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News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

Anna Mercer

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Stephen Copley Research Report: Katie Snow at the Gillray Collection

For more information on how to apply for a BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, visit the BARS website.

Stephen Copley Research Report by Katie Snow

House of Lords Library: The Gillray Collection

This May, I visited the Parliamentary Archives in Westminster, London. Thanks to the generous support of BARS, I was able to undertake some key research for my PhD thesis, which explores representations of the breast in eighteenth-century visual satire. As a massive satirical print enthusiast, I’ve had my eye on the House of Lords Gillray collection for a while. Bequeathed to the library in 1899, this beautiful compilation of caricatures belonged to Sir William Augustus Fraser (1826-1898). Excitingly, some of the prints within the eleven volumes do not appear in the British Museum’s catalogue of prints and drawings – the go-to source for scholars of visual satire. The House of Lords Gillray collection is precious, and I’m grateful to the library for granting me access.

The intention of my PhD project is to progress understanding of the way in which ideological narratives of femininity, and especially motherhood, were (and still are), forged around the breast. Previous scholarship has overlooked the significance of the breast within visual satire, and my research seeks to rectify that. As expected, a lot of the prints within the eleven volumes feature bared breasts, and I collected numerous new sources. Viewing the satires in person also allowed me to notice previously missed details within familiar digitised prints. For example, a mother with an infant to her breast appears in the top left hand corner of Gillray’s famed Shakespeare Sacrificed;-or-The Offering to Avarice(1789) – an important feature that’s passed me by until now.

 

James Gillray, Shakespeare Sacrificed; – or – The Offering to Avarice, published by Hannah Humphrey, 1789

 

Detail of Shakespeare Sacrificed 

 

The image depicts a woman seated upon a cloud, cradling an infant. Her right breast is exposed, and the baby grasps her left nipple as she glances down. Two other figures huddle close, and the baby either urinates or passes wind into the disgusted face of the figure in blue. Every detail included in a satirical prints is significant, and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into the social, political and cultural inferences behind this representation.

Fraser was a meticulous collector, and his (huge and very heavy) volumes are almost perfectly preserved. Pasted upon blue paper with gold gilding, the prints are vivid in colour. The hobbyist habits of Fraser are interesting; he arranged his prints chronologically, inserted markers to indicate the prints that he was unable to secure, and most often devoted a double page to each print, presumably to prevent the colours rubbing off on each other. There are also occasions where Fraser has pasted in a black and white copy of a print and later added its colour equivalent, as below. This implies a preference for coloured satires, and/or for the latest version/all versions of a single print.

 

James Gillray, National Discourse. Published by Hannah Humphrey, 1780.

 

One of the highlights of the visit was the stunning print below. The Installation Supper (1788) unfolded like a concertina and stretched across the room, eliciting low whistles of appreciation from fellow reading room comrades. Depicting a dinner party given by the Knights of Bath on the 19 May 1788, The Installation-Suppercaricatures key social and political players including the Prince of Wales, Edmund Burke, and Maria Fitzherbert.[1]

 

James Gillray, The Installation-Supper, as given at the Pantheon, by the Knights of the Bath on the 26th of May, 1788. Published by S. W. Fores, 1788

 

Detail from print. The British Museum, BM Satires 7330.

 

Additionally, I was able to spend some of my time in London at the British Library. Here, I found sources for an upcoming chapter about the breast and discourses of social corruption, damage and disorder.

I would like to extend my gratitude to BARS for the generous Stephen Copley bursary, which supported an inspiring and productive visit to London. Further thanks are owed to the archival staff at the Parliamentary archives and the House of Lords librarians, who were most helpful, knowledgeable and kind.

[1] Further details of the guests within the print can be found in Mary Dorothy George’s description of the piece for the British Museum Catalogue. Mary Dorothy George, ‘Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum’, VI, 1938.

‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ Exhibition Opening

‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ Exhibition Opening

by Amy Wilcockson 

After months of hard work and sifting through the plentiful archives of Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham, Thursday 9 May 2019 saw the private view and official opening of the ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ exhibition.

All image credits to Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham

The exhibition centres on key themes including science, travel, industry, communication and exploration in the Romantic period, alongside focusing on a number of authors, poets and key figures irrevocably linked with the East Midlands.

