Musings on the Romantic Illustration Network: The Story So Far

This year, facilitating the Romantic Illustration Network has taught me three things: be ready shift furniture and sweep floors at 9am in your best conference jacket; never underestimate the importance of the well-timed tea break; and the most important work is often done in the pub after the symposium, so always choose a good watering-hole and book a large table. It’s been a great pleasure developing the Network and getting to know the regulars and the new faces who attend each event. I’ve become familiar with the inside workings of the British Academy, the Tate, and the House of Illustration, and I now have a really good sense of the goals and constraints of what are often loosely termed ‘heritage organisations’. It’s exciting to see, particularly after our recent event on Saturday June 6th, how our convivial gatherings, individual research papers, and gallery tours are actually building towards an understanding of shared interests and emerging research questions. Intellectually the awareness of a shared agenda and new theoretical approaches is growing, and alongside this, there is now a real sense of the Network as a collaborative international team of scholars. I hope we can continue to build on this. The great strength of the network is, I think, that relationships have been built both in person and virtually. The website and blog goes from strength to strength, with more than 6700 views in over 25 countries. We are currently developing a digitised gallery of 18th century prints of scenes from Shakespeare, courtesy of a generous donation from Frederick Burwick at UCLA. These beautiful high-definition images will be ready for the Shakespeare 2016 commemorations. I’ve enjoyed keeping in touch with network members via the blog: I post news of CFPs and events, but also useful resources and members’ research: ‘Image of the Month’ is a popular series of posts. RIN members are a collegiate bunch. The Network events have shaped my own research in unexpected ways: I never imagined I’d write a scholarly article about Dickens’s chair, for example. Most importantly, they have been great fun: as someone said to me at the recent symposium, ‘Why don’t we do this every week?’. Why don’t we, indeed.

Event Report: ‘The Art of Quotation and the Miniaturised Gallery’, RIN 4, Saturday 6 June 2015

The fourth Romantic Illustration Network symposium took place at the House of Illustration on Saturday the 6th of June. Once again the event was well-attended with a friendly mix of regulars and new faces, local and international.house-of-illustration-logo-kids-in-the-halls-column-arts-agency

We had two inter-related themes for the symposium:

1.Miniaturization: Drawing on Peter Otto’s work on virtual culture in the Romantic period, is the illustration a form of virtual gallery? How does visual meaning change when an image is resized?
2.The Art of Quotation: How were literary quotations used to conceptualise visual images? How important are framing devices to the meaning of an image?

However, speakers were free to interpret the terms ‘quotation’ and ‘miniaturised gallery’ in any way they saw fit, and to raise any other questions they chose.

We kicked off with David Worrall (Roehampton/Nottingham Trent) who presented us with his concept of ‘locations of curation’. After crediting William St Clair in RIN 3 for inspiring his quest for a new theory of illustration, Worrall explored what he described as two currently disconnected narratives – Romanticism and eighteenth-century theatre – to consider the changing moments when images interact with other objects, such as the people who view them. He used the example of theatrical portraits to demonstrate how images moved from stage, to page, to prints, to household objects.

Susan Matthews’s (Roehampton) paper interrogated questions of scale, domesticity, and artistic encounter, the idea of ‘meeting’ an artist though their illustrations. She pointed out that the name ‘House of Illustration’ (as opposed to ‘Gallery of Illustration’) is significant: we often seem to want to give illustration a ‘home’. She focused on Fuseli’s illustrations to an edition of Cowper’s popular poem The Task (1785), and revealed the awkward tensions between Fuseli’s depictions of domestic scenes and Cowper’s lines, whilst also showing that Fuseli could produce powerful images on a small scale when he really wanted to. Matthews drew parallels between Fuseli’s techniques and the recent exhibition of Paula Rego’s work at House of Illustration.

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Plate 17, The Book of Urizen William Blake Archive

From here we zoomed in still further, with Peter Otto’s (Melbourne) paper on plate 17 of Blake’s The Book of Urizen (1794). Otto gave a detailed and original reading of the plate which encompassed The Terror and images of decapitation by guillotine, the story of Adam and Eve, Perseus and the Gorgon, and the Narcissus myth to show how the plate connects primal history with events unfolding in the present through an art of visual and textual quotation. He argued that the plate illustrated a turning point in society, represented as a decapitation, and that Blake was constructing an imagined reality through quotation which in turn tries to shape or frame what reality is.

