Conference | Art Institutions and Race in the Atlantic World

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on March 11, 2019

Alfred Joseph Woolmer, Interior of the British Institution (Old Master Exhibition, Summer 1832), 1833, Oil on canvas (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection).

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From The Courtauld:

Art Institutions and Race in the Atlantic World, 1750–1850
The Centre for American Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London 24–25 May 2019

Organized by Nika Elder and Catherine Roach

The long eighteenth century gave rise to a host of art institutions throughout the Atlantic world, including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City, and the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro. Vibrant markets for paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, and prints developed alongside and beyond these established institutions, creating networks of cross-cultural exchange that mirrored the economic ties among Great Britain, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas during this period. These cultural developments were inextricably linked with the profits and the cultural logics of colonialism and slavery. Building on important recent work on the visual culture of slavery and abolition, this conference examines the reciprocal relationship between the fine arts and racial ideologies during the apogee and decline of the transatlantic slave trade. The talks will consider sites of artistic production from throughout the Atlantic world, including Brazil, Britain, Jamaica, Massachusetts, and Mexico, and cover a wide variety of topics, including museum collections, artists’ models, the hierarchy of genres, print culture, and exhibitions of images and human beings. In sum, this two-day gathering examines how theories of race informed the production, circulation, collection, and display of art, and how those processes in turn solidified and promulgated understandings of race.

Booking information is available here»

F R I D A Y ,  2 4  M A Y  2 0 1 9

10:00  Opening remarks

10:30  Panel 1
• Ray Hernández-Durán (Associate Professor of Early Modern Ibero-American Colonial Arts and Architecture, University of New Mexico), From Novohispanic Castas to Mexican Citizens: Colonialism, Race, and the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City
• Geoffrey Quilley (Professor of Art History, University of Sussex), India in the City: The Ambiguous Place of East India House and the India Museum

11:45  Coffee

12:00  Panel 2
• Esther Chadwick (Lecturer in Early Modern Art History, The Courtauld Institute of Art), ‘This she looking black, this Molly dressed thing of a man’: Mai and Thayendanegea at the Royal Academy in 1776
• Sadiah Qureshi (Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Birmingham), ‘A Peep at the Natives’: Exhibitions, Empire, and the Natural History of Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain

1:15  Lunch

3:00  Event for the Speakers: British Museum Print Study

S A T U R D A Y ,  2 5  M A Y  2 0 1 9

10:00  Panel 3
• Nika Elder (Assistant Professor of Art History, American University), Fugitive Pigments: Painting and Race in the British Atlantic
• Cheryl Finley (Associate Professor of Art History, Cornell University), Mapping the Slave Trade

11:15  Coffee

11:30  Panel 4
• Rachel Grace Newman (A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts), Framing the Plantation: The Plantocracy, Artists, and Image Production of the Early Nineteenth Century
• Sarah Thomas (Lecturer in Museum Studies and History of Art, Birkbeck College, University of London), Slavery, Patronage and the Love of Art: Slave-ownership and the Politics of Collecting in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain

12:45  Lunch

1:45  Panel 5
• Catherine Roach (Associate Professor of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University), Hybrid Exhibits: Race, Empire, and Genre at the British Institution in 1806
• Nicholas Robbins (Doctoral Candidate, History of Art, Yale University), Constable’s Whiteness

3:00  Coffee

3:15  Panel 6
• Caitlin Beach (Assistant Professor of Art History, Fordham University), Ira Aldridge and the Performed Persona
• Daryle Williams (Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Maryland), The Brazilian Imperial Academy of Fine Arts and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

4:30  Closing Discussion

Call for Papers | Embodying Romanticism

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 11, 2019

From the conference website:

Embodying Romanticism: Romantic Studies Association of Australia 2019 Conference
University of New South Wales Canberra, 21–23 November 2019

Proposals due by 30 June 2019

Although the body has preoccupied literary scholarship for some time, there has been a renewed attention in Romantic studies to the complex ways in which literature encodes and reproduces our awareness of embodied experience. Challenging views of Romanticism as bounded by visionary and idealist expression, such work reflects a reorientation of criticism around the materiality of Romantic culture, whether configured as part of the age of sensibility or in relation to the era’s natural and social sciences. The Romantic period was, moreover, a time when control of the body emerged as a key political issue in workshops, homes, battlefields and colonies, when bodies were subject to rapidly evolving ideas of gender, class and race, while new bodies of knowledge and corporate political bodies emerged to regulate the affairs of nations and empires. This was a period when bodies were subject to ever more intensive modes of analysis and management, at the same time that bodies imposed their transgressive physicality through new understandings of environments, vitalism, trauma, slavery, disease and taste. Attentive to such developments, Romantic studies in turn dovetails with a broader materialist emphasis that explores how bodies are shaped in relation to affect, biopolitics, speculative realism, post-humanism and eco-criticism. Alain Badiou has recently proposed that our modern, liberal ideology can today only perceive two objects: bodies and language. Aligning itself at the conjuncture of these two terms, this conference invites papers that broadly consider how embodiment was evoked, challenged and understood in Romantic cultural life.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspects of Romanticism and embodiment. Proposals may be for individual papers or for panels of 3–4 papers. Papers might consider such topics as:
• Affects and embodied emotions
• Sensibility and materialist epistemologies
• Materials, objects, things
• Life, organicism, vitality
• Theatre, bodies on stage, celebrities
• Spaces, environments, atmospheres
• Architecture, buildings and the body
• Medicine, surgery
• Slavery and transportation
• Biopolitics/biopower and the body politic
• Labour, work, maternity
• Sexuality and gender
• Corpses, death, graves
• Race, empire, colonialism
• Disabled bodies, monsters, illness
• Planetary bodies, heavenly bodies, cosmology
• Texts and paratexts
• Bodies of knowledge
• Animals and humans
• Organisations and institutions

