Workshop | Digital Mapping

Posted in lectures (to attend), resources by Editor on June 12, 2018

From Eventbrite:

Hannah Williams and Chris Sparks, Digital Mapping: Introductory Workshop
Queen Mary University of London, 2–6pm, 12 July 2018

Digital mapping technologies have led to exciting recent shifts in humanities research. Rather than treating maps as mere illustrations, historians and art historians are making spatial analysis and cartographic visualisations fundamental to their inquiries and yielding fascinating insights as a result.

Yet humanities researchers often lack technical training and can be daunted by the logistics of experimenting with digital methods. This Introductory Digital Mapping Workshop aims to provide basic skills for humanities researchers who want to get started with digital mapping. In an informal setting, we will introduce some key concepts and useful resources, and run two practical sessions to develop valuable skills for undertaking your own mapping project. By the end of the day, you will have georeferenced a historical map, started devising a project brief, and prototyped a web app.

Following the workshop, we invite you to join us for the website launch of Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World, a digital mapping project by Hannah Williams and Chris Sparks, funded by The Leverhulme Trust and supported by Queen Mary University of London.

This workshop is aimed especially at early career researchers, postdocs, and PhD students in humanities disciplines, but it is open to researchers at any level. Places for the workshop are limited. If after booking you are unable to attend, please let us know so that your place can be given to someone else. After booking your place at the workshop, please email the organisers with a brief description of your research interests in digital mapping and, if applicable, some of the sources you might be using. This is only for our information in planning the workshop and will not be distributed.

Website Launch – Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World
Queen Mary University of London, 12 July 2018

Join us to celebrate the launch of Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World, a digital mapping project by Hannah Williams and Chris Sparks, funded by The Leverhulme Trust and supported by Queen Mary University of London. Find out more about the project with a website demo and informal discussion. Drinks and snacks will be served.

These events have been made possible with support from The Leverhulme Trust.

Bedford Square Festival, 2018

Posted in lectures (to attend), on site by Editor on May 19, 2018

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

Bedford Square Festival: Share the Square
London, 4–7 July 2018

The Paul Mellon Centre is proud to be taking part in the Bedford Square Festival for the second year. Weaving together literature, art, architecture, history, film, theatre, and education, Share the Square is composed of more than forty free events taking place between July 4 and 7.

As its title suggests, this year’s theme aims to encourage greater engagement within the local community of Bloomsbury and beyond, with a focus on inspiring new creative collaborations between institutions, businesses, and individuals in this pocket of London. Bedford Square’s beautifully preserved Georgian buildings and garden are not usually open to the public, but this annual festival represents a chance for the Square’s residents to throw open their doors, revealing a fascinating enclave that is full of artistic and scientific knowledge, beautiful spaces, amazing stories and remarkable histories.

The Paul Mellon Centre will host over 15 events during the four-day festival. A full list is available here.

Exhibition | William Birch, Ingenious Artist

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 3, 2018

From The Library Company of Philadelphia:

William Birch, Ingenious Artist: His Life, His Philadelphia Views, and His Legacy
The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1 May — 19 October 2018

Through watercolors, enamels, manuscripts, books, and prints—some of which have never before been exhibited—we will explore the life and work of one of the most important artists of the Federal period, William Birch (1755–1834).

Birch established himself in London as a miniaturist and a graphic artist before immigrating to Philadelphia, where he published the first two American books of engraved views. The City of Philadelphia in the Year 1800 captures the spirit of the cultural and political capital of the new nation and remains a cornerstone of Philadelphia iconography. His second book, The Country Seats of the United States (1808), brought to America the ideal of the country house in a picturesque landscape, a vision that persists to this day. Join us as we explore Birch’s transatlantic career as an enamellist, landscape architect, and artist of the British and American scene.

