New Books | Recent Historical Fiction

Posted in books by Editor on June 24, 2022

If historical fiction is your summer thing, some possibilities . . .

Jessie Burton, The House of Fortune (New York: Bloomsbury, 2022), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-1635579741, $28.

Alive with the magic of 18th-century Amsterdam, an enchanting, fantastical stand-alone companion novel to the sensational New York Times bestseller The Miniaturist, which has sold over two million copies worldwide.

Amsterdam in the year 1705. It is Thea Brandt’s eighteenth birthday. She is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms, but life at home is increasingly difficult. Her father Otto and her Aunt Nella argue endlessly over their financial fate, selling off furniture in a desperate attempt to hold on to the family home.

As catastrophe threatens to engulf the household, Thea seeks refuge in Amsterdam’s playhouses. She loves the performances, and the stolen moments afterwards are even better. In the backrooms of her favorite theater, Thea can spend a few precious minutes with her secret lover, Walter, the chief set-painter, a man adept at creating the perfect environments for comedies and tragedies to flourish. The thrill of their hidden romance offers Thea an exciting distraction from home. But it also puts her in mind of another secret that threatens to overwhelm the present: Thea knows her birthday marks the day her mother, Marin, died in labor. Thea’s family refuses to share the details of this story, just as they seem terrified to speak of ‘the miniaturist’—a shadowy figure from their past who is possessed of uncanny abilities to capture that which is hidden.

Aunt Nella believes the solution to all Thea’s problems is to find her a husband who will guarantee her future. An unexpected invitation to Amsterdam’s most exclusive ball seems like a golden opportunity. But when Thea finds, on her doorstep, a parcel containing a miniature figure of Walter, it becomes clear that someone out there has another fate in mind for the family . . . A feat of sweeping, magical storytelling, The House of Fortune is an unputdownable novel about love and obsession, family and loyalty, and the fantastic power of secrets.

Jessie Burton’s first novel, The Miniaturist, was a New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a PBS series, starring Anya Taylor-Joy. Jessie’s second novel, The Muse, was also a #1 international bestseller. Jessie has written essays and reviews for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She lives in London.

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James Runcie, The Great Passion (London, Bloomsbury, 2022), 272 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1635570670, $28.

From acclaimed bestselling author James Runcie, a meditation on grief and music, told through the story of Bach’s writing of the St. Matthew Passion.

In 1727, Stefan Silbermann is a grief-stricken thirteen-year-old, struggling with the death of his mother and his removal to a school in distant Leipzig. Despite his father’s insistence that he try not to think of his mother too much, Stefan is haunted by her absence, and, to make matters worse, he’s bullied by his new classmates. But when the school’s cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach, takes notice of his new pupil’s beautiful singing voice and draws him from the choir to be a soloist, Stefan’s life is permanently changed.

Over the course of the next several months, and under Bach’s careful tutelage, Stefan’s musical skill progresses, and he is allowed to work as a copyist for Bach’s many musical works. But mainly, drawn into Bach’s family life and away from the cruelty in the dorms and the lonely hours of his mourning, Stefan begins to feel at home. When another tragedy strikes, this time in the Bach family, Stefan bears witness to the depths of grief, the horrors of death, the solace of religion, and the beauty that can spring from even the most profound losses.

Joyous, revelatory, and deeply moving, The Great Passion is an imaginative tour de force that tells the story of what it was like to sing, play, and hear Bach’s music for the very first time.

James Runcie is an award-winning film-maker, playwright and literary curator. He is the author of twelve novels that have been translated into twelve languages, including the seven books in the Grantchester Mysteries series. He has been Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, London, and Commissioning Editor for Arts on BBC Radio 4. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in Scotland.

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Eva Stachniak, The School of Mirrors: A Novel (New York: William Morrow, 2022), 416 pages, ISBN: ‎ 978-0063119604, $17.

A scintillating, gorgeously written historical novel about a mother and a daughter in eighteenth-century France, beginning with decadence and palace intrigue at Versailles and ending in an explosive new era of revolution.

