Past Seminars & Workshops

Seminar: Caricature, revolution and reform in pre-Victorian Britain

April 28, 2017, 9am-3:30pm

 The Lewis Walpole Library

Ian Haywood, University of Roehampton, London

The received wisdom is that the ‘Golden Age’ of British caricature ended with the Reform Bill of 1832 and the Victorian reform of manners and morals. As the novelist Thackeray put it, ‘we have washed, combed, clothed and taught the rogue good manners’. The famous satirical magazine Punch, founded in 1841, is usually regarded as the rebirth of well-behaved and relatively inoffensive visual satire. In fact, the 1830s saw an explosion of different caricature formats as the satirical market adjusted to the growth of the reading (and viewing) public. Far from destroying political caricature, serialization and illustrated journalism made graphic satire available to a much wider audience. At the heart of these developments were two now forgotten publications: Figaro in London, a pioneering penny periodical illustrated by Robert Seymour, and Charles Jameson Grant’s Political Drama, a series of over 100 single print caricatures.

By studying a selection of images from these two series, we will consider how Seymour and Grant re-imagined political caricature in a turbulent decade that began with the French revolution and ended with the rise of Chartism. We will investigate how the shift from metal to stone (lithography) to ‘cheap’ wood engraving enabled the democratization of caricature without losing the spectacular effects of the single-print tradition. Drawing on theories of the everyday, we will also consider caricature’s ability to stage carnivalesque performances which resisted the modernising and commodifying brutalities of emergent Victorian capitalism. 

The program is open by application. To apply, click or tap here. Preference will be given to graduate students.

Transportation: Yale Shuttle from and to New Haven 

For more information please contact Cynthia Roman at cynthia.roman@yale.edu


Grand Harmonie Period Instruments Workshop

Saturday, March 4, 2017 

Members of Grand Harmonie will host a morning workshop demonstration highlighting the distinctive features of historical instruments and featuring musical selections from the period. 

This seminar requires pre-registration. For more information please contact walpole@yale.edu

Following the seminar, Grand Harmonie will perform a concert that is open to the public. For more information about this concert, please see our Concerts page. 


Graduate Student Seminar

Character and Caricature

Rachel Brownstein

Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNYand co-curator of Character Mongers, or, Trading in People on Paper in the Long 18th century

Friday, November 18, 2016
10 am to 3 pm

The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington

Offered in connection with the exhibition of the same title, on view October 10-January 27

Caricature relies on a double take: you recognize both the person represented and the artist’s critical, comic view, register both the familiar and the strange.  Basic to what E.H. Gombrich called “the cartoonist’s arsenal” is the contrast between extremes, differences in scale (fat and thin, short and tall) that define a character in relation to another (the thing it is not).  Pairings proliferate, sometimes by accident, always by design.   

History has a hand in the process.  The fathers of Charles James Fox and William Pitt were also political rivals, and Fox in fact was plump and Pitt skinny.  But as Simon Schama imagines it, the artist James Gillray, commissioned in 1789 to produce a formal portrait of Pitt, could not but see him with a caricaturist’s eye, as “angular where Fox was sensual, repressed where Fox was spontaneously witty, … the upper lip stiff as a board, where both of Fox’s were fat, shiny cushions.”  Schama speculates, “How could he resist? He didn’t.  The ‘formal portrait’ looked like a caricature, or at the very least a ‘character.’” Is the one a version of the other? 

Coming with different questions from different disciplines, we will consider caricatures by Gillray and others, bringing fresh perspectives to the questions they raise about the relation of caricature to character and to being ‘a character,’ as well as to the trick of contrast, to historical context, and to point of view.             

The program is open by application. Preference will be given to graduate students. For further details contact Cynthia Roman cynthia.roman@yale.edu. Yale Shuttle to and from New Haven. Accommodation at the Library’s Timothy Root House may be available at no charge upon inquiry.


Graduate Colloquium: Conceptualizing the “Age of Democratic Revolutions”

David A. Bell
Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor, Department of History, Princeton University

Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 4pm

Hall of Graduate Studies, Room 211
1320 York Street
New Haven

What does it mean to talk about ‘Atlantic Revolutions’? The talk will examine the ways that the concept has been formulated since the days of R.R. Palmer, and examine the ways in which it is, and is not useful for historians of the period.


