795).

Other highlights of the display include Alexander Nasmyth’s portrayal of John Sakeouse (1792–1819), the first arctic Inuit to travel to Scotland. Sakeouse attained instant celebrity from the moment he arrived in Leith in 1816 as a stowaway on a whaling ship and was particularly famous for his remarkable canoeing and harpooning skills, which he demonstrated at the docks. Nasmyth painted the portrait after spotting Sakeouse on the street and went on to give him drawing lessons. Sakeouse became an indispensable member of Admiral John Ross’s arctic expedition of 1817–18, acting as a translator and artist. Fittingly, Sakeouse will be shown alongside a portrait of Ross, one of the great explorers of his time and one of the first Scots of the period to be represented in the collections of the SNPG.

John Singleton Copley, Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton, ca. 1780, oil on canvas, 226 × 149 cm (National Galleries of Scotland, PG 1516; photograph by Antonia Reeve).

In addition to documenting the material and cultural benefits that came from this period of unprecedented achievement, the display will also consider some abhorrent contemporary issues. A particularly important theme is Scotland’s extensive involvement in the plantation economy of the Caribbean and its dependence on slave labour. Many Scots went to the Caribbean in the hope of making their fortunes, becoming plantation and slave owners on a large scale. Meanwhile, Scottish merchants in the great ports of Glasgow and Leith maintained a vast West Indies trade, importing slave-produced sugar, rum, and tobacco. Some became hugely wealthy, but they were only the most prosperous of the thousands of Scots who enjoyed secure incomes from plantation investments. Others, however, were inspired by religious and moral convictions to oppose the appalling human cost of the slave trade. In the face of fierce resistance, abolitionists, including the prominent Scottish liberal lawyer and politician, Lord Brougham (1778–1868)—also featured in the display—finally brought slavery to an end in 1838.

Warfare, too, was a constant feature of life in this period, as Britain’s imperial interests involved the many Scottish soldiers and sailors in the British armed forces in bloody land and sea battles. Two spectacular full-length portraits of soldiers in full Highland Dress, John Singleton Copley’s Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton (who served in the French and Indian War of 1754–63) and Sir Joshua Reynolds’s John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (made Governor of New York in 1770 and then of Virginia in 1771), show how the cost of war to life and health was made acceptable by the glory of victory.

Taken together, these diverse works give a vivid portrait of the richly complex, and sometimes controversial, legacies of this remarkable period, both at home in Scotland and across the wider world.

Call for Papers | Exotic Switzerland?

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 18, 2018

From the session Call for Papers:

Exotic Switzerland? Circulating Art, History of Collecting, and Global Material Culture, 1600–1800
Fourth Swiss Congress of Art History, Mendrisio, 6–8 June 2019

Proposals due by 30 June 2018

Switzerland is often perceived as a secluded country with neither maritime borders nor official colonies in its past; yet its inhabitants have a long history of connecting with the outside world, be it for scientific research, political, artistic, or economic reasons. The ways and means European artists discovered, transformed, and integrated foreign objects and imagery into their works has been researched abundantly for the 19th century—for instance in the context of Orientalism and Japonisme—but still needs to be explored for the early modern period in general and for Switzerland in particular.

In this panel, we would like to explore how the travelling of objects and persons shaped the art world and material culture of Switzerland throughout the Baroque and the Enlightenment. Of interest is the connection between the decorative and the fine arts and their respective market situations. How did, for instance, the makers of fine and decorative arts, like porcelain, lacquer or textiles, as well as scientific and technical objects, alter its iconography, style, and materiality stimulated through global exchange? We would like to analyze to what extent the circulation of goods, artefacts, or art works as well as crafts and technologies transformed Swiss material culture in the era of an early globalization.

Furthermore, the political dimension of exchanges across continents shall be examined. Since the 1990s a growing number of scholars have focused on the representation of other parts of the world in Europe and related theoretical questions, leading to concepts of ‘hybridization’, ‘encounter’, ‘translation’ as well as ‘contact zone’ for instances. The word ‘exotic’ has also been used extensively in this context, particularly in the field of decorative arts—often without taking into account its etymology, political connotations, and problematic undertones. Therefore, this panel is also an opportunity to discuss the politics of classification and terminology related to cross-cultural exchanges.

Section Organizers
Prof. Dr. Noémie Etienne, Universität Bern, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, noemie.etienne@ikg.unibe.ch
Dr. Chonja Lee, Universität Bern, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, chonja.lee@ikg.unibe.ch

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Fourth Swiss Congress of Art History will be held in Mendrisio from 6 to 8 June 2019. Organized jointly by the Swiss Association of Art Historians SAAH and the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture ISA (Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana), it is aimed at art historians from all fields and institutions. Scholars are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute papers within one of the nine panels. Acceptance decisions will be made by the directors of individual panels. We welcome contributions in Italian, German, French, and English in the hope to assemble multilingual panels that would reflect the institutional diversity of the field and foster the young generation of academics.

Please send an abstract (1 page, max. 3000 characters) and a short curriculum vitae including institutional affiliation and contact details to the relevant panel directors by 30 June 2018. Please also CC the office of the SAAH at vkksgeschaeftsstelle@gmail.com.

The complete Call for Papers is available as a PDF file here»

Symposium | China in Austria

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 18, 2018

From H-ArtHist:

China in Austria: Reception and Adaptation of East Asian Art in Central Europe
Department of Art History, University of Vienna, 29 June 2018

The workshop China in Austria aims to discuss the reception of and engagement with East Asian art in Central Europe. The workshop is part of a long-term project conducted by staff and students of Asian Art History at the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna. The project aims to evaluate the role of East Asian art in the material culture and society of Austria and its environs. This event is organised through the support of the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna. Free admission with registration (required). Please contact alexandra.wedekind@univie.ac.at.


9:00  Registration

9:15  Morning Session
• Lukas Nickel (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien), China in Austria
• Stacey Pierson (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), Chinoiserie or Imitation? Du Paquier, Porcelain, and Responses to China through Design in Early 18th-Century Vienna
• Johannes Wieninger (Museum für Angewandte Kunst Wien), Use, Decoration, and Inspiration: East-Asian Porcelain and the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory
• Elfriede Iby (Schloss Schönbrunn, Wien), The East Asian Cabinets of Schönbrunn Palace and the Problem of Missing Records and Sources

12:45  Lunch break

14:30  Afternoon Session
• Lucie Olivová (Masarykova Univerzita, Brno), Chinese Cabinets with Czech-Made Murals
• Greg M. Thomas (Hong Kong University), The Queen’s Décor: Chinoiserie Lacquer from Vienna to Fontainebleau
• Bernhard Fuehrer (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), Glimpses into Chinese Literature and Language Studies in Austria: August Pfizmaier (1808–1887) and Leopold Woitsch (1868–1939) in Light of the Holdings of the National Library
• Alexandra Wedekind (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien), The Gotha-Vienna-Connection of 1869: Albums Presented by the Tenno to European Rulers

18:00  Discussion led by Lothar Ledderose (Universität Heidelberg)

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