During the reign of Louis XV, impoverished but lovely teenage girls from all over France are sent to a discreet villa in the town of Versailles. Overseen by the King’s favorite mistress, Madame de Pompadour, they will be trained as potential courtesans for the King. When the time is right, each girl is smuggled into the palace of Versailles, with its legendary Hall of Mirrors. There they meet a mysterious but splendidly dressed man who they’re told is merely a Polish count, a cousin of the Queen. Living an indulgent life of silk gowns, delicious meals, and soft beds, the students at this “school of mirrors” rarely ask questions, and when Louis tires of them, they are married off to minor aristocrats or allowed to retire to one of the more luxurious nunneries.

Beautiful and canny Veronique arrives at the school of mirrors and quickly becomes a favorite of the King. But when she discovers her lover’s true identity, she is whisked away, sent to give birth to a daughter in secret, and then to marry a wealthy Breton merchant. There is no return to the School of Mirrors.

This is also the story of the King’s daughter by Veronique—Marie-Louise. Well-provided for in a comfortable home, Marie-Louise has never known her mother, let alone her father. Capable and intelligent, she discovers a passion for healing and science, and becomes an accredited midwife, one of the few reputable careers for women like her. But eventually Veronique comes back into her daughter’s life, bringing with her the secret of Marie-Louise’s birth. But the new King—Louis XVI—is teetering on his throne and it’s a volatile time in France…and those with royal relatives must mind their step very carefully.

Eva Stachniak was born in Wroclaw, Poland. She moved to Canada in 1981 and has worked for Radio Canada International and Sheridan College, where she taught English and humanities. Her first novel of Catherine the Great, The Winter Palace was a #1 international bestseller and was followed by another Catherine the Great novel Empress of the Night, also a bestseller. She lives in Toronto.


Call for Papers | Variety, Variation, Multiplication

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 24, 2022

From ArtHist.net, which includes the German version:

Variety, Variation, Multiplication: Imaging Techniques in Premodern Art and Their Products
Die Vielfalt des Vervielfältigten: Bildgebende Verfahren in der Kunst der Neuzeit und ihre Produkte
Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik, Technische Universität Berlin, 13–15 April 2023

Organized by Magdalena Bushart, Livia Cárdenas, and Andreas Huth

Proposals due by 1 August 2022

Interdependencies VII – Seventh international conference of the research project Interdependencies: Arts and Artistic Techniques at the Department for Art History, Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik, Technische Universität Berlin

Printed images and moulded artworks have one thing in common: they refer to an ‘original form’ to which they stand in a complex relationship. Produced in a mechanical process with the help of a (negative) form—a casting mould, a printing block, or a printing plate—they assert a reference of similarity both to their model and each other. Nevertheless, they are not reproductions that are largely identical to their ‘prototype’. After all, the transfer of the original is done in a different technique and usually also in a different material than that of the ‘prototype’. Thus, each is produced in its medium which influences the form with its technical requirements. From a technical, material, and formal point of view, they rather represent variants than precise reproductions of the initial work. And even the reproduced works do not look the same. Although they are based on a common casting or impression mould, they are subject to the conditions and contingencies of the production process, as well. In addition, these products were often further processed, i.e. ‘varied’. This is particularly the case in the 15th and 16th centuries, the period in which the techniques of printmaking and moulding were redefined through the innovative use of materials, the opening up of new markets, and the development of a specific aesthetic: Three-dimensional objects—such as sculptures made of terracotta or plaster—were reshaped in parts and individually polychromed, while two-dimensional works—mainly woodcuts and copper engravings—were coloured, trimmed, or silhouetted. This raises the question of the relationship of the artefacts to each other or their individuality: Were the works understood as individual pieces, as part of a series, as repetitions? Or did the attraction lay precisely in the knowledge of the singularity of the pieces despite their obvious similarities?

Variety, Variation, and Multiplication in the Art of the 14th to 18th Centuries shall be the subject of the seventh conference in the series Interdependencies: The arts and their techniques. Instead of focusing on the standardising effect of reproduced artworks and printed images (e.g. through the establishment of certain types of images and the standardisation of knowledge), we want to question the variants and their variances arising through printing and moulding processes or further processing. On the one hand, we are interested in the differences between the originals and the repetitions. On the other hand, we want to explore the margin opened up by the respective production process as well as by the possibilities of further handling: How do the products relate to their ‘prototype’ and each other? Do the variances result from intentional interventions or, the production process? What is the function of the medium of transfer? What is the effect of the change in materiality? What forms of further processing can be observed? How can common and singular characteristics of the reproduced works be described? What connects two- and three-dimensional reproductions and how do they differ? And last, but not least: How has the tension between similarity and deviation been received? Did it play a role in the perception of contemporaries or was it ignored?

