It’s the first day of my two-week research visit to the Lewis Walpole Library, and I’ve just finished looking through the anonymous volume Rarities from Strawberry Hill, made sometime around the 1890s. The volume (essentially a scrapbook) once brought together letters from Walpole’s voluminous correspondence, printed portraits, clippings, playbills, bookplates (including the above example, Anne Damer’s, based on a design by her close friend Agnes Berry) a lock of hair, and even two miniature portraits, who are conspicuous in their absence from the volume, leaving two holes where they were once fitted (pictured below). Along with a number of other objects from the book – including various letters and the aforementioned lock of hair – the miniatures have been removed and preserved elsewhere: in the case of miniatures, these are now on display at Strawberry Hill itself, where they now tell a different narrative in a different setting.
This dialogue of absence and presence, and how these states intersect with how we construct the history of the eighteenth century, reminded me of an earlier post I made here, regarding Strawberry Hill itself. When visiting the house last Summer, I bemoaned the absence of any kind of narrative regarding Walpole’s queerness, despite the prevalence of this within scholarship on Walpole and his friendships. I hope that the chapter I’m researching here (on Anne Damer’s inheritance of Strawberry Hill and queer heirlooming) at the Lewis Walpole Library can meaningfully contribute to these conversations, revealing some of those things that are sorely absent from the scholarship on Walpole.
I’m thrilled to have been awarded a Harry Ransom Center Short Term Research Fellowship in the Humanities to conduct research on my postdoctoral research project on collage before modernism. The Harry Ransom Center has a wealth of collections relevant to the project, including the infamous (but rather unstudied) Durenstein! Blood Book, created by John Bingley Garland in 1854 and given to his daughter shortly after. The ‘Blood Book’ is just one object I’ll be looking at during my month-long research fellowship at the Center, which I’ll be taking in 2018.
Robert Dighton, The Macaroni Painter, or Billy Dimple sitting for his Picture, 1772. British Museum, London.
First up, Dominic Janes’ post, ‘A Queer Taste for Macaroni‘, on the Public Domain Review. I recently had an article accepted for a special issue of Aphra Behn Online: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830 that explores the concept of “camp” with regards to eighteenth-century studies. My article will locate macaronism within a visual and ironic rhetoric of campness, and Janes’ new book Oscar Wilde Prefigured: Queer Fashioning and British Caricature, 1750-1900 is an essential resource for this work.
Secondly, I was hugely excited to read about the National Gallery of Victoria’s upcoming exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800, which draws upon the NGV’s diverse permanent collection to explore the theme of love in art, and the changing representations of this complex emotion throughout the early modern period in Europe.
I also enjoyed reading this review of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge’s exhibition Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, which the role of domestic objects in sustaining and inspiring faith.
I was also intrigued to read: this post from Notches Blog on ‘Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: A Roundtable on the Politics of Sexual Representations in the 1970s‘; and this fascinating article on the spiritualist artist Hima af Klint.
I’ve got several multi-media picks this week: first, this episode of The Why Factor on using our hands; this episode of the Art Detective Podcast on Tipu’s Tiger – with Sona Datta; and finally, this video of Mary Beard’s lecture, Women in Power.
The following CFPs and conferences also caught my attention this week:
CFP: Fashion, Dress, and Post-Postmodernism (September 20, 2017)
CFP: Vistas. 19th Century Studies (Philadelphia, 15-17 Mar 18)
CONF: Rejection & Recovery in the History of Art & Architecture (Boston, 24-25 Mar 17)
CFP: Early Netherlandish Art in the Long 19th Century (Ghent, 24 – 26 May 18)
CFP: Art of Power: The 3rd Earl of Bute, Politics and Collecting in Enlightenment Britain (2nd Oct 2017 – 4th Oct 2017)
WORKSHOP: Approaching Inner Lives: Thinking, Feeling, Believing, 1300-1900 (Tuesday 28 March 2017)
Queen Charlotte (detail; 1771), Johan Joseph Zoffany.
First up this week, this Apollo Magazine review of Yale Centre for British Art‘s exhibition Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte and the Shaping of the Modern World, which runs until April 30th (frustratingly, just one day before I arrive there as a visiting scholar!).
Secondly, I read Alice Kelly’s article ‘How to make writing in the humanities less lonely‘, which discusses TORCH’s writing group with interest, as the group was a crucial source of inspiration for our own version in Edinburgh.
I thoroughly enjoyed this post from the National Museum of Scotland on Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament, which is an important object within the museum’s newly curated art and design galleries.
The Storifys for each day of the three days of the War Through Other Stuff conference are now available here. I’ll be posting some thoughts from the conference in an upcoming blog post next week.
