Exhibition | Silver City: 500 Years of Portsmouth’s History

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 19, 2022

Now on view at the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery:

Silver City: 500 Years of Portsmouth’s History
Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery, 28 May 2022 — 26 February 2023

Curated by James Daly and Susan Ward

Portsmouth Flagons, made in 1683 by Wolfgang Howzer and presented to Portsmouth by Louise de Kéroualle, the Duchess of Portsmouth. She was one of Charles II’s mistresses and presented the Flagons to Portsmouth when she was made duchess, although there is no record of her having visited the town.

Silver City: 500 Years of Portsmouth’s History is a major exhibition at Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery, telling the story of the city through amazing silver treasures. It showcases many precious objects that have never been on public display before. Most come from the city’s civic collection, but others have been loaned from the Royal Navy, the city’s Anglican cathedral, and the Goldsmiths’ Company Charity. Objects include a model of HMS Victory presented to the city when the Portsmouth Command of the Royal Navy was awarded the Freedom of the City in 1965. It is made from copper taken from the ship and plated in silver.

James Daly and Susan Ward, Silver City: 500 Years of Portsmouth’s History (Portsmouth: Tricorn Books, 2022), 161 pages, ISBN: 978-914615276, £27.

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Frances Parton’s review of the exhibition appeared in October issue of The Burlington Magazine, pp. 1015–17.

New Book | Connected Mobilities

Posted in books by Editor on November 17, 2022

From Amsterdam UP:

Paul Nelles and Rosa Salzberg, eds., Connected Mobilities in the Early Modern World: The Practice and Experience of Movement (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2022), 282 pages, ISBN: 978-9463729239, €122.

Connected Mobilities in the Early Modern World offers a panorama of movement, mobility, and exchange in the early modern world. While the pre-modern centuries have long been portrayed as static and self-contained, it is now acknowledged that Europe from the Middle Ages onwards saw increasing flows of people and goods. Movement also connected the continent more closely to other parts of the world. This book challenges dominant notions of the ‘fixed,’ immobile nature of pre-modern cultures through study of the inter-connected material, social, and cultural dimensions of mobility. The case studies presented here chart the technologies and practices that both facilitated and impeded movement in diverse spheres of social activity such as communication, transport, politics, religion, medicine, and architecture. The chapters underscore the importance of the movement of people and objects through space and across distance to the dynamic economic, political, and cultural life of the early modern period.

Paul Nelles is Associate Professor of early modern history at Carleton University. His research focuses on the history of books, writing, and religion in early modern Europe. His study of Jesuit communication, The Information Order: Writing, Mobility and Distance in the Making of the Society of Jesus (1540–1573), is forthcoming.

Rosa Salzberg is Associate Professor of Early Modern History, University of Trento. Her research focuses on communication, urban history and the history of migration and mobility in early modern Europe, with a focus on Venice. She is the author of Ephemeral City: Cheap Print and Urban Culture in Renaissance Venice (2014).


Paul Nelles and Rosa Salzberg, Movement and Mobility in the Early Modern World: An Introduction

Moving Bodies
1  John Gallagher, Linguistic Encounter: Fynes Moryson and the Uses of Language
2  Gerrit Verhoeven, Wading through the Mire: Mobility on the Grand Tour, 1585–1750
3  Carolin Schmitz, Travelling for Health: Medicine and Rural Mobility in Early Modern Spain

Crossing Borders
4  Irene Fosi, Mobility and Danger on the Borders of the Papal States, 16th–17th Centuries
5  Paola Molino, News on the Road: The Mobility of Handwritten Newsletters in Early Modern Europe
6  Darka Bili., Quarantine, Mobility, and Trade: Commercial Lazzarettos in the Early Modern Adriatic

Global Networks
7  Paul Nelles, Devotion in Transit: Agnus Dei, Jesuit Missionaries, and Global Salvation in the Sixteenth Century
8  Felicita Tramontana, Getting to the Holy Land: Franciscan Journeys and Mediterranean Mobility
9  Sebouh Aslanian, From Mount Lebanon to the Little Mount in Madras: Mobility and Catholic-Armenian Alms-Collecting Networks during the 18th Century


New Book | Architectural Type and Character

Posted in books by Editor on November 13, 2022

From Routledge:

Samir Younés and Carroll William Westfall, Architectural Type and Character: A Practical Guide to a History of Architecture (New York: Routledge, 2022), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1138584037 (hardback), $128 / ISBN: 978-1138584051 (paperback), $36.