As part of the team co-curating this exhibition, it was astounding to see all the pieces of the jigsaw, so to speak, put together. From October 2018, the exhibition has been conceptualised, items chosen for inclusion, and then board texts, case backs and captions written, and then of course, loan items sourced from a variety of locations including Newstead Abbey and Derby Museums. To see it all in one place, and open to the public was an amazing feeling. The private view invited members of the BARS Executive Committee, local news outlets, University of Nottingham and other institutions’ staff and students, and enjoyed a large turnout, with over one hundred people hearing Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, and Professor Lynda Pratt, one of the exhibition’s academic leads, officially open ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’ to the public.

Key items on display include Joseph Wright of Derby’s ‘Cottage on Fire’, kindly loaned by Derby Museums, which evinces Wright’s innovative use of light and shadow, and a number of wonderful loans from Newstead Abbey, including Lord Byron’s calling card, and a copy of Thomas Phillips’ famous 1813 portrait of Byron.

Many of Manuscript and Special Collections’ items are on display to the public for the first time and include first and second editions of Lord Byron’s poetry and juvenilia, autograph copies of poetry written by Henry Kirke White, and a selection of letters from Amelia Opie, Robert Southey, Joanna Baillie, Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, Mary Howitt and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Richard Arkwright, Derbyshire’s innovator and inventor is heavily featured, and visitors to the exhibition will also view anatomical drawings, scientific equipment and dinosaurs in an exploration of early nineteenth century science.

It is hard to choose a favourite item in the exhibition, and I am torn between a couple of items. The first are two locks of James Thomas Townley Tisdall’s hair, one taken aged four, and one upon his deathbed. As you can imagine, it was quite a surprise when we opened these little bundles and found what was within… Another favourite has to be the beautiful drawing of the ‘Crimson Cliffs’, an odd phenomenon witnessed by early Arctic explorer, Major John Ross and his crew, who initially believed that the red hue of the rock face was due to the droppings of seabirds (this isn’t the case!). ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies:Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ is full of an array of wonderful curiosities like those featured, and well worth a visit.

Open in the Weston Gallery at the University of Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre, the exhibition is running to coincide with the British Association of Romantic Studies’ 2019 Conference, ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’, held at the University of Nottingham in July 2019. The organisational team of the conference are also the co-curators of the exhibition, and we encourage all conference delegates to visit the exhibition and explore the University of Nottingham’s unique and varied manuscript collections on show.

This exhibition has been jointly curated by a team from the School of English (Professor Lynda Pratt, Dr Máire ní Fhlathúin, Johnny Cammish, Colette Davies, Ruby Hawley-Sibbett, Jodie Marley, Amy Wilcockson and Dr Charlotte May) and Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham. The exhibition continues until Sunday 25 August, and is open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 12noon-4pm. Admission is free.

 

A series of wider engagement talks, gallery tours and film screenings are also available during the run of the exhibition which include –

Free Lunchtime Talks: Held in the Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts Centre. All talks begin at 1pm and last for approximately one hour. Advance booking is recommended.

Gothic Haunting from the 1790s to the Present – Wednesday 5 June 2019.
The condition of haunting is central to the gothic mode. Dr Matt Green, Associate Professor in the School of English, University of Nottingham, explores haunting and being haunted, discussing creative artists and writers from William Blake to Alan Moore in a survey of texts and narratives of the gothic tradition from its hey-day in the 1790s into the 21stcentury.

Romantic Reputations: Angelic Austen and Beastly Byron? – Tuesday 2 July 2019.
Was Lord Byron really ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, and was Jane Austen ‘a narrow-gutted spinster’? As two of the most enduringly popular writers of the Romantic period, their lives have been scrutinised and their moral reputations polarised. University of Nottingham PhD Researchers Ruby Hawley-Sibbett and Amy Wilcockson ask whether their lives, loves and works have been misrepresented.

Paupers and Poetry: The Workhouse at Southwell – Friday 26 July 2019. [During the BARS Conference].
The early 19thcentury is often seen as a time of invention, creativity and technology. However, it also saw the development of an institution that shaped the lives of less fortunate members of society for decades to come – the Workhouse. This talk by Dr Charlotte May will focus on the Workhouse at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, whose founder was a close connection of the poet Lord Byron.

