Past Seminars, Workshops & Panel Discussions

James Gillray: Artist and Satirist Study Day  (2024)

Caricature Collectors in Conversation (2023)

Giving the Walpole Way: Philanthropy in the Eighteenth-Century and Now (2023)

Female Friendship, Collaboration and Creativity (2023)

William Hogarth’s Topographies: Dangerous Sketching (2022)

The Charitable Impulse: Philanthropic Values from the 18th Century to Today (2022)

William Hogarth’s Topographies: “The Five-Day Peregrination” (2022)

William Hogarth’s Topographies: Decolonizing Sámi Representation (2022)

Viewing Topography Across the Globe Series Workshop II: Indigeneity (2021)

Jane Austen’s Difficulty (2018)

Queer Biography and the Archives (2017)

Caricature, revolution and reform in pre-Victorian Britain (2017)

Grand Harmonie Period Instruments Workshop (2017)

Character and Caricature (2016)

Conceptualizing the “Age of Democratic Revolutions” (2016)

James Gillray’s Experimental Printmaking (2016)

Collecting the Graphic Work of William Hogarth (2016)

Connoisseurship: Graphic Satire from William Hogarth to James Gillray (2016)

Expressive Bodies in Eighteenth-Century Satirical Prints (2015)

“We are an injured body”: Collectivity and the Female Body (2015)

Representing Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (2014)

“Sugar and the confectioner in eighteenth-century England”

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

Sacred Satire: Lampooning Religious Belief in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Portrait Prints as History

James Gillray: Artist and Satirist Study Day

May 10, 2024 at the Yale Center for British Art

The visual and verbal brilliance of James Gillray’s finest prints mark him as arguably the first significant artist who made caricature his full-time occupation. In this workshop Tim Clayton will present several case studies using prints and drawings in Yale University collections to illustrate what is quintessentially ‘Gillray’ even where others contributed concepts or collaborated on production.

For example, The Royal Whim is apparently the only known impression of a print that was presumably suppressed. Although published anonymously, it is catalogued as by Gillray. Clayton will discuss the complex criteria for judging what is “right” or “wrong”, including the style and quality of the drawing and of the engraving, the literary style, the execution of the lettering, and the identity of the publisher. Individual print or edition will exhibit varying paper and watermarks, coloring, handwritten inscriptions, and changes to the plate, including changes in the imprint. 

The Legacy of James Gillray for Political Cartoonists Today

Steve Bell will discuss the enduring legacy of James Gillray and why the artist’s work has remained such a powerful source for his own political cartoons.

Bell explains:

A number of things about Gillray and his legacy stand out. He is the first, true, political cartoonist – his work is almost entirely political which, considering the restrictions of the time is entirely praiseworthy. He doesn’t just illustrate politics, he explains them visually, comically and fearlessly.

There is a great and conscious artistic depth to his work, with his constant use of, and reference to, both contemporary and ancient art. He uses art to explain complex political subjects visually. His pictures are all driven by a relentless pictorial, and more often than not, comic logic. His ribbon-like speech bubbles, which are often dense as well as plentiful, rarely explain. They simply add yet another layer of meaning.

While his work could be collaborative and he frequently used ideas suggested by others, he did so in his own way and to his own purposes which, again considering the restraints he worked under is more than remarkable.

It is quite possible to enjoy a Gillray image without knowing what the hell it is actually about. The artiness isn’t an add-on; it is of the essence. Which helps explain why he so influenced distinguished contemporaries, like Jacques Louis David, and why his influence persists to this day.  

Tailpiece to Volume 1 of Caricature Magazine with speech bubble text replaced with program announcement



Thursday, November 16, 2023

3:00 to 5:30 p.m.

International Room, Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street, New Haven, CT 06511

Please join us for a panel of distinguished private collectors and print curators for lively conversation about their interests, expertise, and adventures in building their collections of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British caricature and satiric prints. They will share stories of discovery and the pursuit of coveted acquisitions, and we will invite their thoughts on the role of appreciation, connoisseurship, and learning that grows along with the collection and the value that they find in engagement with fellow collectors and curators, and in research at library and museum print rooms.

This program is free and open to the public. 