Architectural Type and Character provides an alternative perspective to the current role given to history in architecture, reunifying architectural history and architectural design to reform architectural discourse and practice. Historians provide important material for appreciating buildings and guiding those who produce them. In current histories, a building is the product of a time, its form follows its function, irresistible influences produce it, and style, preferably novel, is its most important attribute. This book argues for an alternative. Through a two-part structure, the book first develops the theoretical foundations for this alternative history of architecture. The second part then provides drawings and interpretations of over one hundred sites from different times and places.

Samir Younes is Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame where he was Director of Rome Studies and Director of Graduate Studies. He teaches architectural design and theory. His books include: The Imperfect City: On Architectural Judgement; Architects and Mimetic Rivalry; The Intellectual Life of the Architect; and Quatremère de Quincy’s Historical Dictionary of Architecture: The True, The Fictive, and The Real.

Carroll William Westfall’s PhD in the history of architecture from Columbia University was followed by five decades of teaching before retiring from the University of Notre Dame. His scholarly and general articles run from studies of Pompeii to critiques of current practice. His books are In This Most Perfect Paradise, a study of Rome in the 15th century; Architectural Principles in the Age of Historicism, a dialectic exchange with Robert Jan van Pelt; and Architecture, Liberty, and Civic Order: Architectural Theories from Vitruvius to Jefferson and Beyond, a review of architectural theory.


List of Illustrations


Part I
1  The History of Architecture We Have
2  The Alternative: Type, Character, and Style
3  Urbanism
4  The Components and Types of Good Urban Form

Part II
5  The Tholos
6  The Temple
7  The Theatre
8  The Regia
9  The Dwelling
10  The Shop
11  The Hypostyle

New Book | Small Things in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in books by Editor on November 11, 2022

From Cambridge UP:

Chloe Wigston Smith and Beth Fowkes Tobin, eds., Small Things in the Eighteenth Century: The Political and Personal Value of the Miniature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 280 pages, ISBN: ‎ 978-1108834452, $99.

Book cover showing a detail of a painted letter rack.Offering an intimate history of how small things were used, handled, and worn, this collection shows how objects such as mugs and handkerchiefs were entangled with quotidian practices and rituals of bodily care. Small things, from tiny books to ceramic trinkets and toothpick cases, could delight and entertain, generating tactile pleasures for users while at the same time signalling the limits of the body’s adeptness or the hand’s dexterity. Simultaneously, the volume explores the striking mobility of small things: how fans, coins, rings, and pottery could, for instance, carry political, philosophical, and cultural concepts into circumscribed spaces. From the decorative and playful to the useful and performative, such small things as tea caddies, wampum beads, and drawings of ants negotiated larger political, cultural, and scientific shifts as they transported aesthetic and cultural practices across borders, via nationalist imagery, gift exchange, and the movement of global goods.

Chloe Wigston Smith is the author of Women, Work, and Clothes in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (2013) and co-editor, with Serena Dyer, of Material Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Nation of Makers (2020). Her current research, supported by a British Academy fellowship, centers on material culture and the Atlantic world.

Beth Fowkes Tobin, a recipient of NEH and NSF fellowships, is the author of The Duchess’s Shells: Natural History Collecting in the Age of Cook’s Voyages (2014), Colonizing Nature: The Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760–1830 (2005), and Picturing Imperial Power: Colonial Subjects in Eighteenth-Century British Painting (1999).


Notes on Contributors

Introduction: The Scale and Sense of Small Things — Chloe Wigston Smith and Beth Fowkes Tobin

Part I: Reading Small Things
1  ‘The Sum of All in All’: The Miniature Book and the Nature of Legibility — Abigail Williams
2  Nuts, Flies, Thimbles, and Thumbs: Eighteenth-Century Children’s Literature and Scale — Katherine Wakely-Mulroney
3  Gothic Syntax — Cynthia Wall
4  Small, Familiar Things on Trial and on Stage — Chloe Wigston Smith

Part II: Small Things in Time and Space
5  On the Smallness of Numismatic Objects — Crystal B. Lake
6  Crinoidal Limestone and Staffordshire Teapots: Material and Temporal Scales in Eighteenth-Century Britain — Kate Smith
7  ‘Joineriana’: The Small Fragments and Parts of Eighteenth-Century Assemblages — Freya Gowrley
8  ‘Pray What a Pox Are Those Damned Strings of Wampum?’ — Robbie Richardson