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With a symposium scheduled for October:

William Birch and the Complexities of American Visual Culture
The Library Company of Philadelphia, 5 October 2018

“This country is new and flourishing. The mechanical arts are at their highest pitch, but the fine arts are of another complexion. They are the last polish of a refined nation… From an insignificant conceit of merit we have generally no knowledge of or feeling for, our imitations of nature, however beautiful, are mechanical altogether. But [these limitations] may be considered as the first lesson necessary for the fine arts… I do not profess myself a member of the fine arts; I am a copyist only, but from my knowledge of them [I] have been allowed judgment and taste, which is competent to give me a relish for them …” –William Birch

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia (VCP), a one-day symposium on Friday, 5 October 2018 will explore the visual, cultural, and social themes elicited from the work of Philadelphia artist William Russell Birch (1755–1834). Inspired by the Library Company’s 2018 exhibition about Birch and his art, the symposium aims to promote discussions that reflect broadly on the continual resonance in American visual culture of the work of this premier enamel miniaturist, aspiring gentleman, and artist of the first American viewbooks.

While British-born Birch’s Views of Philadelphia (1798–1800) was enormously successful, his second, smaller plate book, The Country Seats of the United States (1808), in essence failed. Yet both—promoted through subscription—remain cornerstones of Philadelphia iconography and American visual culture and its complexities. Birch’s body of work includes some of the earliest American visual records of the new nation’s preeminent city as well as expressions of picturesque landscape crucial to 19th-century American makers of art. At the same time, his work evinces political and cultural propaganda, aesthetics of the ordinary and the everyday, and innovation in design.

Presentations are intended to foster broad and interdisciplinary discussions about the aesthetic, political, social, cultural, economic, material, and technological themes in Birch’s art, in his own time, and in the two centuries that followed. We will ask: What can be learned from works conceived and executed by a non-native artist parallel to constantly (and infinitely) evolving fields and definitions of art, and means of art production, distribution, and appreciation?

London History Day 2018 — 31 May 2018

Posted in lectures (to attend), on site by Editor on May 1, 2018

From Historic England:

London History Day 2018
31 May 2018

On Thursday 31 May 2018, more than 70 of London’s museums, galleries, and cultural spaces will open their doors to reveal special behind the scenes tours, rarely seen exhibits and one off events, celebrating the capital’s unique identity. 2018 is the year of courage, with many special events for London History Day touching on the pioneering spirit, heroism, initiative, and kindness layered in our history.

An example of programming as presented by the Mellon Centre:

Mark Hallett | The Suffering Soldier: Depictions of Courage in Eighteenth-Century British Art
Paul Mellon Centre, London, 31 May 2018, 12.30–14.00

The Paul Mellon Centre is taking part in London History Day by offering a special talk by the Director of the Centre, Mark Hallett. His lecture will focus on a few especially powerful examples of eighteenth-century British art to explore the ways in which artists dealt with, and depicted, the subject of courage. Mark Hallett, a leading authority on art in the Georgian period, will concentrate in particular on images of the heroic, tragic, and pitiful soldier, produced by artists as varied as John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, and Joseph Wright of Derby. Doing so will reveal the very different ways in which courage could be conceptualised and represented during a century in which Britain was regularly at war. This talk is free and a light lunch is provided. Booking details are available here.

Seminar | Chronicling the Summer Exhibition

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 27, 2018

Thomas Rowlandson, Viewing at the Royal Academy, ca. 1815, watercolor with pen and gray and brown ink over graphite on moderately thick, moderately textured, blued white, wove paper, 15 × 24 cm (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B2001.2.1161).

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From the Mellon Centre:

Chronicling the Summer Exhibition: The Early Years
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 2 May 2018

This research seminar will feature Esther Chadwick, Amy Concannon, and Mark Hallett, three of the contributors to the PMC’s major publication project The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018. This online publication, which will be launched at the end of May, will feature 250 pieces of writing by leading scholars, critics, artists, and curators about every single RA summer exhibition since 1769. It will also include digitised and fully-searchable versions of every summer exhibition catalogue. In the seminar, the speakers will present some of their own work for the Chronicle, focusing in particular on the exhibitions of the Georgian period, and discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by this new scholarly venture. Wednesday, 2 May, 18.00–20.00; this is a free event, followed by a drinks reception; booking information is available here.