Romanticism, Caricature and Politics – Tuesday 20 August.
The years 1780-1840 are sometimes regarded as the ‘golden age of caricature’. In this illustrated talk, Dr Richard Gaunt, Associate Professor in the Department of History, considers the rough, boisterous sensibilities which caricaturists brought to their craft.

 

And:

Gallery Tours: Join the exhibition curators for a guided walk through of the exhibition and learn about the stories behind the items on display.
Weston Gallery, free, advance booking required.
Wednesday 5 June, 2.30-2.30pm
Tuesday 2 July, 2.30-3.30pm

Film Screening of Mary Shelley (2017) – Tuesday 25 June, 7pm.
Running time 2 hours. Held in the Djanogly Theatre. Tickets are £5 (£3 concessions).
A romance based on the relationship of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Elle Fanning) and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth). When the couple leave England with Mary’s step-sister Claire to stay at Lord Byron’s villa near Geneva, Mary is inspired to write one of the most important novels of the nineteenth century, Frankenstein. The film will be introduced by Dr Charlotte May.

Romanticism at The Royal Institution: 7 June 2019

For those in or near London this summer…

 

Join fellow Romantic enthusiasts at The Royal Institution on 7th June for a FREE half-day symposium in association with the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar and the Fordham Romanticism Group, New York. Listen to talks by leading scholars who will restore the forgotten literary history of the Royal Institution and highlight its unique interdisciplinary contribution to British Romantic culture.

The event will conclude with a wine reception to celebrate the launch of Sarah Zimmerman’s new book The Romantic Literary Lecture in Britain (Oxford University Press).

Book here.

Call for Papers: Teaching (the) Romantic / Romantic Teaching

Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons seeks essays that address a wide range of topics, methods and themes related to the teaching of Romanticism. For the past several years we have published special volumes that speak to a specific issue within Romanticist pedagogy, such as ‘Romanticism and Technology’, ‘Teaching Global Romanticism’, or ‘Teaching the Romantic with the Contemporary’. For this volume we’d like to issue more broad and open call for essays that offer innovative approaches to teaching Romanticism. We are especially keen on approaches that consider Romanticism as methodology or practice and seek to reproduce it in the classroom.

‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’, Caspar David Friedrich (c.1818)

 

Possible topics include but should be in no way limited to:

Teaching specific Romantic-period authors through an engagement with their poetics or aesthetic practices

  • Teaching Romantic-era pedagogy, for example, Rousseau or the Edgeworths
  • Teaching Romanticism in the 21st-century classroom
  • Teaching Romanticism collaboratively
  • Teaching Romanticism as an act of resistance

Please submit 300-word abstracts to ruderman.4@osu.edu by June 30. If accepted, completed drafts would be due by September 30.

The Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons is a peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to the presentation of essays about teaching that offer sample teaching materials as well, from printable handouts to ‘digital-born’ teaching materials.

Stephen Copley Research Report: Eleanor Bryan on Vampires

With thanks to Eleanor Bryan for this report. Want to apply for an award? Information can be found here.

The Stephen Copley Research Award allowed me to spend four days in London attending a conference and conducting archival research at the British Library. The Open Graves Open Minds (OGOM) conference was held at Keats House in Hampstead and was entitled ‘“Some Curious Disquiet”: Polidori, the Byronic vampire, and its Progeny’. The event was prompted by the bicentenary of The Vampyre and featured papers on topics ranging from contemporary adaptations to the vampire’s folkloric and Byronic roots.

My PhD thesis concerns dramatic adaptations of Gothic novels, namely Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein(1818) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula(1897): two iconic texts which are frequently paired together in adaptations. The repeated coupling of two narratives with such vastly disparate publication dates is intriguing, as the texts deal with very different cultural contexts and social concerns. My thesis attributes this in part to Lord Byron’s ghost story competition at the Villa Diodati in 1816, the ‘year without a summer’, from which both Frankenstein’s monster and the first literary vampire originate. Attending the OGOM Polidori conference allowed me to learn more about the literary history of the vampire pre-Dracula, while simultaneously updating myself on emerging scholarship within this area. The event itself was holistic in its approach and covered a wide range of themes which will serve to inform my future readings of vampiric texts and, subsequently, the next chapter of my thesis. Particular highlights included Sir Christopher Frayling’s keynote, Marcus Sedgwick’s discussion of the links between vampirism and tuberculosis, and a paper on the stage effects used in vampiric drama by Ivan Phillips.