All those interested in the conference are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 5,000 characters together with a short CV. Please send your proposal by 1 August 2022 to Prof. Dr. Magdalena Bushart (magdalena.bushart@tu-berlin.de) and Dr. Andreas Huth (andreas.huth@tu-berlin.de).

Exhibition | Design around 1800

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on June 23, 2022

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden:

Design around 1800 / Gestaltung um 1800
Schloss Pillnitz, Dresden

The Kaiserzimmer (imperial rooms) in Pillnitz Palace, still known to many as the Weinlig-Rooms, were reopened to the public in 2020 after several years of restoration. In the future, the new permanent exhibition Design around 1800 will be on display in the rooms steeped in history, showcasing outstanding arts and crafts pieces from the classicism period.

Centerpiece, French, ca. 1800, cast bronze, patinated and gilded, 49.7 cm high (Dresden: Kunstgewerbemuseum, 30982).

The time around 1800 was one of enormous dynamism: social, scientific, technological—the signs pointed everywhere to change, a new dawn, progress. Paradoxically, in the decorative arts the path to the future of design led back to classical antiquity. The excavations in Herculaneum and Pompeii from the middle of the 18th century and the beginning of intensive research triggered a new enthusiasm for antiquities. A decisive impulse for this came from Dresden. Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) shaped the ideas of German classicism with his writings like no other. After the organically growing, wildly bizarre play of forms of the Rococo, ancient art offered new starting points, not only because of its clear structure and the ornamental and decorative world that was completely contrary to the Rococo. According to Winckelmann, Greek art had reached an aesthetic perfection that now had to be imitated.

The permanent exhibition Design around 1800 makes this spirit of classicism tangible on two levels. On the one hand, the lavishly restored imperial rooms, together with the preserved original interior, are themselves a splendid example of classicist interior design. The window and door crowns alone, finely proportioned in individual fields, illustrate the wealth of antique formal language: rams’ heads and sphinxes from ancient Egypt, scenes from Greek and Roman mythology, and ornaments such as urns, mascarons, palmettes, lotus blossoms, and acanthus foliage used in a quotation-like manner speak a clear picture.

The exhibition uses this early classicist interior, which is so important for Saxon art history, to illuminate various facets of applied art around 1800 on a second level. Here, the Kunstgewerbemuseum presents outstanding pieces of Classicist design from its own collection, including ceramics, textiles, glass and metalwork, furniture, paper wallpaper and clocks. Special attention is paid to the Saxon developments, the players acting in the environment of the Dresden court and the local craftsmanship of the time. For this purpose, the exhibits of the Kunstgewerbemuseum are additionally supplemented by loans from the Porcelain Collection, the Green Vault, the Numismatic Collection, and the Sculpture Collection.

After the first quarter of the 19th century, ancient art lost its primacy as a model. However, it never fell into oblivion again. In the stylistic melting pot of historicism, numerous classicist elements can be found, impressively seen, for example, in the works of the late Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841) and Gottfried Semper (1803–1879). Certain forms and ornaments also have a firm place in design, architecture and arts and crafts right up to the present day. In the exhibition, a separate room is dedicated to this classicist afterlife.

The archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II (1747–1792) was the name sponsor. On the occasion of the meeting with the Prussian King Frederick William II (1744–1797) in August 1791, the emperor took up residence in Pillnitz for a few days. The talks were later to go down in history as the Pillnitz Monarchs’ Meeting. As honored host for this event of European magnitude, the Saxon Elector Friedrich August III (1750–1827) had the wing buildings of the Bergpalais, which had been completed only a few months earlier, splendidly decorated. Just two years later, the palace inventory referred to the rooms in the west wing as ‘kayserliche Zimmer’.

The Imperial Rooms with their original wall paneling and carvings, mirrors, stove and fireplace are the only example of Early Classicist interior decoration around the Dresden court that has been preserved largely in its original state. During the extensive restoration of the rooms, the wall coverings in the two main rooms were also reconstructed with silk atlas fabric in the original color scheme, making the original design concept much more tangible again.