James Gillray’s Experimental Printmaking

Organized by Esther Chadwick, History of Art, Yale University

and Cynthia Roman, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

With invited scholars: 

Tim Clayton, University of Warwick
Ersy Contogouris, Université du Québec à Montréal
Andrew Edmunds, Dealer/Collector, London
Theresa Fairbanks-Harris, Yale University
Douglas Fordham, University of Virginia
Katherine Hart, Dartmouth College
Nicholas J.S. Knowles, Independent Scholar, London
Sheila O’Connell, formerly British Museum
Brian Shure, Rhode Island School of Design

June 10, 2016

James Gillray (1756-1815) has long been recognized as the foremost graphic satirist of his generation and as one of the most brilliant artists of his age. His dazzling single-sheet prints are widely acknowledged for their sophisticated iconographic play, intertextuality, and art historical awareness. His ‘mock-heroic’ and ‘Caricatura-Sublime’ can be seen as central contributions to Romantic aesthetics. Yet there still exists no comprehensive account of Gillray’s radical printmaking from the point of view of technique. Gillray was a consummate experimenter, adapting and combining graphic styles and syntax to suit his varied ends. Making was always essential to his meaning, from his use of delicate stipple to innovative textured soft-grounds. What can we learn of his methods and materials? How was his workshop organized? And how did his material experience as a printmaker shape an understanding of his world? With a view to a future exhibition on the subject, and grounded on the evidence of works in the collection of the Lewis Walpole Library, this day-long workshop opened up the vital question of Gillray’s practice at the level of the plate.

The program was open to graduate students by application. For further details contact Cynthia Roman cynthia.roman@yale.edu


Graduate Student Seminar

Collecting the Graphic Work of William Hogarth

Sheila O’Connell, Former Curator of Prints, British Museum

June 14, 2016

With over one thousand prints by and after William Hogarth, the Lewis Walpole Library holds the finest collection of the artist’s work in the United States. Inspired by the example of Horace Walpole who wrote about and collected Hogarth’s works, the Lewises avidly collected Hogarth prints. Participants in the seminar will consider material evidence of collecting practices by looking at some early collections which have survived relatively intact: a lifetime folio of 67 prints; George Steevens collection of 705 prints in the original elephant folios with collector annotations; and the collection of Queen Charlotte sold by Jane Hogarth, among others. Subscription tickets, early manuscript and published inventories, and single sheet items provided further material for consideration.

The program was open to graduate students by application. For further details contact Cynthia Roman cynthia.roman@yale.edu


Graduate Student Seminar

Connoisseurship: Graphic Satire from William Hogarth to James Gillray

Andrew Edmunds, Collector and Dealer

June 15, 2016

The Lewis Walpole Library holds a virtually complete representation of the entire graphic production of William Hogarth. These rich holdings include life-time impressions, multiple states of a great many prints, unique impressions, and numerous copies and later restrikes. Participants in this seminar had the opportunity to look closely at satirical prints in order to gain understanding of quality, authenticity and materiality of these objects. The library also has extensive holdings of prints by James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson that likewise were available for participants to consider issues of quality and authenticity, including assessing hand-coloring.

Participation was open to graduate students by application. For further details contact Cynthia Roman cynthia.roman@yale.edu


Eighteenth-Century Studies announced a special issue workshop on the theme

“Empire”

Friday, April 29, 2016

Whitney Humanities Center, Rm 208

Invited speakers:

James Watt (English, University of York)
Julia Adams (Sociology, Yale University)
Douglas Fordham (Art History, University of Virginia)
Carina Johnson (History, Pitzer College)
Allison Bigelow (Spanish, University of Virginia)
Ignacio Gallup-Diaz (History, Bryn Mawr College)
Ashley Cohen (English, Georgetown University)
Christopher Brown (History, Columbia University)

The workshop was in preparation for a planned special issue of ECS addressing the theme of “empire” in the eighteenth century. There were no pre-circulated papers; speakers offered brief assessments of the most exciting themes and trends in recent scholarship that are most pushing the spatial, ethodological, and disciplinary boundaries of the topic. Each presentation was followed by ample time for discussion.

The workshop was sponsored by the Beinecke Library with support from the Lewis Walpole Library and the Whitney Humanities Center. 


Expressive Bodies in Eighteenth-Century Satirical Prints

Workshop for Graduate Students

October 30, 2015

Amelia Rauser, Professor of Art History, Franklin & Marshall College

The Lewis Walpole Library

Satirical prints made in late eighteenth-century England glory in the use of the caricatural visual language to deform subjects’ faces for expressive effect. But how should we read these figures’ bodies? Fat, thin, lumpen, unclothed, extravagant in gesture and in costume, satirical bodies were deployed by printmakers to lampoon, castigate, and celebrate their subjects. Such expressive bodies imply a concept of subjectivity—and even cognition—that is itself particularly embodied. In this workshop, we investigates eighteenth-century embodiment in satire and fashion. In a session devoted to “Celebrity Bodies,” we sampled current scholarship on “celebrity studies” and discussed the applicability of this concept to eighteenth-century representations. And in a session on “Fashionable Bodies,” we studied the changing silhouettes of fashionable dress in the eighteenth-century—not only in print representations, but also by handling and even trying on costumes made in these silhouettes, to come to a better understanding of how they framed the body and shaped its movement.