From royal executions to royal collections, Kate Heard (Royal Collection) showed us how George III and George IV both engaged with the reproductive print market, albeit in very different ways, as prints enabled middle-class consumers to gain access to items in the Royal Collection. We saw how Royal Collection items circulated as prints, so much so that satirical caricaturists could imitate them, and she argued that the print market played a crucial role in the public sense of the King. We also saw what a fantastic resource the Collection is for scholars.

Taking us through to the Victorian period, Bethan Stevens (Sussex) spoke about her work on the albums of proofs put together by the dominant mid-century London wood-engraving firm, the Dalziel family. The firm of Dalziel produced the illustrations to a vast range of literary and non-literary texts, including such classics as the Alice books and Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Stephens showed how, in the albums, the exclusion of words affects the status, form and narrative of illustration, and provokes a new attention to illustrations as images which enables all kinds of subversive and intriguing readings.

Three Bibliographical Society Studentships were awarded: Anne Musset (Warwick/Paris-Diderot), Tessa Kilgariff (National Portrait Gallery/Bristol), and Naomi Billingsley (Manchester). We ended the day, as usual, with a period of open discussion about the broader themes of the event and the future of the network (upcoming ventures include the panel at BARS 2015 in Cardiff and the digitised Shakespeare Gallery, currently under construction). After that we adjourned to the pub, to round off a successful and fun day with a friendly drink.

Details of the BARS panel will be appearing on the blog and website soon: we hope to see you there!

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REGISTRATION OPEN: RIN 4: The Art of Quotation and the Miniaturized Gallery. Saturday 6 June 2015, 10 – 5pm, The House of Illustration, London

The Art of Quotation and the Miniaturized Gallery. Saturday 6 June 2015, 10 – 5pm, The House of Illustration, London: Peter Otto (Melbourne), David Worrall (Roehampton/Nottingham Trent), Kate Heard (Royal Collection), Susan Matthews (Roehampton), Bethan Stevens (Sussex). Supported by the University of Roehampton and the Bibliographical Society. Organised with the assistance of House of Illustration.

We are delighted to announce that registration for this free event is now OPEN.

You can download the full programme here.

To register, please email Mary.Shannon@roehampton.ac.uk, giving your name, job title, and institution (if applicable). Places will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and there will be a waiting list.

We are also accepting applications for 3 Bibliographical Society Studentships of £60 each, to assist postgraduate students with attendance. 3 spaces are reserved for the successful candidates.

To apply, please send your CV, and a statement explaining how your research fits with the work of the Network and/or the Bibliographical Society (200 words max), to Mary.Shannon@roehampton.ac.uk by Monday 25th May. Successful candidates will be notified by Wednesday 27th May.

CFP: RIN panel at Romantic Imprints, BARS’ 2015 International Conference

Romantic-Imprints-image The deadline for submission of abstracts to the RIN panel at BARS 2015 approaches: February 15th.

 

 

Of particular interest for RIN members is the RIN panel ‘Romantic Illustration’: see the panels page on the BARS 2015 website here.

The full CFP is below:

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2nd Call for Papers: Romantic Imprints

British Association for Romantic Studies, 14th International Conference

Cardiff University, 16–19 July 2015

Proposals are invited for the 2015 British Association for Romantic Studies international conference which will be held at Cardiff University, Wales (UK) on 16–19 July 2015. The theme of the interdisciplinary conference is Romantic Imprints, broadly understood to include the various literary, cultural, historical and political manifestations of Romantic print culture across Europe, the Americas and the rest of the world. Our focus will fall on the ways in which the culture of the period was conscious of itself as functioning within and through, or as opposed to, the medium of print. The conference location in the Welsh capital provides a special opportunity to foreground the Welsh inflections of Romanticism within the remit of the conference’s wider theme. The two-hundredth anniversary of Waterloo also brings with it the chance of thinking about how Waterloo was represented within and beyond print.

