Lectures | ‘Orientalism’ after 40, with Elisabeth Fraser and Mary Roberts

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 23, 2019

During the two-year, £50-million renovation of Somerset House, classes and lectures at The Courtauld are held at Vernon Square, near King’s Cross.

Orientalism after 40, with Elisabeth Fraser and Mary Roberts
The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, London, 25 April 2019

This term’s Visiting Expert series is a joint collaboration with Professor Mary Roberts (University of Sydney) and Professor Elisabeth Fraser (University of South Florida). This series of events was curated by The Courtauld Institute of Art’s Dr Sussan Babaie. Whilst our Visiting Experts are here, we will reflect upon the 40th anniversary of the publication of Edward Said’s seminal text Orientalism on Thursday, 25 April, 6:00–7:00pm. The event consists of two separate lectures.

Elisabeth Fraser, The Ottoman Costume Album as Collaborative Object and Agent of Contact

The Ottoman costume album served as a vital agent of contact in the early modern world. Conceived and collected through the movement of people, bound, rebound, sold, gifted, copied and reworked, Ottoman costume albums—produced from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries—are mobile objects constituted by a flexibility that lends itself to reinvention and reconfiguration. The costume album transcended geographic points of origin, connecting artisans of the book and diverse audiences across time and space in unforeseeable ways. Composed of individual sheets, each bearing a single costumed figure representing variously the Ottoman court, military, professions, and civil society, a costume album was custom made and inflected according to the interests of the owner; the collector and professionals of the book trade determined sequence, thematic emphasis, presentation, and numbers of folios to include. The Ottoman costume album is defined by an essential mutability.

This talk will explore these ideas in relation to one particular eighteenth-century album, Costumes turcs, now in the British Museum, and its connection to a network of other albums and books. Containing 225 costume images painted in Istanbul in the 1780s, this magnificent album was transported to Berlin and then London; at each stop on its journey the album was added to, modified, and redefined. Following the trail of this object reveals the essentially collaborative nature of costume albums.

Elisabeth Fraser is Professor of Art History at the University of South Florida. A specialist of European art and interactions between European and Islamicate cultures, she is the author of Mediterranean Encounters: Artists between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1774–1839 and Delacroix, Art and Patrimony in Post-Revolutionary France. She has recently published an essay, “The Color of the Orient: On Ottoman Costume Albums, European Print Culture, and Cross-Cultural Exchange,” in Visual Typologies from the Early Modern to the Contemporary (T. Zanardi and L. Klich, eds., 2018), and edited a volume of essays The Mobility of People and Things in the Early Modern Mediterranean, which will be published by Routledge in 2019. A recipient of an International Scholarship from the Staatliche Museen in Berlin in 2018, she is writing a book on Ottoman costume albums and their relationship to European print culture, Dressing the Ottoman Empire: Early Modern Costume Albums and Transculturation.

Mary Roberts, Edward Said and the Epistolary Interior

“to [some] theorists of civilization identity is a stable and undisturbed thing, like a room full of furniture at the back of your house. This is extremely far from the truth, not just in the Islamic world but throughout the entire surface of the globe.” –Edward Said, 1996

In histories of modernism the orientalist interior has been consigned like furniture at the back of the house. I resist this formulation by addressing the life of Islamic art as it moved into and out of these spaces. Commencing with Duranton’s painting of Albert Goupil’s Oriental Salon in Paris before the 1888 sale that catalysed movement of his Islamic art into collections across Europe, including the Louvre’s inaugural acquisitions. It is a foundational interior for the history of Islamic art. Goupil’s acquisition channels reveals this interior as the tip of an iceberg that exists in a set of linked relations with Ottoman and Orientalist interiors in Istanbul and Kraków with Polish artist Stanisław Chlebowski as the linchpin. The iceberg, with its north/south axis proves a limited geographic metaphor. It is tempting to construe these Islamic art supply lines through a network model, but that too fails to capture the way these interiors were imagined or lived. In letters to his family in Kraków, written inside the Ottoman Sultan’s Beaux-Arts Palace, Chlebowski articulated one interior within others. I propose that Chlebowski’s epistolary Ottoman and Orientalist interiors exist according to a logic of enfolding. It’s a model for construing the role of historic Islamic art in multiple modernities.

Mary Roberts is John Schaeffer Professor of Art History at the University of Sydney. She specialises in late Ottoman visual culture, British art, and the art of empire and has published extensively on the history of artistic exchanges between the Ottoman Empire and Europe. Her book Istanbul Exchanges: Ottomans, Orientalists and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture, published by the University of California Press in 2015, was awarded the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand’s Book Prize in 2016 and translated into Turkish the same year. She is also the author of Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature (Duke, 2007) and four co-edited books. Mary has been a Getty Scholar, CASVA senior fellow, YCBA fellow, and Clark-Oakley fellow and is currently completing her next book Inside Networks: Orientalist Interiors and Islamic Art in Transit.