I was also captivated by this Victoria and Albert Museum video ‘Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust Houses‘, which examines rare surviving examples of vase sets and ceramic ornaments from National Trust houses being displayed on furniture and in period rooms at the V&A.
I was excited to see that the special inaugural issue of the Journal of Romanticism, on Romanticism and mysticism, is now available for purchase.
Finally, I saw a reminder this week that all of the University of Cambridge Things sessions are available as podcasts online – I must catch up asap!
The following CFPs, conferences and CFAs also caught my attention this week:
CFP: Evidence of Power in the Ruler Portrait, 14th – 18th Centuries (1-2 Dec 17)
CFP: Material Histories of Time: Objects and Practices, 14th-18th centuries (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Musée international d’horlogerie, November 30 – December 1, 2017)
CFP: “Hawthorne and Things” MLA 2018
CONF: Dress and Diplomacy (Copenhagen, 22 Mar 17)
CFP: AAH Summer Symposium: Re/presenting the Body (Glasgow,
6-7 Jul 17)
CFP: Collections – Scholars – Interpretations (Tbilisi, 2-3
CONF: Graduate Student Symposium – History of 19th-Century Art (New York, 26 Mar 17)
CFP: Special issue of Southern Cultures: Southern Things (Material Culture)
CFA: The Pre-Raphaelites and Antiquity (Special Issue Open Cultural Studies)
CFA: On Uses of Black Camp (Special Issue Open Cultural Studies)
CFA: Materiality, Objects and Objecthood (Special Issue Open Cultural Studies)
I’m thrilled to have been awarded a Huntington Library Short Term Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year. The award will allow me to conduct research for my postdoctoral project Collage before Modernism. The broader project will provide an unprecedented history of ‘assemblage’ produced in Britain, North America, and British India between 1700 and 1900. Employing an inclusive definition of the term, the project will examine a variety of material and literary forms of assemblage, including paper collage, shellwork, scrapbooking, and photocollage, and will explore how their production reflected the intimacies, interests, and identities of their makers.
The Fellowship will facilitate research for several aspects of the broader project, including an examination of a number of scrapbooks, commonplace books (both manuscript and published), and albums in the Library’s collections. I’ll also be looking at the correspondence of Robert Southey, Charles Lamb, and Elizabeth Montagu, and a number of grangerized books.
John Richard Coke Smyth, Elizabeth, Lady Eastlake. Watercolour
4 3/4 in. x 4 1/4 in. (121 mm x 108 mm), National Portrait Gallery, London.
First up, the conference programme for the Writing Art: Women Writers as Art Critics in the Long Eighteenth Century conference. The conference intersects with a number of my projects, firstly an article I’m currently writing on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women travel writers and the narratives they tell through objects, and secondly, #WaysofSheing, a twitter-based project that aims to highlight and celebrate the contributions of female art historians. The conference features presentations on Elizabeth, Lady Eastlake (pictured above), Germaine de Staël, and the travel writer Maria Graham.
I enjoyed Sarah Read’s article ‘‘Gushing Out Blood’: Defloration and Menstruation in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure‘, from a recent edition of the Journal of Medical Humanities. In the article Read explores how Cleland ‘repeatedly depicts and eroticises the act of defloration’ in his erotic 1740s novel Fanny Hill.
Deborah Cohen’s The Atlantic article ‘Before Straight and Gay: The discreet, disorienting passions of the Victorian era‘, which begins with a microcosmic examination of the queer histories of the Benson family, is a fascinating read.
I was fascinated by this BBC News video, on the forgotten Victorian botanical painter Marianne North.
I also really enjoyed this revealing interview with April Haynes, author of Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America in a recent post on the Notches blog.
As ever, the Public Domain Review has been a wonderful source of articles and objects. I particularly enjoyed this recent essay by Yvonne Seale on nineteenth-century genealogy.
The following CFPs and conferences also caught my attention:
CONF: Women, Authorship, and Identity in the Long Eighteenth Century: New Methodologies (June 17, 2017)
CFP: Anonymity Unmasked: Identity, Agency, Responsibility (September 13-15, 2017)
CFP: Death and the Maiden (July 21-24, 2017)
CFP: Romanticism and Popular Culture (November 3-5, 2017)
Please join us for the next session of this year‘s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar series at the University of Edinburgh. The session will present new work on eighteenth-century portraiture, and will feature Sydney Ayres (University of Edinburgh) who will be speaking on ‘Representing Robert Adam: Biography, Portraiture & Memory’, and Nel Whiting, (University of Dundee) whose paper is entitled ‘‘if they hang not in proper Places, they will not have a good Effect’: Portraiture, Place and Position’.
All welcome. Seminars are held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm, and are followed by a drinks reception.
You can also follow the series on its twitter account @ECRS_Edinburgh. We’ll be live-tweeting the papers from that handle.