The confirmed keynote speakers for Romantic Imprints will be John Barrell (Queen Mary, London), James Chandler (Chicago), Claire Connolly (Cork), Peter Garside (Edinburgh) and Devoney Looser (Arizona State).

The conference is open to various forms of format:  we encourage proposals for special open-call sessions and for themed panels of invited speakers as well as individual proposals for the traditional 20-minute paper. Subjects covered might include:

  • Nation and print: the British archipelago; cities of print; transatlantic and transnational exchanges; Romantic cosmopolitanism and print; translation; landscape and/in print; Wales and its Romantic contexts; national (especially Welsh) patterns of influence and exchange in the international context.
  • Producing and consuming print: Romantic readerships; publishers; circu­lating print; legislation, copyright and print; technologies of print; plagiarism, forgery and piracy; popular and subaltern cultures of print; periodicals and journalism; gender and genre; print as new and old, ephemeral and collectable objects; print beyond reading (paper money, cards, etc.); the fate of print as ‘rubbish’.
  • Intertextual exchanges: politics and print (e.g. revolution and radicalism, war, Napoleon, Waterloo); satire and parody; science and print culture; performance and print; Romantic visual cultures (including art and illustration); representations of print and printing; fashion; adaptation and remediation; the Romantic essay; print and its others – epitaphs, manuscripts, marginalia, etc.; print and imprint as Romantic metaphor or ideology; popular pastimes.
  • Textual scholarship: editing texts; bibliography and book history; manuscripts, correspondence and diaries; analysis and quantification; digital humanities.
  • Romantic legacies: physical traces and imprints; architecture; Romantic anti­quarianism; Victorian Romanticism; Romanticism and modernity; Romanticism and new media; Romantic biography; lives in print; Romantic afterlives; celebrity and print; adapting the Romantics (film, art, literature).

Format of conference proposals

  • Traditional 20-minute paper proposals (250-word abstracts), submitted individually.
  • Poster presentations showcasing innovative projects or digital outputs (250-word abstracts), submitted individually.
  • Proposals for open-call sessions (350-word descriptions of potential session, outlining its importance and relevance to the conference theme). Accepted open-call sessions will be advertised on the BARS 2015 conference website from mid-January 2015. Please note: the deadline for submission of open-call panels has now expired.
  • Proposals for themed panels of three 20-minute or four 15-minute papers (250-word abstracts for each paper with speakers’ details and an outline of the panel’s rationale from the proposer).

Extended deadline for submission of abstracts: 15 February 2015. Submissions can comprise proposals for individual papers, poster presentations and submissions to open-call panels (which will be published online from mid-January 2015). If you are applying to an open-call session, you should include the name of the session on your proposal.

All proposals should include your name, academic affiliation (if any), preferred email address and a biography of 100 words. Please send proposals and direct enquiries to the BARS 2015 conference organisers, Anthony Mandal and Jane Moore (Cardiff University) at BARS2015@cardiff.ac.uk.

For the latest updates about the conference, follow us on Twitter @2015BARS and join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BARS2015/.

Third RIN Symposium ‘The Literary Galleries’: REGISTRATION OPEN

Romantic Illustration Network Symposium
The Literary Galleries: Entrepreneurship and Public Art’
Supported by the University of Roehampton, the Bibliographical Society, and Tate Britain

We are  pleased to announce that the third RIN symposium is now OPEN for REGISTRATION.

Friday 27th February 2015, 10am – 5pm
Board Room and Duffield Room, Tate Britain,
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

This symposium brings together the authors of the key scholarship on the literary galleries of the Romantic period: Fred Burwick (The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, 1996), Rosie Dias (Exhibiting Englishness, 2013), Ian Haywood (Romantic Caricature, 2013), Luisa Cale (‘Blake and the Literary Galleries’, 2008; Fuseli’s Milton Gallery 2006) and Martin Myrone (Gothic Nightmares, 2006; John Martin: Apocalypse, 2011) in a venue that is itself a form of literary gallery (Tate Britain) to present new research and to debate the relationship of painting to illustration, text, and print.  To what extent did the literary galleries change the role of illustration in the Romantic period?