Esther Chadwick has been funded by the Monument Trust to catalogue the Department’s collection of prints kept in roughly 6000 bound volumes, ranging across national schools from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Esther joined the Department of Prints and Drawings after receiving her PhD in Art History from Yale University in 2016. Her thesis explored connections between eighteenth-century British printmaking and political radicalism. At the Yale Center for British Art she co-curated Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (2014). She has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington, D.C., the Huntington Library, the Lewis Walpole Library, and the Paul Mellon Centre in London.

Amy Concannon is currently in the final year of her AHRC-funded PhD on depictions of the urban landscape in Britain, c.1820–1850; this takes in a wide spectrum of imagery, from topographical prints to academic landscape paintings, and is supervised jointly between the Art History and Geography departments of the University of Nottingham, and Tate. Since 2012 she has worked at Tate Britain as Assistant Curator for British Art, 1790–1850, where she has focused on landscape through a range of projects, from the exhibitions Late Turner: Painting Set Free (2014–15) and Ruin Lust (2014) to the multi-partner tour of Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows. Before Tate, she held roles at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria, where she developed a particular interest in views of the Lake District.

Mark Hallett is the Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and oversees all aspects of the Centre’s activities, ensuring that it supports the most original, rigorous, and stimulating research into the history of British art and architecture, and fosters collaboration with our sister-institution, the Yale Center for British Art.

Lecture | Mark Purcell on the Country House Library

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 5, 2018

Booking information is available through Eventbrite:

Mark Purcell | The Country House Library
Art Workers’ Guild, London, 10 April 2018

The Society for the History of Collecting are delighted to announce their next event which sees Mark Purcell discusses his new book The Country House Library.

Country Houses are normally studied by art, architectural, and social historians for the prosopography of their ownership, the details of the house, the modifications and motivations thereof, and the chattels (art and furnishings). However, when it comes to the actual contents of the library, often considered the most important room in house, the books themselves are overlooked. This is perhaps due to a general and historic lack of understanding of the history of the book, although the value of the books could equal that of the rest of the chattels in a house. Mark Purcell has remedied this oversight in his majestic survey of country house libraries, those that are and even those that once were but have been dispersed. Mark demonstrates that the country house libraries were not standard appendages, underappreciated and under read by their owners, but that they encompassed a vast range of form and function. His immensely successful book will be a sourcebook for art historians and those interested in the history of collections for decades to come.

Tuesday, 10 April, 6:00pm, Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AT. The lecture will be followed by drinks. Please book as soon as possible as places are limited.

Mark Purcell is Deputy Director, Research Collections, University of Cambridge, University Library. Formerly he was responsible for all the libraries within the National Trust (1999–2015) that comprise much beyond the country house, ranging from vernacular buildings to industrial in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Mark has studied the NT collections and has published numerous gems within. Responsible for a thorough cataloging of that vast corpus, he is perhaps the world’s expert on libraries once privately held in the UK.

Lecture Series | Thinking about Exhibitions

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on March 12, 2018

This spring’s public lecture course at the Mellon Centre:

Thinking about Exhibitions: Interpretation, Reconstruction, and Curation
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, Thursdays, 8 March — 12 April 2018 (excluding 29 March)

This five-part lecture course explores an exciting behind-the-scenes look at the research, writing, borrowing, design, and installation processes involved in putting on a major exhibition. Thinking about Exhibitions will use as case studies exhibitions held at major institutions around the world. Viewers can watch the lectures live on our Livestream page. Videos of the lectures will then be made available on our website 24 hours after the lecture.

8 March 2018
Mark Hallett | Looking Back: Three Eighteenth-Century Exhibitions

15 March 2018
Mark Hallett and Christine Riding | Looking Back: Hogarth, 2006–07 (Paris: Musée du Louvre; London: Tate Britain; and Barcelona: Caixa Forum)

22 March 2018
Mark Hallett and Sarah Victoria Turner | Looking Forward: The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition, 2018 (London: Royal Academy)

5 April 2018
Mark Hallett and George Shaw | Looking Forward: George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field, 2018–19 (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art; and Bath: Holburne Museum)

12 April 2018
Looking Back: Curating and Scholarship

The syllabus is available here»

Week One features our Director of Studies, Mark Hallett, discussing the history of exhibitions in Britain and reconstructs three eighteenth-century exhibitions.