While priority was given to Yale graduate students, the Library also welcomed graduate students from other universities.

Transportation: Yale Shuttle to and from New Haven 

Accommodation at the Library’s Timothy Root House was available at no charge.


“We are an injured body”: Collectivity and the Female Body

Workshop for Graduate Students

October 2, 2015

Jill Campbell, Department of English, Yale University

The Lewis Walpole Library

Using literary examples of eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century representations of women as well as graphic images from the exhibition “Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women”, this workshop explored the interactions between two meanings of the word “body”: the physical structure or substance of a person, and an organized group of individuals. Jane Austen plays across these two senses in Northanger Abbey when she complains that women novelists, so routinely derided and abused by reviewers and readers, are “an injured body.” Her phrase evokes the vulnerability of an individual physical body while the passage it appears in implies that the fervor of attacks on women novelists may arise partly from their corporate prominence and force. Austen stirringly calls on her sister novelists to take pride in their collective achievements, and not to “desert one another.”

The prospect of such solidarity among aspiring women provokes distrust and anxiety in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and satirists often link images of women’s transgressive corporeal bodies with evocations of the monstrosity of women’s incorporation as a group. Rowlandson’s “Breaking Up of the Blue-Stocking Club” (1815) provides a prime example of how the threat of unruliness in individual female bodies escalates when they assemble on their own. The word “bawdy” itself encapsulates this threat: the bawd dares to constitute and manage a group of working women herself. From the Augustan age through the nineteenth century, women writers and artists are particularly discouraged from conceptualizing or organizing themselves as a collective tradition or united group.

We examined a range of visual and verbal treatments of women’s corporate and corporeal “bawdiness” and the implications of links between the two. Workshop participants selected individual works for discussion.

While priority was given to Yale graduate students, the Library also welcomed graduate students from other universities to apply. 


Representing Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain

Workshop for Graduate Students

The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven

The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington

In December 2014, The Lewis Walpole Library and the Yale Center for British Art jointly hosted a two-day workshop for graduate students focusing on two current Yale University exhibitions related to the visual culture of slavery, Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth- Century Atlantic Britain and Prospects of Empire: Slavery and Ecology in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain. The workshop provided an opportunity to explore these complementary exhibitions in depth and to examine additional materials related to the topic selected from the rich holdings of both institutions with curatorial and academic scholars working in the field. The workshop wais open to graduate students from a variety of disciplines whose work would benefit from participation in this collaborative exploration of the topic.

Prospects of Empire is curated by Heather Vermeulen, Doctoral Candidate in African American Studies and American Studies, Yale University, and Hazel V. Carby, Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and Professor of American Studies, Yale University. The exhibition explores the notion of empire’s “prospects”—its gaze upon bodies and landscapes, its speculations and desires, its endeavors to capitalize upon seized land and labor, as well as its failures to manage enslaved persons and unruly colonial ecologies. For further exhibition details, please click here.

Figures of Empire is curated by Esther Chadwick and Meredith Gamer, PhD candidates in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University, and Cyra Levenson, Associate Curator of Education at the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibition explores the coincidence of slavery and portraiture in eighteenth-century Britain. For further exhibition details, please click here.

The workshop took place at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, and the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington and offered exhibition walk-throughs with the curators of each exhibition, and additional presentations and conversation in a study room setting. Lead discussants for the workshop were Gillian Forrester, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Yale Center for British Art, and Dian Kriz, Professor Emerita, Art History, Brown University. Additional participating scholars working in the field include Paul Grant Costa, Executive Editor, Yale Indian Papers Project, and Marisa Fuentes, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies and History, Rutgers University.

The program also included a talk at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the Yale Art School by artist Fred Wilson, whose groundbreaking project Mining the Museum (1992-93) at the Maryland Historical Society initiated his ongoing critique of the ways in which museums consciously or unwittingly reinforce racist beliefs and behavior, followed by a walk-through of Figures of Empire with the artist at 4:00 p.m.

Participants were provided with accommodations at the Lewis Walpole Library guest house in Farmington, Connecticut. Shuttle transportation between Farmington and New Haven will be provided. A syllabus and list of readings were provided in advance of the workshop.


“Sugar and the confectioner in eighteenth-century England” The Lost Art of the Officier

Presentation and workshop by British food historian Ivan Day

The officier or confectioner was the most skilled food professional in great house and palace kitchens. As well as having the skills to make a whole host of dessert foods, such as wafers, comfits, ices etc. the officier designed and produced ambitious table ornaments made from sugar and other edible materials. Using original eighteenth and nineteenth century equipment, including some rare sugar moulds, British food historian Ivan Day demonstrated how these intricate pieces of edible art were constructed and gave participants a unique opportunity to learn the basics of the art yourself. Ivan also introduced participants to the extraordinary history of this eccentric culinary art with a brief lecture, including many images of his own recreations. 