So far, there is no archival evidence of who designed the rooms. The attribution to and corresponding naming of the architect Christian Traugott Weinlig, which was valid for a long time due to stylistic analogies, is no longer supported by today’s research. Also in view of the approximation to the state of 1791 achieved during the restoration by the Sächsisches Immobilien- und Baumanagement (SIB), the name ‘Kaiserzimmer’, which was valid for a good 180 years, is now used again.

As the only object without a historical room reference, but with an all the stronger stylistic reference to Weinlig’s decorations, a new acquisition will be presented this fall, which the Kunstgewerbemuseum was able to realize with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation: an early classicist chandelier in the shape of an egg. The chandelier is documented as a product of the Chursächsische Spiegelfabrik by a detailed review with accompanying pictorial plate in the March 1800 issue of the Journal des Luxus und der Moden. The piece is of outstanding quality, both in terms of design and technology. Its unconventional basket or egg shape is also a great unusual feature for the period of early classicism. The interplay of the gilded bronze frame with the richly varied Bohemian glass hanging is superb and testifies to the high level of Saxon craftsmanship of the time. In particular, the Chursächsische Spiegelfabrik was one of the leading Central European manufacturers of brass-mounted glassware and candlesticks around 1800.

Exhibition | Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 23, 2022

From the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden:

Enchantingly Real: Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony
Zwinger, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, 21 May — 28 August 2022
Royal Castle, Warsaw, 23 September 2022 — 8 January 2023

Coinciding with the 300th anniversary of his birth, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister is holding a major monographic exhibition in celebration of the work of Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto (1722–1780). The artist—who, like his uncle and teacher Antonio Canal, also called himself Canaletto—ranks as one of the most important 18th-century painters of city views or vedute. The Dresden retrospective is the culmination of a years-long conservation project and results from a cooperation with the Royal Castle in Warsaw. It features the Gemäldegalerie’s own collection of Bellotto’s paintings, itself the largest in the world.

The show presents Bellotto’s life and work by tracing the most important phases and milestones of his career. After formative years in Venice, he came to Dresden in 1747 and painted large-scale vedute for the Saxon elector and Polish king, Augustus III, as well as for his prime minister, Count Heinrich von Brühl. Bellotto’s paintings continue to offer unique insights into the architecture and life of the royal capital of Saxony as well as the nearby town of Pirna and the fortresses of Sonnenstein and Königstein. After working briefly at the courts of Vienna and Munich, in 1766 Bellotto took up residency in the royal city of Warsaw, painting numerous views of that city until his death in 1780.

Several etchings by the master present another side to Bellotto as printmaker and entrepreneur. The prints stem from Dresden’s Kupferstich-Kabinett, which boasts a remarkably complete collection of the artist’s printmaking oeuvre. Further enriched with drawings loaned from Warsaw and Darmstadt, the survey show reveals the range of Bellotto’s lively pictorial innovations. Also on view are books, porcelain objects, sculptures, and scientific instruments that together create a vivid snapshot of an era that Bellotto, as an artist, helped define.

Stephan Koja and Iris Yvonne Wagner, Zauber des Realen: Bernardo Bellotto am sächsischen Hof (Dresden: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2022), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-3954986774, €48.

Exhibition | The Key to Life: 500 Years of Mechanical Amusement

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 23, 2022

From the press release (30 May 2022) from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden:

The Key to Life: 500 Years of Mechanical Amusement
Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden, 3 June — 25 September 2022

Automatons, androids and robots—they now dominate our professional and private environments and are expressions of the human desire to create artificial life. The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon and the Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst and Puppentheatersammlung of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) are presenting roughly 70 of these artefacts in the exhibition The Key to Life: 500 Years of Mechanical Amusement on view from 3 June to 25 September 2022 in the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau.

For the first time, the SKD is showing the full range of its unique collection of mechanical figurines and amusements in one exhibition, supplementing them with constructions of artificial life. Beside the unique wealth of mechanical objects spanning from the Renaissance to the present day from the inventory of the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salons, the Grünes Gewölbe, and the Puppentheatersammlung, the exhibition also features selected loans from the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, the Maximilianmuseum in Augsburg, and the Roentgen-Museum Neuwied, among others. Through several exhibition chapters on the mechanical figurines and tableaux from the period around 1600, 18th-century-androids and mechanical amusements in the 19th century, to the nickelodeons and slot machines of the early 20th century and contemporary moving art, the exhibition showcases how the mechanical has fascinated people for 500 years.