Part III: Small Things at Hand
9  ‘We Bought a Guillotine Neatly Done in Bone’: Illicit Industries on Board British Prison Hulks, 1775–1815 — Anna McKay
10  ‘What Number?’: Reform, Authority, and Identity in Late Eighteenth-Century Military Buttons — Matthew Keagle
11  Two Men’s Leather Letter Cases: Mercantile Pride and Hierarchies of Display — Pauline Rushton
12  The Aesthetic of Smallness: Chelsea Porcelain Seal Trinkets and Britain’s Global Gaze, 1750–1775 — Patricia F. Ferguson
13  ‘Small Gifts Foster Friendship’: Hortense de Beauharnais, Amateur Art, and the Politics of Exchange in Post-Revolutionary France — Marina Kliger

Part IV: Small Things on the Move
14  Hooke’s Ant — Tita Chico
15  Portable Patriotism: Britannia and Material Nationhood in Miniature — Serena Dyer
16  Revolutionary Histories in Small Things: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on Printed Ceramics, c. 1793–1796 — Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
17  A Box of Tea and the British Empire — Romita Ray

Afterword: A Thing’s Perspective — Hanneke Grootenboer

Select Bibliography


Exhibition | ‘Without Hands’: The Art of Sarah Biffin

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 8, 2022

Now on view at Philip Mould in London:

‘Without Hands’: The Art of Sarah Biffin
Philip Mould & Company, London, 1 November — 21 December 2022

Sarah Biffin, A miniature watercolour of subaltern or captain of a British ‘royal’ regiment of line infantry by, ca. 1815–20.

The remarkable story of Sarah Biffin (1784–1850), has been largely overlooked by historians. Those who have attempted to illustrate her life have often perpetuated misconceptions, and Biffin’s artistic reputation has suffered as a result. This exhibition, established upon ground-breaking primary research, is the first of its kind to present Biffin’s artistic achievements and represent her history.

Sarah Biffin (or Beffin) was born into a farming family in Somerset in 1784, where her baptism records state that she was “born without arms and legs.” Teaching herself to write and draw from a young age, Biffin rose to fame as an artist and established a professional career as a portrait painter. Throughout her long and successful career, she travelled extensively, took commissions from royalty, and recorded her own likeness through exquisitely detailed self-portraits. Her artworks—many proudly signed “Without Hands”—are a testament to her talent and accomplishment.

Around the age of twenty, Biffin left home. She contracted herself to a ‘Mr Dukes’ who toured the country with Biffin, visiting county fairs where she was described as the “Eighth Wonder.” Using her mouth and shoulder, Biffin would sew, write, and paint watercolours and portrait miniatures in front of crowds who turned up and left with a sample of her writing included in the cost of their ticket. One such spectator was the wealthy and well-connected Earl of Morton, who supported her in her quest to finesse her artistic skills. In her mid-twenties she began formal tuition with a miniature painter, William Marshall Craig. From 1816 she set herself up as an independent artist and later took commissions from nobility and royalty.

Biffin travelled extensively, exhibiting her artwork and taking commissions all over the country and abroad. She took studios in cities including London, Brighton, Birmingham, Cheltenham, and Liverpool. In each of these cities, she taught the art of miniature painting and was a champion of women students in particular. Continuously recording her own image throughout her lifetime, Biffin’s self-portraits evidence the artistic aptitude, self-respect, and skill of this tenacious artist.

Following the story of her life, the exhibition includes original handbills and broadsides from Biffin’s time in travelling fairs, along with the samples of her writing included in the cost of the entry tickets. Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see examples of the art from her professional career, including portraits, landscapes, and highly-skilled still lifes. More personal exhibits include private letters (including one to her mother) and almost every self-portrait she ever painted. With advisor, artist Alison Lapper MBE (born 180 years later with the same condition); consultant and contributor, Professor Essaka Joshua (specialist in Disability Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana); and loans from national institutions, the exhibition will celebrate Biffin as a disabled artist who challenged attitudes to disability.

The catalogue is published by PHP and distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Emma Rutherford and Ellie Smith, eds., with contributions by Essaka Joshua, Alison Lapper, and Elle Sushan, ‘Without Hands’: The Art of Sarah Biffin (London: Paul Holberton, 2022), 80 pages, ISBN: 978-1913645366, £18 / $25.

Emma Rutherford is a portrait miniatures consultant at Philip Mould & Company in London. Ellie Smith is a researcher at Philip Mould & Company. Professor Essaka Joshua is a specialist in disability studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Based in Brighton, Alison Lapper is an artist, television presenter, speaker, and Gig-Arts Charity patron. Elle Shushan is a specialist, author, lecturer, and museum consultant in Philadelphia.