Image via OGOM

The latter half of my trip was spent in the British Library reading rooms, in which I passed the first day reading Bram Stoker’s manuscript for Dracula: Or, The Un-dead – a 47-scene-long dramatic reading that was performed prior to the publication of Draculain order to secure dramatic copyright. This script consists of a mixture of Stoker’s own handwritten notes interspersed with cut and pasted extracts of the publisher’s proof copy. Having the opportunity to read this document not only gave me a fascinating insight into late-Victorian theatre, but also allowed me to explore how Stoker originally envisaged his eponymous Count for the stage.

I used my second day to examine early nineteenth-century playbills of dramatic adaptations of Frankenstein and The Vampyre. I was particularly interested in specific actors’ portrayals, as some individuals represented both monsters. This trend is seen in cinematic adaptations, with actors such as Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., and later Christopher Lee playing both Frankenstein’s monster and Count Dracula throughout their careers, but is yet to be identified in early dramatizations. I had established that nineteenth-century adaptations had featured the same actor playing both monsters. However, through my scrutiny of early playbills, I have been able to determine that the two roles were not only played by the same actor, but also, for a short period of time, played by the same actor at the same time on alternate days of the week. This piece of information will serve to reinforce my application of theatrical theory to the two texts, and further establish links between Frankenstein’s monster and the vampire.

I’m extremely grateful to BARS for this award. Without their assistance, my visit – which has proved invaluable to the progression of my thesis – would not have been possible. I would also like to thank the OGOM team for organising such a fantastic conference, and the Reference Desk team at the British Library (especially John) for all of their helpful suggestions on how to use the library’s resources to their full potential.

– Eleanor Bryan (University of Lincoln)

Read more about the latest OGOM conference via their Twitter feed, here

Romanticism Celebrates 25 Years

Written by Romanticism editor, Nicholas Roe.

The 25th publishing anniversary of Romanticism offers an opportunity to reflect on the origin of the journal three decades ago. In the mid-1990s there was no UK-based journal dedicated to publishing a broad range of essays, articles and reviews in the Romantic field. There were specialised journals, some of them of remarkable longevity such as the Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin and the Byron Journal. The Review of English Studies and Essays in Criticism published essays on Romantic literature from time to time alongside other material. In the US there were the Keats-Shelley Journal, Blake Quarterly, The Wordsworth Circle, and other author-focused publications, as well as the prestigious and long-established Studies in Romanticism. There seemed to be a gap for a new UK-based scholarly journal that would publish the most significant new critical and scholarly work in the field, with a reviews section dedicated to longer reviews of new work in the field.

Back cover of the first issue of Romanticism (1995).

The founding editors were myself, Drummond Bone, Jane Stabler, and Tim Webb. We met at Bow-of-Fife on a summer afternoon in 1994 and discussed how the journal might best be projected and published: we agreed that it should focus on the big picture, 1750-1850, that it should welcome critical, historical, textual and bibliographical essays prepared to the highest scholarly standards, and that it must seek to represent a full range of current methodological and theoretical debate. The immediate problem was how to find a publisher, and who to invite to join the board of Advisory Editors.

Vivian Bone was at that time Director of Edinburgh University Press, so there was, we hoped, a prestigious Scottish University publisher that would welcome the new journal and put it into successful production. The founding board of Advisory Editors comprised the following roster of distinguished scholars (with their 1995 affiliations):

John Barnard (Leeds University)
Anne Barton (Cambridge University)
Lilla Crisafulli Jones (University of Bologna)
John Donovan (University of York)
Kelvin Everest (Liverpool University)
David Fairer (Leeds University)
Neil Fraistat (University of Maryland)
Paul Hamilton (University of Southampton)
John Kerrigan (Cambridge University)
Greg Kucich (University of Notre Dame)
Nigel Leask (Cambridge University)
Grevel Lindop (Manchester University)
J. C. C. Mays (University College Dublin)
Vincent Newey (Leicester University)
Lucy Newlyn (Oxford University)
Michael O’Neill (Durham University)
David Punter (Stirling University)
Susan Wolfson (Princeton University)

The first issue of Romanticism was published by Edinburgh University Press in April 1995, with new work my Morton D. Paley, Jennifer Wallace, John Barnard, Philip Shaw, Simon Bainbridge, Jane Stabler, Timothy Clark and Mark Allen, Nick Havely, John Kerrigan and David Chandler.