Concert and Symposium | Black Music in Eighteenth-Century London

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 23, 2019

This Thursday at YCBA:

Black Music in Eighteenth-Century London
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 25 April 2019

Tunde Jegede (Photo by Yoshitaka Kono).

This concert will feature Tunde Jegede, a renowned cellist and master kora player who specializes in the West African classical music tradition; Robin Jeffrey, a versatile performer on instruments of the lute and guitar families; Corey Shotwell, a celebrated vocalist; and Nathaniel Mander, an exciting young harpsichordist. The performances are free and open to all.

In October 2017, the Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC), Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), and Handel & Hendrix in London (HHL) co-hosted a scholarly workshop entitled Black Music: Its Circulation and Impact in Eighteenth-Century London. The program was produced in association with Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, an exhibition that had been co-organized by the Center and HRP, and which then was on display at Kensington Palace. Moderated by Michael Veal (Professor of African Music, African American Studies, and American Studies at Yale) and attended by scholars from around the world, the workshop opened with a series of concerts and performances held throughout HHL, which set the stage for a rich and productive exchange the following day at the PMC. Thanks to the generosity of Laura and James Duncan, Yale BA 1975, Friends of the Center who underwrote the original workshop, this program will be reconstituted for a New Haven audience on Thursday, April 25, at 5:30pm. The performance will be followed on Friday, April 26, by a daylong symposium Black Music: Its Circulation and Impact in Eighteenth-Century London, also at the Center.

This Friday at YCBA:

Black Music: Its Circulation and Impact in Eighteenth-Century London
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 26 April 2019

This daylong symposium, which follows the musical performance Black Music in Eighteenth-Century London at the Center on Thursday, April 25, will explore the complex, long-standing relationship between African and Western musical traditions, especially within London metropolitan society, and to recognize the brilliance of black composers and performers who, against great odds, contributed to the musical culture of the age. The program is hosted by the Yale Center for British Art and co-organized with Historic Royal Palaces, Handel & Hendrix in London, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, with generous support from Laura and James Duncan, Yale BA 1975. Admission is free, though space is limited.

New Book | Joseph Rose: Working Drawings. Facsimile of a Sketchbook

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on April 23, 2019


Joseph Rose: Working Drawings. Facsimile of a Sketchbook at Harewood House, with an introduction by Ashleigh Murray (Frome, Somerset: Kate Holland, 2019). Limited edition of 50, of which 48 are ‘ordinary’ (£150) and 2 ‘extraordinary’ (£3000).

The two extraordinary copies are bound in full alum tawed calfskin with hand dyed calfskin inlays and blind and gold tooling. A plasterwork rosette by Hayles and Howe, gilded by Glenny Thomas, is inset into the front board. Hand coloured edges. Hand sewn silk endbands. Printed endpapers from an original watercolour.

This book came about following an invitation to Kate Holland to exhibit as one of the 26 makers selected to feature in the inaugural celebration of contemporary craft at Harewood House, Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters, on view from 23 March until 1 September 2019. A preliminary visit to the house culminated in a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives. In one drawer was a small, nondescript, slightly battered book that revealed a series of working drawings by both Joseph Rose Senior (ca. 1723–1780) and Joseph Rose Junior (1745–1799).

The Roses were the pre-eminent master plasterers of their day and worked closely with Robert Adam (1728–1792) on the ceilings at Harewood in the 1760s as well as on many other big houses, several of which feature in this book. The sketchbook gives a fascinating glimpse into the minds of two incredible craftsmen working on highly significant commissions with some of the foremost architects and interior designers of their time. It is the perfect record of the link between commissioner, designer, and craftsman. Particularly because craftsmen too often fade into the background, Holland wanted to celebrate them especially for this celebration of craft.

As well as the facsimile sketchbook, there is also included an introduction by Ashleigh Murray, currently the academic expert on Joseph Rose in the UK. There are also contemporary images from the workshop floor of Hayles and Howe in Bristol, who still use the same techniques as Joseph Rose today—as well as a full list of plates, transcribed from the manuscript titles, as written by Joseph Rose.

This book is intended to serve not only as an important reference tool for those researching ornamental plasterwork or the work of Robert Adam but also to appeal to a wider audience with an interest in Georgian architecture or the history of interior design and craftsmanship.

For those visiting Harewood House, copies are available at the gift shop. Mail order copies can be arranged by contacting Kate Holland directly, katehollandbookbinder@gmail.com.

More information on the exhibition Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters is available here.

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