The items on display include complicated mechanical tableaux from the late 16th century that feature not only agile figurines and playing drummers, but also movements on the tableau itself. A fur-covered bear beats its drum every hour on the hour. The replica ‘iron hand’ of knight Götz von Berlichingen is an excellent example of early modern prosthetics. Contemporary research is also represented: the prototype ‘mika²’ from Dresden University of Technology’s historical acoustic and phonetic collection is a mechanical simulation of the main parts of the human vocal tract, which was developed at the Chair of Speech Technology and Cognitive Systems. The exhibition’s interactive design allows visitors to bring the amusements to life themselves and understand their movements. There will be a varied program of tours and workshops, including some during the school holidays and the Dresden Night of Museums.

Peter Plaßmeyer, Hagen Schönrich and Igor A. Jenzen, eds., Der Schlüssel zum Leben: 500 Jahre mechanische Figurenautomaten (Dresden: Sandstein Verlag, 2022), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-3954986828, €38.

Call for Papers | UAAC/AAUC 2022

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 23, 2022


Universities Art Association of Canada / l’association d’art des universités du Canada
In person, University of Toronto, 27–29 October 2022, and online, 4 November 2022

Proposals due by 30 June 2022

Each fall, UAAC-AAUC hosts Canada’s professional conference for visual arts-based research by art historians, professors, artists, curators, and cultural workers. This year’s conference includes three days of in-person meetings at the University of Toronto and one day of online panels.

Submit proposals by using the Call for Papers Proposal Form. Proposals are sent directly to the chair(s) of the session. The deadline for submission is 30 June 2022.

A very limited selection of sessions potentially related to the eighteenth century, including the HECAA panel, is provided below. The full listing is available here.

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26  Made Up: An Art History of Cosmetics (in person)
Hana Nikcevic (University of Toronto) and Tara Allen-Flanagan (Independent scholar), hana.nikcevic@utoronto.ca and tara.allen-flanagan@mail.mcgill.ca

Art has been acknowledged for centuries as the business of deception and artifice—spanning trompe l’oeil to parafiction—but it shares this storied past with a less-celebrated, heavily-gendered counterpart: cosmetics. Fascination with feminine art/artifice underpins the corpus of toilette paintings, but in these portrayals as in later iterations—from Boucher’s Pompadour to Vogue Beauty Secrets—the face-painter’s agency has been, through analogy with the artist, variably recouped and contested. Cosmetics likewise represent the spoils and vectors of globalization and imperialism; if Queen Elizabeth I’s chalky visage, asserted through portraiture, already reflected and advanced England’s imperial efforts, Angela Rosenthal confirmed the eighteenth-century coalescence of racial theory and complexion. This session interrogates cosmetics’ aesthetics, asking after global and historical conflations of and disparities between art and make-up; cosmetics’ conflicting capacities to subjugate and subvert; the entwined histories of beauty, complexion, racialization, imperialism, and oppression; and, most broadly, the understudied visual and material cultures of cosmetics.

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27  Monuments and Their Futures in North America (in person)
Cody Barteet (Western University), cbarteet@uwo.ca

Recently, monuments have received significant attention. Whether connected to their removal, conservation, and construction, individuals and organizations have used monuments to promote varying ideological concepts. In Canada, most of this conversation has been limited to the removal and vandalism of monuments associated with the long colonial legacy and its impact on Indigenous peoples. However, this conversation changed radically in late January 2022 when the so-called Freedom Convoy descended upon Ottawa to protest existing COVID-19 policies. During the occupation, several of Ottawa’s monuments were vandalized including those to Terry Fox and to fallen Canadian soldiers. Unlike previous vandalisms in Canada, the backlash against their defacement was immediate and universal. Informed by this shifting context concerning monuments, this panels queries the future and purposes of monuments through diverse methodologies: nationalism, racism, environmentalism, etc. In so doing this panel analyzes the current “monument discourse” and queries the needs and purposes of monuments.

