Online Symposium | Speculative Minds in Georgian Ireland

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on April 27, 2021

From the conference programme:

Speculative Minds: Commerce, Experiment, Innovation, and the Arts in Georgian Ireland
Online, Thursday, 27 May 2021

Organized by Toby Barnard and Alison FitzGerald

Maynooth University and the Irish Georgian Society are partnering to deliver a live online symposium, Speculative Minds: Commerce, Experiment, Innovation & the Arts in Georgian Ireland on Thursday, 27th May 2021. The symposium has been convened by Dr Toby Barnard, Emeritus Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford University, and Dr Alison FitzGerald, Associate Professor, Maynooth University. The symposium will appeal to both a specialist audience of academics and the general public. Bookings can be made online through the Irish Georgian Society’s website. Price: €40; full-time students  are free (to register for a student place please email emmeline.henderson@igs.ie with a photo of your student ID).

The period between 1750 and 1837 saw a striking increase in the introduction of new materials, new manufacturing processes, and new products. ‘Novelty’ was at a premium: touted in newspaper advertisements, puffed in trade catalogues and pattern books, and encouraged by energetic individuals and learned groups. These initiatives were driven by simple curiosity, focused experimentation, patriotic and humanitarian ideals, and the quest for profit. Homes, small workshops, and large manufactories all felt the impact of these ‘polite and commercial’ impulses and the resulting artefacts; they spread beyond the peerage and landed elite through the professional and middling sorts. Arguably it was the latter who spread these developments most widely, thereby drawing Ireland deeper into the ambit, attitudes and fashions of Britain, continental Europe and the North Atlantic world. British artists, artificers, and entrepreneurs were quick to exploit the Irish market, feeding the appetite for what was new; as the potter Josiah Wedgwood wrote to his business partner in 1773, “Will not the people of Ireland like these things better that come from London?” This symposium investigates the intellectual, cultural, and mercenary forces behind these phenomena, looking closely at specific cases. It aims to clarify the nexus between art, commerce, and science in Georgian Ireland, especially in towns, most notably in Dublin, Britain’s ‘second city’.

Speculative Minds has been made possible through sponsorship from Sara Moorhead and Ecclesiastical Insurance. The symposium forms an action of the Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Education Programme, overseen by Emmeline Henderson, IGS Assistant Director and Conservation Manager. The IGS’s Conservation Education Programme is supported by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and The Heritage Council and Merrion Property Group.


9.45  Welcome by David Fleming (Senior Lecturer, University of Limerick)

10.00  Toby Barnard, MRIA (Hon.) (Emeritus Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford University), A Taste for Pastes: Dr Henry Quin, James Tassie, and the Empress of Russia

10.30  Alison, FitzGerald (Associate Professor, Department of History, Maynooth University), Classicism and Commerce: Josiah Wedgwood and His ‘Seed[s] of Consequence’

11.00  Coffee Break

11.30  James Kelly, MRIA (Professor of History, and Head of the School of History and Geography, Dublin City University), The Impact of the English Visual Caricature Tradition on the Product of Single-sheet Caricature in Ireland, 1780–1830

12.00  Questions & Answers

12.30  Lunch Break

1.30  Leonie Hannan (Senior Lecturer, Department of History, Queen’s University Belfast), A Culture of Curiosity: Scientific Enquiry in the Eighteenth-Century Home

2.00  Finola O’Kane, MRIA (Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin), Dublin’s Sugar Landscapes in the Eighteenth Century

2.30  Jonathan Wright (Lecturer, Department of History, Maynooth University), The Merchant, the Quaker, and the Enslaved Boy: A Story of Slavery in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Ulster

3.00  Questions & Answers

Abstracts of papers and speakers’ biographies are available here»

Image: Detail from John Rocque’s Exact Survey of Dublin (1756).

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