The RIN book, Romanticism and Illustration ed. Haywood, Matthews and Shannon is out!
Thank you to our wonderful contributors, and to CUP for producing such an elegant tome.
To celebrate, we are inviting everyone to the Book Launch: this will take place at the Wine Reception at the end of the inaugural event of the GWM Reynolds Society. Please come along and have a drink with us to celebrate both the launch of Romanticism and Illustration, and the launch of this new literary society!
Date: Tuesday July 23rd, 2019
Time: 6pm onwards
Location: City of Westminster Archives Centre, 10 St. Anne’s Street, London
Poster with full details below:
Illustration Studies: New Approaches, New Directions
The Sixth ILLUSTR4TIO Conference
22-24 April 2020
Luisa Calè (Birkbeck, University of London)
Julia Thomas (Cardiff University)
Co-organisers: Christina Ionescu (Mount Allison University, Canada) and Ann Lewis (Birkbeck, University of London)
Illustration Studies has, in recent years, emerged as a new and vibrant discipline with its own journals, book series, conferences, websites, and research networks. The renewed interest and dynamic research in this field of study follows a period of long neglect by scholars, resulting from the uncertain cross-medial status of illustration and its position between disciplines. Indeed, the frontiers of this discipline remain nebulous and its terminology, key issues, and critical methods are in need of re-evaluation. By its very nature, illustration opens up a number of fundamental questions regarding the relation between text and image, the illustrated book and visual culture, artistry and reproduction.
Is illustration by definition text-inspired and connected to a material book? Can its images also be considered within a uniquely visual field of reference and how does this affect its signifying potential? Should one consider illustration as a form of adaptation? Do theorists, scholars, practitioners, and educators share the same view of illustration? Does the art of illustration deserve more scholarly recognition across disciplines than its utilitarian and commercial products (and how has this changed over time)? Embedded in a context of production and connected to a text to a variable degree, illustration is a medium with its own conventions, traditions, and signifying practices that currently requires in-depth and interdisciplinary reconsideration as an object of study. A re-evaluation of illustration as a medium and of Illustration Studies as a discipline must also take into account new directions in the training that illustrators-to-be receive. All of these questions can be understood historically – so the idea of ‘New Directions’ can be addressed in respect of the contemporary state of Illustration Studies – but also in terms of significant shifts in the way that illustration has been understood and approached in other periods.
Papers that propose a reassessment of illustration across different fields of research, that theorise interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches, or that chart new directions in Illustration Studies, are of particular interest to the conference organisers. Avenues for reflection include, but are not limited to, fresh perspectives on:
- key concepts in the theory and practice of illustration (including its changing relation to notions of intermediality, intervisual paradigms, and adaptation);
- the evolving place of illustration (in the history of the book, in the history of art, in the study of visual culture, in literary studies, and/or in the digital humanities);
- the question of illustration in different genres and media;
- the changing relation of text and image in illustration: issues of hierarchy, fidelity, intertextuality and intericonicity;
- the impact of new technologies (contemporary and in the past) on the practice and reception of different forms of illustration;
- practical applications: e.g. illustration as a means of branding and consumer studies, pedagogical uses of illustration, or the professional training of the illustrator today;
- illustration in the global context, in different national cultures, or as a cross-cultural force.
In keeping with Illustr4tio’s aim to animate a dialogue between practitioners and critics, proposals are invited from illustrators, authors, printmakers, publishers, curators, collectors, and researchers. Papers can be presented in English or French. Proposals (500 words), accompanied by a bio-bibliographical note (100-150 words), should be sent to Christina Ionescu (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ann Lewis (email@example.com) by March 15, 2019. (An early decision can be made upon request to support applications for conference travel.) The publication of a selection of revised papers is envisaged.
Sophie Aymes (Université de Bourgogne)
Nathalie Collé (Université de Lorraine)
Brigitte Friant-Kessler (Université de Valenciennes)
Christina Ionescu (Mount Allison University)
Maxime Leroy (Université de Haute Alsace)
Ann Lewis (Birkbeck, University of London)
RIN members familiar with Jahn Holljen Thon and his works will be saddened by the news of his passing. The following obituary was written by David Skilton.
Jahn Holljen Thon
We are sad to announce the recent death of Jahn Holljen Thon, who held a chair at Agder University in Kristiansand, Norway, and was Norway’s most innovative researcher in the field of illustrated literature. He was earlier the main cultural critic for left-wing newspaper, and it may be the fact that he did not fit neatly into the inherited academic disciplines that enabled him to pay attention to previously undervalued cultural phenomena such as Scandinavian verbal-visual works. He came to Illustration Studies via an interest in Norwegian works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and, like many of us, found that general pronouncements on how illustration functions were simply not adequate in relation to his challenging material. He made contact with the group at Cardiff University responsible for the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration, when it was running a series of workshops in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum under the title of LICAU, Literary Illustration: Conservation, Access, Use. He generously provided funding for the workshops to continue at Lampeter and Kristiansand for a few more years. Meanwhile he encouraged colleagues to research illustration in many fields, from Saami poetry from the far North of Norway, to verbal-visual poetry combining English and Scandinavian “text”. His weightiest contribution to Illustration Studies is a book entitled Talende Linje or “Speaking Lines”, in which he examines three early Norwegian printed books – early, that is, in terms of the development of Norwegian publishing – and he attempts to steer scholars towards what he elsewhere calls “a third way”, overriding modes of analysis which make the visual secondary to the verbal or vice versa. He also wrote persuasively on two of Norway’s greatest writers, Ludvig Holberg and Henrik Wergeland, and was for many years the prime mover in the Wergeland Society. His book Wergeland for Framtiden (“Wergeland for the Future”) was published in 2018. He delivered his last manuscript to his publisher only days before his death. We should remember him for his contribution in the previously neglected field of Norwegian Illustration Studies.