Organized and sponsored by the Lewis Walpole Library

two figures, one a cherub and the other a woman carrying a basket filled with children, hold a banner that says "Increase of Children A Nation's Strength"


Giving the Walpole Way: Philanthropy in the Eighteenth-Century and Now

Your company is desired for a seminar on the formation of modern philanthropy

August 25, 2023

10:30 am to 3:30 pm

Event description:

The Lewis Walpole Library is pleased to host a collections-based seminar on the formation of modern philanthropic culture in eighteenth-century England and how that informs many issues society continues to grapple with today. The seminar will be led by Andrew Rudd, Senior Tutor, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University, curator of the exhibition  Knight Errant of the Distressed: Horace Walpole and Philanthropy in Eighteenth-Century London (now online).

Experts from both academia and the philanthropic sector will join discussions rooted in the multifaceted culture of philanthropy in eighteenth-century England through objects-based inquiry, including materials from the exhibition and the library’s wider collections. These encompass visual art, music, the sentimental tradition, topographical images and a host of ephemeral and manuscript items used to promote good causes and charitable giving.

The program will begin at 10:30 am with a discussion of the exhibition with Professor Rudd. Following a break for lunch provided by the library, we will gather in the reading room at 1:00 pm for discussion around items selected from the library’s collection.

Participants may also be interested in viewing the recording of Professor Rudd’s online lecture Print Philanthropy in the Age of Horace Walpole.

Female Friendship, Collaboration, and Creativity 

Two fashionably dressed young women looking over a letter together sit at a round tableScholars’ Workshop

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Workshop organized by Laura Engel, Dusquesne University and Cynthia Roman, The Lewis Walpole Library

in association with

Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends, a performance directed by Laura Engel

This program is a reprisal of events (with minor modifications) planned and originally scheduled for May 14, 2020, in association with the exhibition Artful Nature. Pandemic lockdown forced a postponement.

The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, May 11, with a special performance for scholars on Thursday evening. There will be a talkback with director and actors, moderated by Amelia Rauser.

The Workshop:

The performance of Fashionable Friends and the workshop on female friendship, collaboration, and creativity are designed to highlight the ways in which women worked together to create both tangible and intangible artistic legacies. We invite discussions and analyses of objects, images, and narratives that consider how women collaboratively engendered works of art, intellectual communities, inspirational friendships, and other kinds of remarkable productions.

The workshop will include informal collections-based presentations by invited scholars, followed by open discussion. 

Invited Scholars

Jill Campbell, Yale University

Laura Engel, Duquesne University

Marilyn Francus, West Virginia University

Caroline Gonda, St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge

Ellen Malenas Ledoux, Rutgers University, Camden

Amelia Rauser, Franklin & Marshall College

Joseph Roach, Yale University

Cynthia Roman, Yale University

Kristina Straub, Carnegie Mellon University

Dale Townshend, Manchester Metropolitan University

William Hogarth’s Topographies: A Series of Conversations

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

IIIDangerous Sketching: Hogarth at the Gate of Calais and other Artists Suspected of Spying

Dr. Ulrike Boskamp will speak about William Hogarth’s painting and print Gate of Calais (1748/49) as part of more pervasive narratives about artists accused of spying. According to Hogarth’s own testimony, his Gate of Calais, which includes a self-portrait observing and sketching the scene, is based on the occasion of his seizure by soldiers while visiting France. Hogarth’s arrest under suspicion of spying has most commonly been interpreted in the framework of biography as a unique and originally Hogarthian incident that is closely connected with the artist’s specific behavior, character and views. While the historic truth of spying accusations against artists can not seriously be doubted, these incidents acquire a specific literary shape when transmitted as biographical anecdotes. Dr. Boskamp, however, reconsiders the story of Hogarth’s arrest in a broader historical context wherein artists were regularly arrested as spies when travelling in foreign countries, especially near their borders. Her talk places the episode within pre-existing narratives about the arrest of other artists. She traces how Hogarth’s anecdote in particular circulated through contemporary and later texts and images and was commemorated, quoted, visualised, and even re-enacted by later artists.