New Book | Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery

Posted in books by Editor on November 7, 2022

From the University of California Press:

Caitlin Meehye Beach, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2022), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0520343269, £47 / $60.

From abolitionist medallions to statues of bondspeople bearing broken chains, sculpture gave visual and material form to narratives about the end of slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery sheds light on the complex—and at times contradictory—place of such works as they moved through a world contoured both by the devastating economy of enslavement and by international abolitionist campaigns. By examining matters of making, circulation, display, and reception, Caitlin Meehye Beach argues that sculpture stood as a highly visible but deeply unstable site from which to interrogate the politics of slavery. With focus on works by Josiah Wedgwood, Hiram Powers, Edmonia Lewis, John Bell, and Francesco Pezzicar, Beach uncovers both the radical possibilities and the conflicting limitations of art in the pursuit of justice in racial capitalism’s wake.

Part of the Phillips Collection Book Prize Series and supported by the Simpson Imprint in Humanities.

Caitlin Meehye Beach is Assistant Professor in Art History and Affiliated Faculty in African and African American Studies at Fordham University.



Introduction — ‘Within a Few Steps of the Spot’: Art in an Age of Racial Capitalism
1  Grasping Images: Antislavery and the Sculptural
2  ‘The Mute Language of the Marble’: Slavery and Hiram Powers’s The Greek Slave
3  Sentiment, Manufactured: John Bell and the Abolitionist Image under Empire
4  Relief Work: Edmonia Lewis and the Poetics of Plaster
5  Between Liberty and Emancipation: Francesco Pezzicar’s The Abolition of Slavery
Coda — ‘Sculptured Dream of Liberty’

List of Illustrations

New Book | Repertoires of Slavery: Dutch Theater, 1770–1810

Posted in books by Editor on November 7, 2022

From Amsterdam UP:

Sarah Adams, Repertoires of Slavery: Dutch Theater between Abolitionism and Colonial Subjection, 1770–1810 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2022), 252 pages, ISBN: 978-9463726863, €117.

Through the lens of a hitherto unstudied repertoire of Dutch abolitionist theatre productions, Repertoires of Slavery prises open the conflicting ideological functions of antislavery discourse within and outside the walls of the theatre and examines the ways in which abolitionist protesters wielded the strife-ridden question of slavery to negotiate the meanings of human rights, subjecthood, and subjection. The book explores how dramatic visions of antislavery provided a site for (re)mediating a white metropolitan—and at times a specifically Dutch—identity. It offers insight into the late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century theatrical modes, tropes, and scenarios of racialised subjection and considers them as materials of the ‘Dutch cultural archive’, or the Dutch ‘reservoir’ of sentiments, knowledge, fantasies, and beliefs about race and slavery that have shaped the dominant sense of the Dutch self up to the present day.

Sarah J. Adams holds a Ph.D. in Dutch Literature (Ghent University, 2020). Her postdoctoral project Blackface Burlesques, funded by the Research Foundation — Flanders, investigates the scenarios, tropes, and techniques used to design and represent ‘Blackness’ on the comic stage of the Low Countries before the heyday of minstrel culture.


List of Figures

1  Dutch Politics, the Slavery-Based Economy, and Theatrical Culture in 1800
2  Suffering Victims: Slavery, Sympathy, and White Self-Glorification
3  Contented Fools: Ridiculing and Re-Commercializing Slavery
4  Black Rebels: Slavery, Human Rights, and the Legitimacy of Resistance
5  Conclusions

Consulted Archives, Collections, and Databases

New Book | House and Home in Georgian Ireland

Posted in books by Editor on November 5, 2022

From Four Courts Press:

Conor Lucey, ed., House and Home in Georgian Ireland: Spaces and Cultures of Domestic Life (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2022), 216 pages, ISBN: 978-1801510264, €50.

Book cover with eighteenth-century print of a domestic scene.This book explores the everyday character and functions of domestic spaces in Georgian Ireland. Reflecting real as opposed to ideal patterns of living, the topics and themes addressed here range widely from maternity and hospitality to social identity and consumption. Broadening the species of spaces typically considered for this period—embracing country piles and urban mansions, but also merchant houses, lodgings, and rural cabins—this collection of essays expands and deepens our understanding of the meanings of house and home in Ireland in the long eighteenth century.