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28  ‘My Strength, My Comfort, My Intense Delight’: Women, Art, and Lifewriting in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (in person)
Charles Reeve (OCAD University), creeve@ocadu.ca

Like her contemporary Eugène Delacroix, British watercolourist Elizabeth Murray left the ‘West’ in the early 1800s for the ‘Orient’, recording her adventures in extensive writings and images. However, while Delacroix’s journals and notebooks became widely celebrated, Murray’s account slid into obscurity—even though Delacroix’s journey lasted only six months and generated two articles, while Murray’s time in the region prompted her two-volume autobiography Sixteen Years of an Artist’s Life in Morocco, Spain, and the Canary Islands. Moreover, accounts by other women from that century—Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun and Elizabeth Butler—similarly languished, creating the sense that this era’s female artists neither left home nor published autobiographies. This panel aims to explode this misapprehension by convening discussions of lifewriting by women artists of the 1800s and earlier. We welcome proposals regarding all lifewriting forms (e.g. diaries, letters), with particular interest in accounts originating outside normative ‘Western’ narratives, and/or regarding now-obscure autobiographies.

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54  HECAA Open Session (online)
Christina Smylitopoulos (University of Guelph), csmylito@uoguelph.ca

HECAA works to stimulate, foster, and disseminate knowledge of all aspects of eighteenth-century visual culture. This open session welcomes papers that examine any aspect of art and visual culture from the 1680s to the 1830s. Special consideration will be given to proposals that demonstrate innovation in theoretical and/or methodological approaches.

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63  Women and the Arts in the Early Modern Period (online)
Andrea Morgan (Independent scholar), 14acm5@queensu.ca

Women have long faced challenges in pursuit of their engagement with the visual arts. While upper-class and aristocratic early modern women were often encouraged to dabble in or have some familiarity with the arts to make them amiable and polite companions, they were rarely afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Yet, women such as Artemisia Gentileschi and Angelica Kauffmann excelled in their professional practice; still others persisted but remain relegated to the realm of the ‘amateur’. This panel seeks papers that highlight the life and work of both professional female artists as well as those lesser known, including women who worked in media other than painting. This session also encourages explorations of alternative ways women engaged with the art world in the early modern period, whether that be through art collecting or curating, broadly defined, and women in the commercial world who worked as art dealers or suppliers.

Lucky 13! Buy an Art Book

Posted in site information by Editor on June 22, 2022

As Enfilade turns 13, you all know the drill!

1) Buy an art book this week. In the world of academic art history publishing, several hundred books sold over a few days is stellar. It’s an important way to communicate that the eighteenth century is a thriving field with a vital, engaged audience. The more people who buy books addressing the eighteenth century, the easier it will be to publish your next book on the eighteenth century. Great ideas are available here.

2) Renew your HECAA membership. In the normal world $30 doesn’t really count as philanthropy. For a small academic society it does. Student memberships are just $10. More information is here.

3) Send in news you’d like to see reported. I’m glad to post announcements about conferences, forthcoming books, journal articles, exhibitions, fellowship opportunities, &c.—just about anything except job listings. CraigAshleyHanson@gmail.com.

Most importantly, thanks to you all for reading (still).

-Craig Hanson

New Book | A Revolution on Canvas

Posted in books by Editor on June 21, 2022

Distributed by Yale UP:

Paris Spies-Gans, A Revolution on Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France, 1760–1830 (London: Paul Mellon Centre, 2022), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-1913107291, £45 / $55.

The first collective, critical historical study of women artists in Britain and France during the Revolutionary era

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, hundreds of women in London and Paris became professional artists, exhibiting and selling their work in unprecedented numbers. Many rose to the top of their nations’ artistic spheres and earned substantial incomes from their work, regularly navigating institutional inequalities expressly designed to exclude members of their sex. In the first collective, critical history of women artists in Britain and France during the Revolutionary era, Paris Spies-Gans explores how they engaged with and influenced the mainstream cultural currents of their societies at pivotal moments of revolutionary change.

Through an interdisciplinary analysis of the experiences of these narrative painters, portraitists, sculptors, and draughtswomen, this book challenges longstanding assumptions about women in the history of art. Importantly, it demonstrates that women built profitable artistic careers by creating works in nearly every genre practiced by men, in similar proportions and to aesthetic acclaim. It also reveals that hundreds of women studied with male artists, and even learned to draw from the nude. Where traditional histories have left a void, this generously illustrated book illuminates a lively world of artistic production.

