News: Earliest image of Chartist rally uncovered in Library of Congress

Doyle%20Bull%20Ring%20newspageThe oldest known drawing of a Chartist rally has been uncovered by RIN member Ian Haywood, after lying untouched in a sketchbook in the US Library of Congress for more than 175 years.

The pen-and-ink sketch from 1839 by Englishman Richard Doyle shows dozens of supporters being strong-armed by the Metropolitan Police who broke up the event. Officers were sent to the Bull Ring in Birmingham by the Government to bring an otherwise peaceful event in favour of political reform and social justice under control.

Doyle did not publish the image as he was only a teenager at the time, although he later went on to become an illustrator for Charles Dickens. There were no ‘respectable’ outlets for visual representations of current affairs in the late 1830s – neither the mainstream press nor the Chartist newspaper The Northern Star were able to publish illustrations at this time, and the famous satirical magazine Punch, for which Doyle later worked, was not launched until 1841.

This is why Ian Haywood’s discovery of the drawing is so important to modern understanding of Chartism. The drawing gives an insight into how observers at the time perceived the movement and the state’s response to it, several years earlier than previous records.

This image depicts in caricature form police brutality against peaceful, unarmed protestors in July 1839: the police and the authorities are depicted as giants wading into to the demonstration, kicking, scattering and grabbing Chartists by the handful. It is one of dozens of images in the sketchbook depicting open-air political meetings which suggests Doyle had a strong interest in contemporary events.

Ian Haywood said: “If Doyle’s image had been published it would have been the first visual representation of a Chartist demonstration and a significant blow for Prime Minister Lord Melbourne’s attempts to break up the movement. Doyle was a precocious talent and this could have made his name several years before he joined the staff of Punch and worked for Dickens.”

“From a historical perspective, this image is immensely valuable as it fills a gap in our knowledge of how ordinary people perceived the ‘threat’ of Chartism and also the vindictiveness of the state. It also confirms the dramatic significance of this event, the first major Chartist riot, which hardened resolve on both sides.”

CFP: “Tracing Types: Comparative Analyses of Literary and Visual Sketches (1830-1860)”, Ghent University Belgium, 3-4 June 2016.

“Tracing Types: Comparative Analyses of Literary and Visual Sketches (1830-1860)”, Ghent University Belgium, 3-4 June 2016.

Deadline for abstracts: October 1, 2015

In the wake of the pioneering work of Nathalie Preiss and Martina Lauster, a new wave of scholarship has emerged in recent years, which examines nineteenth-century sketches (sometimes referred to as ‘panoramic literature’) from a transnational perspective.

Two recent examples of this interest are the special issue of Interférences littéraires, “Croqués par eux-mêmes. La société à l’épreuve du panoramique” (2012), directed by Nathalie Preiss and Valérie Stiénon, and the recent NYU conference “Dissecting Society: Periodical Literature and Social Observation (1830-1850)” (March 2015), organized by Christiane Schwab and Ana Peñas Ruiz.

The present call for papers seeks to continue this comparative reflection by placing the spotlight on the comparative analysis of texts and images of specific types and by tracing how these representations vary across sketches from different places, media and editorial contexts.

We welcome presentations that address the following types of questions:

– How do the representations and definitions of a type (or group of related types) vary from one national context to another?
– How do different collections, periodicals or editorial contexts inflect a type in different ways?
– How do visual representations of a type differ from one another or from literary representations of the same figure?
– How does the type transform as it is taken up in other genres, registers or types of discourse?
– Does the type exist in a system? Does it belong to a collection or series of types and if so, how does it relate to or interact with other types in the system? How do different collections position the type within their systems?
In short, we invite each participant to choose a type (or group of related types) and to trace how it shifts or remains the same across different contexts and in relation to different co-texts. Presentations that explore less known types are particularly welcome.

The long term goal of this project is to publish an edited volume exploring these issues. It is our hope that the combined insights of the seminar will allow us to draw a series of general reflections about how portrayals of types shift across contexts, borders and media.

We would like to invite expressions of interest in the form of a short abstract (of around 300 words in English or French) describing your idea. Please submit your idea to Leonoor Kuijk at l.kuijk@ugent.be by October 1, 2015.

http://www.tracingtypes.ugent.be/

Organizers: Leonoor Kuijk, Elizabeth Amann and Marianne Van Remoortel (Ghent University), Valérie Stiénon (Université Paris 13)