Registration:

Places are FREE but limited to 15 in total, excluding speakers and organisers. This is due to restricted access to the Print Room. To secure your place, please email Mary.Shannon@roehampton.ac.uk, providing your name, status/job title, and institution (for name badges). Places will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and you will receive email notification. However, there will also be a waiting list. If you are unable to take up your place, please NOTIFY US BY EMAIL IN GOOD TIME so that someone else on the list may be offered your place.

We are able to offer 2 postgraduate ‘Bibliographical Society Studentships’ of £60 each to assist with the cost of attending at the symposium. Postgraduate students who live outside London are eligible. To apply, please send a CV and a statement (200 words) to Mary.Shannon@roehampton.ac.uk by Friday 6th February explaining your current research and its relevance to the interests of the Romantic Illustration Network as well as to the aims of the Bibliographical Society. Successful applicants will be notified by Tuesday 10th February.

Subject to permissions, we are hoping to record proceedings for the benefit of those unable to attend.

Programme:
10.00 Registration: meet at Staff Entrance (see map) to transfer to Board Room
10.15
Rosie Dias (Warwick), ‘Viewers, Patrons, Readers, Consumers? John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery and its Public’
Ian Haywood (Roehampton), ‘Macklin’s Poets Gallery and the age of Terror’
11.45 tea and coffee
12.15 Luisa Calè (Birkbeck), ‘The Hours’
1-2 Lunch (attendees to make own arrangements)
2.00 Frederick Burwick (UCLA), ‘Painting and Performance: Tableaux Vivants on the London Stage’
3pm Tours of Print Room and Galleries, led by Tate facilitators
4.00 Martin Myrone (Tate), ‘Blake and the Limits of Illustration’
4.45 Open Discussion
5pm Close. Please join us for a drink nearby.

For a full programme and a map of the venue, visit https://romanticillustrationnetwork.wordpress.com/events/

Ashmolean Blake Exhibition: Lectures and Conferences

Members of the Illustration Network might be interested in the upcoming events associated with the Blake exhibition at the Ashmolean.

LECTURES

Towards a New Era in Printmaking: Innovation in the 18th Century With Dr Ad Stijnman FRHistS, private researcher, Ashmolean Lecture Theatre, Friday 16 January, 2-3pm £5/£4 concessions. Printmaking changed dramatically after 1700 with the introduction of new plate-making and plate-printing processes, coloured inks and state of the art print presses. Dr Stijnman looks at this era in which artists, printers, engravers and publishers produced work that astonished audiences. BOOK NOW AT http://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions/whatsontickets/

Reading in the Spirit of Blake With Saree Makdisi, Professor of English and Comparative Studies at UCLA Ashmolean Lecture Theatre, Friday 23 January, 4.30-5.30pm £5/£4 concessions. This lecture explores the relationship between William Blake’s words and the images in his illustrated books and hopes to show you how to read ‘in the spirit of Blake’. Part of the ‘Inspired by Blake’ Festival. BOOK NOW AT http://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions/whatsontickets/

Italian Old Master Prints Through the Eyes of Blake and His Friends With Michael Bury, University of Edinburgh. Ashmolean Lecture Theatre, Thursday 19 February, 2-3pm £5/£4 concessions. In the late 18th century, Blake and his contemporaries developed a distinctive approach to the study of Italian Renaissance prints. They paid attention to printmakers whose work has been largely ignored or disparaged in preceding years. This talk examines these artworks and identifies why Blake admired them so much. BOOK NOW AT http://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions/whatsontickets/

CONFERENCE

Apprentice & Master: Conference With the University of Oxford’s Faculty of English and the Birkbeck Centre for 19th-century Studies. Ashmolean Lecture Theatre, Saturday 24 January, 10am-8pm £30/£25 concessions. Leading academics in the study of Blake will explore a variety of perspectives on the exhibition. The conference includes lunch and is followed by a reception and private viewing of the exhibition. BOOK NOW AT http://www.oxforduniversitystores.co.uk/

‘The Artist and the Writer’, Saturday 29th November, IES, Senate House, London

The Artist and the Writer: second symposium of the Romantic Illustration Network

Saturday 29 November 2014, 10 – 5pm

Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London WC1E 7HU

Lynn Shepherd (Richardson scholar and novelist), Tim Fulford (De Montfort), Sandro Jung (Ghent); Sophie Thomas (Ryerson, Canada); Nicky Watson (Open University); Mary L. Shannon (Roehampton). Supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS): http://www.bavs.ac.uk/

Registration required: details, and full programme, to be advertised soon.