Front cover of the first issue of Romanticism (1995).

Originally published twice a year, since 2006 Romanticism has been published triannually. Katie Garner at St Andrews University is now reviews editor, and the first of three 25th anniversary issues, a stimulating gathering of essays on ‘Transporting Romanticism’ has just been published. From bees to ballooning, ‘Jane Austen’s Mobility’, and Romantic and Victorian nonsense poetry Romanticism continues to show new directions of travel in Romantic studies. Some planned future issues will focus on ‘Romanticism and Ageing’, Thomas De Quincey, John Clare, and Jane Austen.

Find out more about Romanticism and read the latest issue, on ‘Transporting Romanticism’, here.

To celebrate, the editors have hand-selected 25 articles from the archive which are free to read! Read them here.

This blog has been reposted with kind permission from Prof Nicholas Roe. You can see the original post here.

19th Century Matters: Digital Mapping Training Day, May 2019

Are you an Early Career Researcher working on the long nineteenth century? Have you ever wondered why bother with digital mapping and what it could contribute to your research?

Registration is now open for a one day research and training event in digital mapping for Early Career Researchers, including current PhD students, in English and History, 29 May 2019, 10.30-16.30, at the Ruskin Library and Research Centre, Lancaster University. The day aims to support and inspire absolute beginners in considering using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in their own research. The day will include two training sessions in using ArcGIS Online, a keynote speaker and two researcher talks that will showcase successful research projects which use GIS to study historical and literary texts. The event should appeal to Early Career Researchers in English and History whose research spans across the nineteenth century, from the early Romantics to the Victorians. 

 

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Ian N. Gregory (Lancaster University)

 

Speakers:

Dr Christopher Donaldson (Lancaster University)

Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores (Lancaster University)

 

ArcGIS Online Training Sessions Facilitator:

Dr Joanna Taylor (University of Manchester)

 

The event is free, and limited to twenty places. If you are interested in attending the event please use this link to register. Please note, attendees will need to bring their own fully-charged laptop to participate in the two training sessions.

The training day is sponsored by the British Association for Romantic Studies and the British Association for Victorian Studies and is an outcome of their joint Nineteenth-Century Matters fellowship. There are eleven £50 travel grants available for ECRs living 30 miles or more from Lancaster; please find details of how to apply at the above link.

Conference Report: Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

Friday 8 March 2019, University of Sheffield

By Hannah Moss, PhD Researcher in the School of English

Scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day, Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century took place on Friday 8 March at the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute. I organised this one-day conference, kindly sponsored by BARS, to reappraise the role women played in the arts during the period. As a PhD candidate specialising in the representation of women’s art in the Romantic-era novel, my aim was to bring together fellow researchers working on connected topics in the hope of fostering interdisciplinary thought.

With 2019 marking the 250thanniversary of the inaugural Royal Academy exhibition, I felt that it was both important and timely for an event to bring female creativity in the period to the forefront of discussion. Women & the Arts brought together those specialising in Art History, Literature, Theatre, and Music to share their research, with the event particularly targeted at those working on the intersection between literature and the arts in order to explore the ways in which writers represent artistic endeavour. The international reach of the call for papers saw delegates travelling to Sheffield from as far afield as France and Canada, with the conference hosting 14 speakers across 4 panels, plus a keynote address from Dr Claudine Van Hensbergen (Northumbria University).

Postgraduate researchers, early career scholars, lecturers and curators all came together to share their research on a diverse range of topics including colour theory, country house collections, collage and copies. I opened the first panel on Characterising the Female Artist with a paper arguing for creativity in the copy, using the artist heroines in Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian (1797) and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826) to show how Radcliffe and Shelley raise the status of the copy in a way that self-reflexively promotes the woman writer. Kim Rondeau (Concordia University) followed with a fascinating insight into her research on Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun as a politically and ideologically undesirable subject for feminist Art History, noting how Simone de Beauvoir criticised her insipid ‘smiling maternity’. Next, Rosie Razzall (Royal Collection Trust) presented on the sacred tokens found pasted to numerous examples of Rosalba Carriera’s pastels, commenting upon how this performative practice contributes to her self-image. Miriam Al Jamil (Birkbeck) rounded-off the panel by discussing Eleanor Coade’s commercial success producing artificial stone, and examining the trade cards in which she characterises herself as an emblematic neo-classical figure, ‘Fiery Force’.