Exhibition | Fresh Goods: Shopping for Clothing

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on March 3, 2018

Now on view at the Concord Museum:

Fresh Goods: Shopping for Clothing in a New England Town, 1750–1900
Concord Museum, 2 March — 8 July 2018

Curated by Jane Nylander and Richard Nylander with David Wood

The Concord Museum unveils a portion of its extensive historic clothing collection for the first time, along with textiles and decorative arts in a new exhibition, Fresh Goods: Shopping for Clothing in a New England Town, 1750–1900, on view from March 2 until July 8, 2018.

As part of the state-wide MASS Fashion collaborative project, the exhibition examines questions about the sources and context of small-town Massachusetts fashion through the Museum’s extensive historic clothing, textile, and decorative arts collection, as well as probate inventories, account books, advertisements, photographs, and letters and diaries of the period. Material culture historians Jane and Richard Nylander are the consulting curators for the exhibition. In careers spent reconstructing New England’s material past, the Nylanders have unearthed remarkable historical evidence and developed fresh and original interpretations on a wide variety of subjects.

Clothing conveys information about the wearer’s gender, age, rank, and wealth, as well as clues about subtler categories, such as taste, education, marital status, and aspiration. Through twenty evocative documented outfits, the exhibition will consider the shopping habits of Concordians in the 18th and 19th centuries. Included in the exhibition are pieces made at home with fabric purchased at shops on Concord’s main street, or made at the local workplaces of seamstresses, tailors, and milliners; or purchased in Boston, New York, London, or Paris. Through close looking at these rare and rarely-displayed artifacts, visitors will be encouraged to compare their own conventions for consuming clothing to people’s practices in the past.

The accessories and services available through the 18th- and 19th-century shops on Concord’s Milldam (the main street of the town), including mantua (dress) makers, tailors, hatters, and boot and shoe makers, will also be explored. In addition, visitors will be able to virtually ‘shop’ the Museum’s historic clothing collection through a specially designed interactive experience that utilizes an online shopping platform.

The title, Fresh Goods, is taken from a November 1816 newspaper ad for the Concord shop of Josiah Davis announcing the sale of fabrics such as figured flannels, crimson bombazettes, and white and black cambricks. The exhibition will be accompanied by a broad range of engaging public programs for both adults and children.

S E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

The Indigenous Look: Attire in 18th-Century Massachusetts
Thursday, 3 May 2018, 7:00pm

Aquinnah Wampanoag artist and designer Elizabeth James-Perry will discuss the period from 1750 to 1900 in terms of Indigenous Massachusetts attire and jewelry. While preferences often continued for use of soft smoked deerskin, elk and textured moose for clothing and sturdy footwear, along with a variety of furs and indigenous textiles, decreasing availability of some materials—especially in the 18th century—led to interesting combinations and substitutions of Native and Euro-American styles and materials. Click here for more information.

Transgressing the Color Line: Depictions of Free Blacks in the Popular Press
Thursday, 10 May 2018, 7:00pm

Join writer and historian Jonathan Michael Square as he analyzes images of free Africans Americans in New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston that appeared in the popular press. Specifically, a series of cartoons published in the early nineteenth century used to arouse Northern anti-black fears that free blacks might be threatening the racial, sexual, and class hierarchies. Fashion will be the central analytic as free blacks were often depicted as dandified buffoons. He will show how the overly fashioned bodies of the free blacks in northern metropolises transgressed and threatened the, until then, established slavocratic order. In partnership with the Robbins House. Click here for more information.

Shift, Stays, and Pannier
Thursday, 31 May 2018, 7:00pm

Join historians and living history interpreters Linda Greene and Michele Gabrielson for an in depth look at how women got dressed every day in the 1700s. They will explore the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of a typical 18th-century woman’s dress from a common, lower to middling class status to an upper class persona. Each layer of clothing will be discussed with a focus on fabric, style, and purpose. Perfect for anyone interested in colonial era costume or the lives of women in the 18th century. Click here for more information.