T:  0207 862 8675
W: ies.sas.ac.uk for map and directions.
 

Funding secured for next Symposium from British Association of Victorian Studies

We are delighted to announce that the next symposium of the Romantic Illustration Network, on Saturday 29th November 2014 at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London, will be supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS): http://www.bavsuk.org.

It was clear from our first symposium in June (see an earlier post for the event report) that much important work on book illustration has been done within Victorian studies, and part of RIN’s role will be to establish fruitful dialogue between researchers working across the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries.

Further details for November’s event will be announced soon via this blog.

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New Resources added: Bibliography entries

RIN member Paul Barnaby, of the Walter Scott Digital Archive, had made the following suggestions for the RIN bibliography, which I’ve now added:

Garside, Peter. ‘Illustrating the Waverley Novels: Scott, Scotland, and the London Print Trade, 1819-1836’, The Library, 11 (2010), 168-96.

Garside, Peter. ‘Print Illustrations and the Cultural Materialism of Scott’s Waverley Novels’, in British Literature and Print Culture, ed. Sandro Jung (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2013), pp. 125-57.

(This essay collection also has a chapter by Sandro Jung on illustrations of Thomson’s The Seasons in the 1790s.)

Hill, Richard. ‘The Illustration of the Waverley Novels: Scott and Popular Illustrated Fiction’, Scottish Literary Review, 1.1 (2009), 69-88.

Hill, Richard. Picturing Scotland through the Waverley Novels: Walter Scott and the Origins of the Victorian Illustrated Novel. (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010)

Westover, Paul. ‘Illustration, Historicism, and Travel: The Legacy of Sir Walter Scott’, in Necromanticism: Traveling to Meet the Dead, 1750-1860 (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 142-73.

If you have any suggestions for texts we should include on the Bibliography page, or would like us to add your book or article, please email me at Mary.Shannon@roehampton.ac.uk.

Report: 1st Reading Group Session

The inaugural meeting of the ‘Illustration: So What?!’ Reading Group took place on May 19th 2014 at the University of Roehampton, introduced by Mary L. Shannon and Susan Matthews. We convened for a varied and lively discussion, reflecting the nature of our chosen subject as well as the fields of scholarship represented at the table.

Susan Matthews opened the session with her observations regarding the etymology of ‘illustration’. The careful consideration given to the development of our contemporary usage of the word, in contract with its earlier meanings, emphasised just how much has the publishing industry and book design and decoration have evolved, even in recent times. This point is perhaps particularly poignant for the illustration scholar with a background as an illustrator, such as myself. As students – and scholars – it is often considered that illustration has existed since the earliest days of human creativity, and is at the heart of creative and intellectual development. The implication that in name at least this is not the case is quite profound; the acknowledgement that a timeless occupation is actually only 198 years-old (according to the OED definition) is a novel perspective. The idea that the Romantic illustrators were working in a newly named field, perhaps makes them more radical than was previously thought.

The core text, J Hillis Miller’s Illustration (1992), provided a number of interesting points for discussion. It was observed and agreed that Miller used ‘illustration’ with a multiplicity of meanings – with a particular penchant for added connotations of ‘light’. This, of course, married perfectly with discussion of pre-1816 definitions of ‘illustration’ as well as with the glowing glass books of Olafur Eliasson in his 2013 artwork A View Becomes a Window. Examination of Miller was as stimulating and varied as the contents of his book, with the group drawing parallels between all texts discussed as well as to fields as diverse as theatre and architecture.

The first meeting of the ‘Illustration: So What?!’ Reading Group did, as promised, throw new light on the idea of illustration. With future meetings planning to discuss texts just as varied as those considered here, and likely to be approached with the same enthusiasm and varied perspectives, I have no doubt that further light will be shed on this very rich area of study.

– Bee Hughes (PhD student, Liverpool John Moores)