Featuring an extensive range of these artists’ paintings, drawings, sculptures, and writings, alongside contemporary prints, satires, and works by their male peers, A Revolution on Canvas transforms our understanding of the opportunities and identities of women artists of the past.

Paris A. Spies-Gans is a historian and an art historian. She has held fellowships at the Harvard Society of Fellows, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Getty Research Institute, the Lewis Walpole Library, and the Yale Center for British Art. Her research concentrates on the history of women, gender, and the politics of artistic expression.

Decorative Arts Trust Prize for Excellence and Innovation

Posted in opportunities by Editor on June 21, 2022

From the Decorative Arts Trust:

Decorative Arts Trust Prize for Excellence and Innovation, $100,000
Application due by 30 June 2022

To further the Decorative Arts Trust’s mission to foster appreciation and study of the arts, the Trust established the $100,000 Decorative Arts Trust Prize for Excellence and Innovation. The Prize funds outstanding projects that advance the public’s appreciation of decorative art, fine art, architecture, or landscape.

The Prize is awarded to a non-profit organization in the United States or abroad for a scholarly endeavor, such as museum exhibitions, print and digital publications, and online databases. The Trust’s selection committee aims to recognize impactful and original projects that advance scholarship in the field while reaching a broad audience. The Black Craftspeople Digital Archive (BCDA) was the recipient of the 2021 Prize.

“This award advances the work of our talented mid- and late-career colleagues as a complement to our efforts to support young scholars through the Emerging Scholars Program,” states Matthew A. Thurlow, the Decorative Arts Trust’s Executive Director. “We have made a long-term commitment to furthering innovative scholarship in the arts while reinforcing the Trust’s mission and promoting our broader programs. We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate exceptional endeavors in the arts.”

Nominations should be submitted to thetrust@decorativeartstrust.org by June 30. Projects can extend 1–5 years for final completion after the Prize is awarded, but no longer. Collaborative endeavors that unite multiple institutions are encouraged to submit nominations. Ongoing projects are suitable for nomination.

Nominations should include
• Cover letter (limited to two pages)
• Narrative stating the objectives and outcomes (limited to five pages)
• Budget
• Timeline
• CVs of institution’s key personnel (limited to two pages each)
• List of collaborating partners (if applicable)
• List of current funders and other potential fundraising sources (if applicable)
• Most recent 990

Finalists will be notified by the end of August. The recipient will be notified by the end of the year and will be required to submit additional content.

New Book | Women Healers

Posted in books by Editor on June 20, 2022

From Penn Press:

Susan Brandt, Women Healers: Gender, Authority, and Medicine in Early Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), 312 pages, ISBN: 978-0812253863, $40.

In her eighteenth-century medical recipe manuscript, the Philadelphia healer Elizabeth Coates Paschall asserted her ingenuity and authority with the bold strokes of her pen. Paschall developed an extensive healing practice, consulted medical texts, and conducted experiments based on personal observations. As British North America’s premier city of medicine and science, Philadelphia offered Paschall a nurturing environment enriched by diverse healing cultures and the Quaker values of gender equality and women’s education. She participated in transatlantic medical and scientific networks with her friend, Benjamin Franklin. Paschall was not unique, however. Women Healers recovers numerous women of European, African, and Native American descent who provided the bulk of health care in the greater Philadelphia area for centuries.

Although the history of women practitioners often begins with the 1850 founding of Philadelphia’s Female Medical College, the first women’s medical school in the United States, these students merely continued the legacies of women like Paschall. Remarkably, though, the lives and work of early American female practitioners have gone largely unexplored. While some sources depict these women as amateurs whose influence declined, Susan Brandt documents women’s authoritative medical work that continued well into the nineteenth century. Spanning a century and a half, Women Healers traces the transmission of European women’s medical remedies to the Delaware Valley where they blended with African and Indigenous women’s practices, forming hybrid healing cultures.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Brandt demonstrates that women healers were not inflexible traditional practitioners destined to fall victim to the onward march of Enlightenment science, capitalism, and medical professionalization. Instead, women of various classes and ethnicities found new sources of healing authority, engaged in the consumer medical marketplace, and resisted physicians’ attempts to marginalize them. Brandt reveals that women healers participated actively in medical and scientific knowledge production and the transition to market capitalism.

Susan H. Brandt is a Lecturer in the Department of History at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

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