Conor Lucey is associate professor in architectural history in the School of Art History & Cultural Policy, University College Dublin


• Conor Lucey, Introduction: Species of Domestic Spaces
• Emma O’Toole, Brought to Bed: The Spaces and Material Culture of the Lying-in
• Patricia McCarthy, A Male Domain? The Dining Room Reconsidered
• Melanie Hayes, Fashioning, Fitting-out, and Functionality in the Aristocratic Town House: Private Convenience and Public Concerns
• Aisling Durkan, The Merchant House in Eighteenth-Century Drogheda
• Toby Barnard, ‘Baubles for Boudoirs’ or ‘an Article of Such Universal Consumption’: Ceramics in the Irish Home, 1730–1840
• Claudia Kinmonth, Communality and Privacy in One- or Two-Roomed Homes before 1830
• Judith Hill, Entertaining Royalty after the Union: Space, Decoration, and Performance in Charleville Castle, 1809
• Priscilla Sonnier, ‘A Taste for Building’: Domestic Space in Elite Female Correspondence
• Conor Lucey, Single Lives, Single Houses

New Book | Marie-Antoinette’s Legacy

Posted in books by Editor on November 3, 2022

From Amsterdam UP:

Susan Taylor-Leduc, Marie-Antoinette’s Legacy: The Politics of French Garden Patronage and Picturesque Design, 1775–1867 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2022), 316 pages, ISBN: 978-9463724241, €124.

Challenging the established historiography that frames the French picturesque garden movement as an international style, this book contends that the French picturesque gardens from 1775 until 1867 functioned as liminal zones at the epicenter of court patronage systems. Four French consorts—queen Marie-Antoinette and empresses Joséphine Bonaparte, Marie-Louise, and Eugénie—constructed their gardens betwixt and between court ritual and personal agency, where they transgressed sociopolitical boundaries in order to perform gender and identity politics. Each patron endorsed embodied strolling, promoting an awareness of the sentient body in artfully contrived sensoria at the Petit Trianon and Malmaison, transforming these places into spaces of shared affectivity. The gardens became living legacies, where female agency, excluded from the garden history canon, created a forum for spatial politics. Beyond the garden gates, the spatial experience of the picturesque influenced the development of cultural fields dedicated to performances of subjectivity, including landscape design, cultural geography, and the origination of landscape aesthetics in France.

Susan Taylor-Leduc earned both her masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, she has worked as a teacher, curator, and university administrator in Paris. She is currently affiliated with the Centre des Recherche du Château de Versailles.


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Spatial Legacies
Prologue: Consorts & Fashionistas
1  A Gambling Queen: Marie-Antoinette’s Gamescapes, 1775–1789
2  Revolutionary Surprises, 1789–1804
3  A Créole Empress: Joséphine at Malmaison, 1799–1809
4  The Imperial Picturesque: Napoléon, Joséphine and Marie-Louise, 1810–14
5  Empress Eugénie and the Universal Exhibition of 1867


Call for Articles | Women as Builders, Designers, and Critics

Posted in books, Calls for Papers by Editor on November 3, 2022

Villa Benedetta, designed by Plautilla Bricci (and completed in 1665) is the large residence to the right of the street in this engraving by Giuseppe Vasi, Casino e Villa Corsini fuori di Porta S. Pancrazio, Plate 199, 1761. 

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From the Call for Proposals:

Women as Builders, Designers, and Critics of the Built Environment, 1200–1800
Volume edited by Shelley E. Roff

Proposals due by 1 December 2022; final chapter submissions due by 15 January 2024

Routledge Publishing invites book chapter proposals for a peer-reviewed edited volume that will re-write the history of architecture, urban space, and landscape before the modern age from an alternative, feminist point of view. Women as Builders, Designers and Critics will recover women’s agency within the built environment in the urban and rural setting from the perspective of distinct and often overlapping roles women have played as:
Builders — manual labourers on constructions sites and in the building trades, building material suppliers, and managers of construction projects
Designers — amateur designers of architecture, interiors and gardens, artists influencing design through their architectural imagery, patrons directly engaged with design
Critics — writers, mentors, tutors, and patrons influencing the form of the built environment

Chapter authors should situate the women studied within the context of their social class, time period, and region. Within this context, authors may, if appropriate, choose to theorize about where these women fit within or challenge the canon of architectural history. The geographic scope is open and projects from earlier periods and addressing alternative roles are welcome.

Please send a 500-word abstract and a one-page CV to Shelley E. Roff at shelley.roff@utsa.edu by 1 December 2022. Notification of acceptance of abstracts will be sent by 10 December 2022. If your proposal is accepted, the deadline for a full chapter submission will be 15 January 2024. Chapters should be 5,000–8,000 words in length and must be published in English.

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