Facing the Text: Understanding Extra-illustration in the long Eighteenth Century.

A one day hands-on workshop

Led by Dr. Lucy Peltz, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Extra-illustration, or ‘grangerizing’, was the process by which readers and collectors customized published books with thematically linked prints, watercolors and other visual material. This was an enormously popular and sociable fashion, from the late eighteenth to the mid nineteenth century, and thousands of extra-illustrated volumes survive in museums, libraries and private collections in Britain and the USA. Apart from a handful of early precursors, extra-illustration began to take shape in the 1770s and 1780s among an elite circle of amateurs and antiquarians surrounding Horace Walpole. Extra-illustrated volumes document the growing interest in print collecting and the increasing taste for antiquarianism and biography. They also provide insight into the eighteenth-century taste for portraiture and the emerging historical imagination. In this one-day hands-on workshop, Dr Lucy Peltz provided an introduction to her research and draw on Yale’s exceptional historical resources to explore the rise, popularization of socio-cultural meanings of extra-illustration in the long eighteenth century.

Dr Lucy Peltz is Curator of Eighteenth-Century Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London. She has had a long relationship with Yale, having first held a fellowship at the Lewis Walpole Library in 1995. More recently, she was co-curator, with Peter Funnell (National Portrait Gallery) and Cassandra Albinson (British Art Center, Yale), of Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance (2010-11). In addition to her research on other portrait-led exhibition projects, including Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings (2008), Lucy specializes in the workings of the art market, portrait print collecting and the rise and popularity of extra-illustration in eighteenth-century Britain. She is currently completing a monograph on this subject which is provisionally-titled Facing the Text: the Social History of Extra-Illustration, 1769-1840 (to be published by The Huntington Library Press, anticipated 2014).


Sacred Satire: Lampooning Religious Belief in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Led by Misty Gale Anderson, Associate Professor of English, University of Tennessee

Misty Anderson led a one-day seminar for Yale graduate students. The course explored satiric images of Dissenters, Methodists, and Roman Catholics, as well as established Anglican clergy. These irreverent, comic, and sometimes biting images of clergy and their congregations reveal the contested place of religion, both conforming and non-conforming, in eighteenth-century Britain. While satirical attacks on religion and the clergy reach back to antiquity, eighteenth-century graphic artists and their literary counterparts seized on anti-clerical themes with fresh vigor. This seminar examined a range of comic representations of corruption, hypocrisy, and greed that reflect the conflicts and tensions inherent in the challenge of incorporating old and new religious practices and beliefs into the British enlightenment.

The course was offered in conjunction with the exhibition “Sacred Satire: Lampooning Religious Belief in Eighteenth-Century Britain,” curated by Professor Anderson with Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Lewis Walpole Library. The exhibition opened 22 September 2011.


Portrait Prints as History

Led by Douglas Fordham,  Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Virginia

Eighteenth-century British art has long been associated with the prevalence of portrait painting, for better and for worse. While Jonathan Richardson claimed that “a portrait is a sort of general history of the life of the person it represents,” the aspiring history painter James Barry would lament the enduring English preference for “portraits of ourselves, of our horses, our dogs, and country seats.” But how did a bourgeoning print culture exacerbate or complicate the already fraught tension between portrait and history? How did the efflorescence of caricature in the second half of the century affect British conceptions of portrait likeness and civic virtue? Portrait prints, in close alliance with literary history and biography, deserve renewed attention as bearers of historical meaning. Published for book illustration and issue, with and without text, portrait prints articulated one version of national history as a “gallery” of illustrious historical persons—a visual and literary representation of a sequence of notable individuals. Additionally, straight portraits and caricatures helped to articulate modern forms of subjectivity that relate in compelling ways to the emergence of historical writing in the eighteenth century.

This seminar was led by Douglas Fordham, Assistant Professor of Art History at University of Virginia, and was offered in conjunction with the exhibition “Illustrious Heads: Portrait Prints as History” curated by Cynthia Roman and on display at the Lewis Walpole Library. Additional material from the Library’s extensive collections of historical portraits, caricatures, and illustrated books was used to demonstrate the variety of portrait prints published and collected throughout the eighteenth century. The course explored the diverse ways in which portraits were considered as repositories of history, biography, and anecdote. Additional attention was paid to the preoccupations of eighteenth-century audiences with questions of sitter classification, authenticity, provenance, and scarcity.