RIN’s Mary Shannon will present her new work on 19th-century Newman Street in a special Nineteenth Century Studies Seminar on November 2nd.
In the early-nineteenth century and into the 1840s, London’s Newman Street (just off Oxford Street) was popularly known as ‘Artists’ Street’ because of its intense concentration of artistic residents. Many significant names of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century art world had addresses there: Thomas Stothard, Benjamin West, and James Heath, and other members and associate members of the Royal Academy. Alongside them were the homes and studios of less well-known artists who worked in many different media: sculptors, engravers, portrait painters and animal painters. Of the artists of Newman Street, a significant proportion worked on book illustration or literary subjects, or had close connections to famous nineteenth-century literary figures. They collaborated with, socialised with, and employed one another. They also dealt with other businesses on Newman Street, including the printers McQueen and Co., and the Hering family bookbinders. This talk will focus on the networks of ‘Artists’ Street’ and the surrounding parish of Marylebone, and use methodologies from cultural geography to show how interactions between art and literature played out on the ground in the print culture and visual culture of the early nineteenth-century.
Also presenting at the seminar are Professor Julia Thomas (Cardiff), Dr Luisa Calè (Birkbeck), and Dr Bethan Stevens (Sussex).
(A guest announcement from RIN member Rose Roberto, MLIS.)
Many RIN members and 19th century scholars should find a new digital resource, Democratising Knowledge, to be both interesting and helpful. Produced by the National Museums Scotland in collaboration with the University of Reading’s Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, it not only has stunning images of 19th-century woodblocks, electrotypes and stereotypes, it also contains a wealth of illustrations from the 19th century. The resource provides visual information on the history of printing and publishing, showing that certain illustration subjects were frequently depicted in encyclopaedias during different decades. Furthermore, the resource also highlights the economics of the press and the ecosystem of publishing encouraged the growth and then decline of the wood engraving profession, and showcases the influence of photography in printed communication.
Access Democratising Knowledge at http://www.nms.ac.uk/chambers
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Title: Printing Things: Blocks, Plates, and Stones 1400-1900
Editors: Giles Bergel (Oxford), Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)
Advisory board: Sven Dupré (Utrecht), Caroline Duroselle-Melish (Folger), Maria Goldoni (‘Xilografie modenesi’), Paul Nash (Printing Historical Society), Marco Mozzo (Polo museale della Toscana)
Deadline: 15 October 2018 via https://goo.gl/forms/eHAzaQUFklyMOmYv2
Queries: Gemma Cornetti at firstname.lastname@example.org
In all fields based on historical printed material, research conventionally focuses on the text, images, and other information that was printed. The objects used to produce that information (including cut woodblocks, engraved metal plates, and cast metal sorts) have been neglected. Many hundreds of thousands of these historical printing surfaces survive today. The vast majority are inaccessible to researchers because they are uncatalogued and often considered ‘uncatalogue-able’. However, as individual objects and as an untapped category of cultural heritage, these artefacts of printing offer a great deal of information that the finished prints, books, fabrics, and other printed materials do not.
As relics of historical crafts and industry, these objects fall outside the modern disciplines. This edited volume will respond to the need for a multidisciplinary introduction to what image-based fields calls ‘print matrices’ and text-based fields call ‘printing surfaces’. Following from the conference Blocks Plates Stones (London, 2017), the first facilitated discussion of the use of such objects in research, Printing Things will represent the state of research in this new and developing field. It will bring together object-based research, collection-level surveys, historical printing practices, ethical considerations of their storage and use (or non-use) today, methods for multiplying the originals (eg dabs, stereos, electros), and methodological studies. By doing so, it will offer frameworks for describing, conserving, curating, presenting and understanding these objects using new and existing paradigms. It aims to facilitate their introduction into historical research across the disciplines.
Contributions are sought from art historians, book historians, cultural historians, musicologists, science and medicine historians, typographers, and researchers in other fields based on historical printed material; material scientists and conservators; historically informed printers and printmakers; curators, cataloguers, librarians, and printing museum managers who care for these objects; and digital humanities specialists who are creating a new generation of tools for culling information from these objects. The book will focus on handpress work.
In addition to object- and collection-based case studies, theoretical perspectives might include:
– What can print matrices/printing surfaces teach us that printed materials cannot, and vice versa?
– How should they be regarded: as artists’ tools; intermediary states of works of art; or works of art in themselves?
– Is there a value in considering woodblocks, metal plates, and litho stones together as a single category?
– What lies behind the sudden and recent increase in interest in these objects, and how can these objects inform those emerging research trends?
– How are they to be conserved, curated, presented and understood?
– Does the recent turn to object-centered cultural criticism (‘thing theory’) provide useful paradigms for their study?
– What are the ethical and critical issues around bringing them back into use as printing surfaces?
– What is their place within the systems of digital remediation and knowledge within which art and book history is increasingly practiced?