Lectures & Conferences

Fashionable Enemies Keynote Lecture (Feb 6, 2020)

Twenty-Fifth Lewis Walpole Library Lecture (April 1, 2020)


Fashionable Enemies:  Glamour as Argument, 1770-1830

woman posing in dressA Keynote Lecture by Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Theater and Professor Emeritus of English, Yale University and Margaret K. Powell, Independent Scholar

February 6, 2020, 5:30 p.m.

Yale Center for Brirish Art

Joseph Roach and Margaret Powell will deliver a keynote lecture in association with the opening of the exhibition Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, 1770-1830, on view February 6 to May 22, 2020 at the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, CT. The exhibition is co-curated by Laura Engel, Professor of English, Duquesne University, and Amelia Rauser, Professor of Art History, Franklin & Marshall College.

Between 1770 and 1830, both fashionable dress and theatrical practice underwent dramatic changes in an attempt to become more “natural.” And yet this desire was widely recognized as paradoxical, since both fashion and the theater were longstanding tropes of artifice. In this exhibition, we examine this paradox of “artful nature” through the changing conception of theatricality during these decades, as mirrored and expressed in fashionable dress. Theater and performance practices in the late eighteenth-century, including the vogue for private theatricals, reinforced the blurred lines between the theater and everyday life. Classical sculpture became a reference point for women, as its artistic excellence was acclaimed precisely because it seemed so “natural.” But when actresses, dancers, painters, or just regular fashionistas posed themselves as classical statues come to life, they acted as both Pygmalion and Galatea, both the genius artist and the living artwork. “Artful Nature” refers simultaneously to the theatricality and deception typically attributed to fashionable women in the late eighteenth century, and at the same time to the potential survival strategies employed by women artists, authors, and actresses to craft their own parts.

Under the direction of Laura Engel, a performance based on Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends, acted as an amateur theatrical at Strawberry Hill in November 1801, is planned for May 15, 2020 in the newly restored eighteenth-century Cowles House on the campus of The Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut.

For further details on the exhibition and other associated programs see the Lewis Walpole Library website.


The Twenty-Fifth Lewis Walpole Library Lecture

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What are dogs doing in eighteenth century British art?

Thomas W. Laqueur
Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus,
University of California, Berkeley.

Yale Center for British Art Lecture Hall
1080 Chapel Street, New Haven


color photo of Tom LaqueurThomas Laqueur is Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus at UC Berkeley. He has written on the history of sexuality, of death and commemoration, of religion, and of human rights and humanitarianism.  His most recent book is The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains. Laqueur is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, The Three Penny Review and other journals. He is currently writing a series of essays each organized around what dogs are doing in canonical works of art by among others Giotto, Piero di Cosimo, Titian, Durer, Veronese, Valasquez, and Goya among others as well around other images and artifacts—paw prints on Babylonian cuneiform tiles and Neolithic rock painting. 

https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty/emeritus/thomas-w-laqueur