Lectures & Conferences

Lewis Walpole Library-Farmington Libraries Talk

The Paradox of Pearls: Accessorizing Identities in the Eighteenth Century

by exhibition curator Laura Engel, Duquesne University

November 16, 2024

2 pm

half-length colored pastel portrait of a young woman with dark hair, wearing a yellow gown with rose robe trimmed in ermine. Pearls adorn her hair and dress

From Queen Elizabeth I to Harry Styles the legacy of pearls is a story about self-fashioning. Pearls feature prominently in many pictures of celebrated figures from the past. Worn as jewelry—as embellishments of the body and apparel, or embedded in the settings of precious objects—pearls illuminate ideas about beauty, power, and style. Drawing upon materials in the Lewis Walpole Library, this talk considers how the varied and often contradictory meanings of this jewel were represented in period images and the ways in which practices from the past connect us to the enduring presence of pearls today.

Space is limited and advance registration through the Farmington Libraries site is required.  Registration link forthcoming…


Stay tuned for upcoming lecture annoucements….