Seminar | Alden Gordon on the French Financial Crises, 1760s–70s

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 24, 2018

From the seminar flyer:

Alden Gordon | ‘Heureux ceux qui ont un coeur de bronze…’: The French Financial Crisis in the late Reign of Louis XV and Its Impact on Royal Manufactures and Royal Patronage
The Wallace Collection, London, 26 February 2018

Louis Tocqué, Portrait of the Marquis de Marigny, 1755 (Paris, Musée Carnavalet).

The French Royal Treasury experienced a crisis which began during the Seven Years’ War and persisted through the end of the reign of Louis XV and into that of Louis XVI. This particularly affected the Direction des Bâtiments du Roi which saw its allowances for the payments to the employees of the Gobelins and the entrepreneurs who maintained the many properties of the Maison du Roi cut to the bone in the 1760s and 1770s. To try to keep his skilled workforce intact, the Marquis de Marigny, Directeur-Général des Bâtiments, Arts, Académies et Manufactures du Roi, was forced to resort to exceptional tactics in paying employees while balancing the fulfillment of projects most essential to statecraft and the priorities of the royal family.

Notable among the projects pending during these years were the preparations for the marriage of the future Louis XVI to the Austrian princess Marie-Antoinette. The financial crisis forced Marigny to confront difficult choices in assigning new commissions while witnessing the distress of his loyal artists and craftsmen. His secretary, Jean Étienne Montucla, wrote of the emotional distress in Marigny’s inner circle saying that “I am saddened to give you such frightful news; happy those who, under these circumstances, have a heart of bronze, and who would suffer a whole world to perish without experiencing any movement of sensibility.”

This talk will address the archival evidence for understanding the financial crisis of the late 1760s and early 1770s and chronologically synchronize the actions on behalf of workers with simultaneous royal commissions. This research points to Marigny’s anguish over the fiscal starvation of his administration as the real motivation for his repeated efforts to resign his post rather than the often stated hypothesis that he had lost influence with Louis XV in the years after the death of his sister, the Marquise de Pompadour.

Alden Gordon is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Fine Art at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. This research forms part of the book in preparation on The Life and Career of the Marquis de Marigny: Patron in the Enlightenment.

Monday, 26 February 2018, 5.30pm, The Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Admission is free, and booking is not required. More information and details of future seminars can now be found here.

Lectures at The Clark, Spring 2018

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 8, 2018

A selection of lectures this spring at The Clark in Williamstown, MA (in addition to those associated with the exhibition Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection). . .

Lauren Cannady | Rococo Thought Patterns
13 February 2018, 5:30pm

If eighteenth-century curiosity cabinets were repositories for the dead and ossified, the garden was a parallel cabinet that provided a space for the viable, for living curiosities. Given that the organizing principle of the garden parterre was applied not only to plants, but equally to naturalia in the cabinet, this lecture will map the ways in which pattern and design within these different spaces served as one model in early modern empirical thinking and knowledge transmission.

Lauren R. Cannady is assistant director of the Research and Academic Program and Manton Research Fellow at the Clark Art Institute. She was previously a fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, and the Columbia University/NYU Consortium for Intellectual and Cultural History. She has published on eighteenth-century aesthetic philosophy and systems of the decorative and is preparing a book manuscript titled Natural Seduction: Thinking through the Early Modern French Garden. Her second project considers artisanal practice, collaboration, and exploitation in the global eighteenth century.

Nina Dubin | Master of the World
17 April 2018, 5:30pm

In the wake of the world’s first international financial crisis, Cupid claimed pride of place in French eighteenth-century art. The naked, winged infant deity personified not only the folly of love, but also the forces of inconstancy, mutability, and flightiness that were viewed as hallmarks of a modernizing credit economy.

Nina Dubin is associate professor of art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of Futures & Ruins: Eighteenth-Century Paris and the Art of Hubert Robert (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2010; 2012). Her work has been supported by institutions including the Getty Research Institute and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, where she was a Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow from 2013 to 2014. A specialist in European art since 1700, she is currently writing a book on love letter pictures in eighteenth-century France.