Abstracts of approximately 250 words are due by 30 June 2019. Please send abstracts to the conference convenor, Neil Ramsey, at n.ramsey@unsw.edu.au. Postgraduate bursaries are available. See the conference website for details.

Colonial Williamsburg Acquires Seven Years’ War Portrait

Posted in museums by Editor on March 11, 2019

Press release (5 March 2019) from Colonial Williamsburg:

Joseph Wright of Derby, Portrait of Captain Richard Bayly, 1760–61; oil on canvas (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation).

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has recently acquired its first portrait by the well-known, eighteenth-century British landscape and portrait painter Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797). Equally compelling is its subject matter as it is rare to be able to show the faces of those who were involved in events that led to the American Revolution and especially those who spent time in the Williamsburg area. Captain Richard Bayly (d. 1764), an Irishman who served in America with the 44th Regiment during the French and Indian War, sat for this portrait circa 1760 after his return to Britain, in the uniform he wore in America.

“The faces of early America’s military officers are largely lost to time,” said Ghislain d’Humières, Colonial Williamsburg’s executive director and senior vice president, core operations. “At Colonial Williamsburg, we are proud to be able to include their likenesses within our collections and humanize their stories for our visitors in an accessible, visual manner.”

Acquiring the Bayly portrait within months after the portrait of Major Patrick Campbell (a Scottish officer who served in the British lines at the Siege of Yorktown) came into the Colonial Williamsburg collection presented an exciting opportunity to the curators there. To be able to show the people behind the series of events that led to the Revolution and to better tell the story of the French and Indian War is compelling to further the Foundation’s mission of authentically telling America’s enduring history.

Laura Pass Barry, Juli Grainger curator of paintings, drawings, and sculpture, added, “We have an extraordinary opportunity to visually bookend the two most important events in early American military history—the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War—with this painting and the Campbell portrait and tell a very full and personal story of the acts that transpired on American soil.”

According to Erik Goldstein, senior curator of mechanical arts and numismatics, Richard Bayly was commissioned a lieutenant in the 35th Regiment in October 1745 and transferred to the 44th Regiment in April 1750. He sailed from Cork with that regiment to America in January 1755 and disembarked at Hampton, Virginia, in late February 1755 where he spent a few weeks between Hampton and Williamsburg, likely preparing his men for war. In the famed ‘Braddock’s Defeat’, fought outside of today’s Pittsburgh on July 9, 1755, Bayly’s regiment suffered severely, with seven officers killed and nine wounded. Bayly and George Washington were among the few unwounded Anglo-American officers who fought in the disastrous event. Bayly was promoted to captain of the 44th Regiment in July 1757 and served in American until late 1760. When he returned to the British Isles, he sat for this portrait by Joseph Wright of Derby. To commemorate his North American service, he chose to wear his silver-laced ‘red coat’ uniform of the 44th Regiment with its dark yellow lapels, cuffs, and waistcoat. A beautiful silver shoulder knot, called an aiguillette, hangs from his right shoulder, and his cocked hat is tucked under his left arm.

The painting was owned by the subject’s sister and inscribed as such on the reverse of the stretcher: “B. Bayly Jan.r Picture of her/Brother Richard Bayly Oct.r 1764.”

While the subject matter and his American service initially attracted the attention of the Colonial Williamsburg curators, the added incentive to acquire the painting was that it was well-documented by a noteworthy and significant painter. The artist’s account book lists a “Capt. Bailey. £6. 6s” among sitters at Derby circa 1760. Despite the misspelling of the subject’s surname, the curators at Colonial Williamsburg believe it is highly likely this is the same person given Bayly’s promotion to the rank of captain in 1757. Bayly held that rank in the 44th Foot when he returned home to Britain. He became major of the 108th regiment about a year later and served with that unit until his death in 1764.

Wright of Derby is best known for a series of works of industrial and scientific subjects. Today he is celebrated as one of the most accomplished British artists of the eighteenth century. This portrait was made relatively early in the artist’s career during a short period of time that he spent in the Midlands, several years after his training in London with the celebrated portraitist Thomas Hudson. Wright of Derby later gained a reputation for his nocturnal works experimenting with unusual lighting effects and also his portrayal of contemporary scientific subjects, canvases of which he exhibited and made available to a wider audience by employing engravers to reproduce.

The portrait was purchased through the generosity of The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collection Funds.

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