A break for coffee and a selection of vegan and gluten free cakes allowed us to refuel ahead of the next round of presentations. With two parallel panels to choose from, Poetry, Performance & Patronage opened with Eva Lippold (Independent Researcher) discussing the representation of intellectual women on stage, with particular reference to Frances Burney’s The Witlings (1779)Jemima Hubberstey (University of Oxford/English Heritage) followed with her paper exploring the critical voices of Jemima Marchioness Grey and Catherine Talbot in the Wrest coterie, noting how both women had a keen critical eye for literature as well as an avid love for reading, before Léa Renucci (EHESS-University of Verona) spoke on poetry and sociability in relation to the pastorelle of the Accademia degli Arcadi in the Eighteenth Century.

The parallel panel on Women Patrons & Collectors saw Amy Lim (University of Oxford/Tate) question the concept of gendered spheres through her case study of the art patronage of Elizabeth Seymour, Duchess of Somerset. Lizzie Rogers (University of Hull) maintained our focus on the Seymour family, following with a paper on the social and creative worlds of Frances Seymour, Countess of Hertford, and Elizabeth Seymour Percy, First Duchess of Northumberland, noting Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for sharing her collection even though the likes of Horace Walpole mercilessly mocked her as a collector. Elizabeth Ford (IASH University of Edinburgh) presented on the influence of Susanna, Lady Eglinton – a 6ft tall beauty whose eyebrows, and flute-playing, inspired sonnets. This paper included a musical interlude so we could listen to extracts of the songs discussed.

After a break for lunch, and an opportunity to discuss the morning’s papers, we gathered together for our final panel of the day on Material Culture, Art & Society. Susan Bennett (William Shipley Group for RSA History) opened by promoting the Society of Arts as a valuable resource for researchers, charting the Society’s long association of supporting women artists, rewarding many examples of experimental artistic practice with prizes. Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh) gave us an insight into her fascinating project on collage before Modernism, covering issues of periodization and the divide between art and craft, whilst Serena Dyer (University of Hertfordshire) used Ann Frankland Lewis’ beautiful ‘Dress of the Year’ watercolours as a means of engaging with women’s material lives, noting the social, political, familial and emotional implications behind the choice of dresses depicted. Finally, Alexandra Loske (University of Sussex/Royal Pavilion) introduced us to Mary Gartside: flower painter, teacher, colour theorist (c.1860s-c.1808). Loske’s research has found that Gartside was probably the first woman to publish on colour theory, and as a special treat for attendees, she brought along her own copy Gartside’s Essay on Light and Shade(1805) so we could view her experimental colour blots at close hand.

A link between many of the papers highlighted during the time allocated for questions was the issue of women’s commercial involvement in the arts, and this was a theme which continued to be explored in our keynote address: ‘Female Wits and Muses: Professional Women and the Arts in the Eighteenth Century’. Claudine van Hensbergen (Northumbria University) challenged the problematic definition of the term ‘professional’ in relation to money rather than skill when we still live with a gender pay gap. One example cited was Mary Beale who is often credited as the first professional woman artist, but it was a move to a fashionable address rather than a notible improvement in skill which marked her transition.

Live Tweeting was encouraged throughout the day in order to engage with a wider audience who were not able to attend in person. In this spirit, Madeleine Pelling (University of York) submitted a wonderfully detailed poster presentation on the Duchess of Portland’s vase and was on hand to answer any questions online even thought she wasn’t able to join us in Sheffield. You can look back at what was being discussed on the day by reading the feed from @WomensArt2019 or by following the hashtag #WomensArt2019.

Positive feedback received on the day via comment cards and Twitter focused on the cultural relevance of the event, the range of papers presented, and the inclusive atmosphere – not to mention the conference cake printed with Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait with Two Pupils (1785, The Met: New York). Well, it wouldn’t have been a conference on eighteenth-century art without a portrait cake!

It just remains for me to say thank you to everyone who attended for making Women & the Arts such a friendly and intellectually stimulating environment, as well as to BARS whose generous funding not only helped with running costs, but meant that postgraduate travel bursaries could be offered. I hope that the conversations initiated during the course of the day will continue, and aim to publish a special edition from the conference proceedings to disseminate the research further. I envisage that this will be just the first event of this kind, and would very much like to run another Women & the Arts conference in the near future.

– Hannah Moss  (PhD Researcher at the University of Sheffield & organiser of Women & the Arts)

Read more about BARS conference funding here.

Stephen Copley Research Awards 2019: The Winners

The BARS Executive Committee has established these bursaries in order to support postgraduate and early-career research within the UK. They are intended to help fund expenses incurred through travel to libraries and archives necessary to the student’s research. As anticipated, this year we received a large number of applications, many of which were of a very high quality indeed. Please do join us in congratulating the very worthy winners. Romanticism is alive and kicking, we’re pleased to say!

  • Valentina P. Aparicio (University of Edinburgh)
  • Gabriella Barnard-Edmunds (University of York)
  • Stephen Basdeo (RIASA Leeds)
  • Eleanor Bryan (University of Lincoln)
  • Hiroki Iwamoto (University of Bristol)
  • Francesco Marchionni (Durham University)
  • Alice Rhodes (University of York)
  • Katie Snow (University of Exeter)
  • Jonathan Taylor (University of Surrey)

Once they have completed their research trips each winner will write a brief report on their projects. These will be published on the website and circulated through our social media. For more information about the bursaries, including reports from past winners, please visit our website.

Daniel Cook, Bursaries Officer, BARS. University of Dundee. d.p.cook@dundee.ac.uk

19 February 2019

Call for Papers: Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century

University of Lincoln, 23rd July 2019 – website here

Organisers: Dr Alice Crossley, Dr Amy Culley, and Dr Rebecca Styler

Plenary Speaker: Prof. Devoney Looser, Arizona State University

‘Ageing in Public: Women Authors in the Nineteenth Century’

This conference responds to the burgeoning critical interest of humanities scholars in age, ageing, and stages of life from childhood to old age in the nineteenth century.

The figure of the child and the imaginative investment in the idea of childhood are the focus of seminal studies of ageing in this period.

However, recent critical engagements have suggested the value of exploring ageing identities and cultural articulations of age across the life course, in dialogue with one another, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

In light of this development, this conference seeks to address the experiences, conceptions, and representations of the ageing process in the literature and culture of the nineteenth century.

W.P. Frith’s ‘Many Happy Returns’ (1856) ‘Harrogate Museums and Arts, Harrogate Borough Council’

We welcome papers from all humanities disciplines (including, but not restricted to, English, History, Art History, and Religious Studies) and covering a diverse range of media, forms, and genres, such as fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, conduct literature, children’s literature, religious writing, periodicals, portraiture, photography, satirical prints, material culture, medical literature, institutions and their discourses, longevity literature, advertising, elegy.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Relationships between stages of the life course: childhood, adolescence, maturity, midlife, old age, longevity, premature ageing, infantilization
  • Ageing and relationships: inter and intra-generational friendship, age heterogamy, familial roles (mothers, fathers, grandparents), sociability
  • Ageing and intersectionality (gender, class, sexuality, race, religion, nation)
  • Developments in critical gerontology, view of the field in relation to C19th studies
  • Ageing and authorship: juvenilia and ‘late style’, age and critical reception
  • Materiality of ageing: souvenirs, tokens, evocative objects
  • Ageing and the body: health, illness, puberty/menopause, sexuality
  • Ageism, gerontophobia, ageing as decline and counter-cultural narratives
  • Ageing as cultural performance, age-consciousness and (dis)identification
  • Nostalgia, recollection, memory
  • Ageing in the light of faith/doubt
  • Ageing and a sense of place: home, travel, institutions, nature, revisiting and returning

We are delighted that a selection of papers from the conference will form the basis of a special issue on ‘Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century’ for the journal Age, Culture, Humanities to appear in 2021.

Please send proposals of no more than 200 words by 13th May 2019