Recording of Panel Discussion

Dr Ulrike Boskamp is an art historian based in Berlin, Germany. She currently works as the head of M.1 Hohenlockstedt, a foundation for contemporary art in Northern Germany. She is one of four organisers of the Netzwerk topografische Bildmedien (NTB), an academic network dealing with Topographic Visual Media, founded in 2020. Her book Gefährliche Bilder. Zeichnerinnen und Zeichner unter Spionageverdacht came out in June 2022. It is the result of a project in the research group “Transcultural Negotiations in the Ambits of Art”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) at Freie Universität Berlin. She has worked at Freie Universität Berlin and Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, Paris. Her PhD on color in art, art literature and science in 18th century France, Primärfarben und Farbharmonie. Farbe in der französischen Naturwissenschaft, Kunstliteratur und Malerei des 18. Jahrhunderts, was published in 2009.

The Charitable Impulse: Philanthropic Values from the 18th Century to Today

Wednesday, September 21, 4:00-6:00 PM 

Dwight Hall at Yale, 67 High Street, New Haven

A Conversation Jointly Organized by The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University and Dwight Hall at Yale: Center for Public Service and Social Justice in conjunction with the exhibition

Knight Errant of the Distressed: Horace Walpole and Philanthropy in Eighteenth Century London

Curated by Dr. Andrew Rudd, Senior Lecturer, English Department, University of Exeter

In the eighteenth century, charitable acts and societies in England and the American colonies were motivated by an understanding of moral and ethical obligations of the “better off” to do good works on behalf of the “needy.” Philanthropic organizations from this time reveal historical attitudes toward the benefit to the individual and the public of charitable activities.

This panel will explore how views on privilege, agency, status, and the responsibilities of members of society to others have evolved over time, and the ways in which certain implicit understandings of why and how people should care for others remain unchanged.

William Hogarth’s Topographies: A Series of Conversations

Wednesday July 20
12 PM (EDT)

II. “The Five-Day Peregrination:” a dizzy journey through the topographical history of Kent

Topography is central to William Hogarth’s canonical progress series in which London settings play a decisive narrative role. Lesser-known works by the artist, however, also engage with topographical representation. Pierre Von-Ow’s online exhibition William Hogarth’s Topographies considers the artist’s illustrations of national and colonized geographies beyond the metropole. The county of Kent is the site of a tour undertaken in May 1732 by Hogarth and a group of friends who collectively memorialized the adventure as The Five-Day Peregrination. The exhibition presents the peregrination as both a jesting imitation of the Grand Tour of the landscapes and monuments of Europe and as a satire of the British antiquarians who, since at least the sixteenth century, had minutely inventoried the country’s history and antiquities as a means of reclaiming a glorious past.

Recording of Panel Discussion

Jacqueline Riding and Caroline Patey will discuss the textual and visual representations recorded by Hogarth and his fellow travelers of their tour of Kent, first in manuscript (now in the British Museum) and later published as An Account of What Seemed Most Remarkable in the Five Days Peregrination (1782, etc.). The event seeks to explore the connections between this little-known project and the broader literature of actual and invented travels, as well as the history of Kent and its ties to the global expansion of the British Empire. Dr. Riding has structured her recent biography Hogarth: Life in Progress (2021) with eight interludes that address different aspects of The Peregrination. Dr. Patey is currently working on a translation of The Peregrination into Italian. Riding and Patey will share their thoughts about why the tour of Hogarth and his friends continues to demand attention bringing to this program insights from their recent and current work.

Professor Caroline Patey has studied English and Comparative literature in Paris (Paris III), Dublin UCD and the Università degli Studi, Milan, where she was Chair and Professor of English Literature until 2018. Her interests and fields of research include Renaissance literature, late Victorian culture and Modernism with a special focus on intermediality, the intersection between art, museums and literature and the cross-border circulation of cultures and aesthetic forms. She has edited and co-edited the outcome of various collective explorations of these topics and has published numerous book-length studies on subjects as diverse as Proust and Joyce (1991) Mannerism (1996), Shakespeare and history (1998) and Henry James (2004). Together with Cynthia E. Roman (Yale) and Georges Letissier (Nantes), she has recently co-edited the two volumes of Enduring Presence. William Hogarth’s Afterlives in British and European Culture, (September 2021). Since her retirement in late 2018, Caroline has taught specialist seminars in Italy and Germany (Bard College, Berlin, 2020). She co-directs a collection of critical essays on British and Anglophone literature, Prismi, Classici nel tempo, Mimesis, Milano, and sits on the board of the journal of comparative literature, Letteratura e Letterature.

Dr Jacqueline Riding specializes in British history and art of the long eighteenth century. She is the author of Jacobites: A New History of the ‘45 Rebellion (2016), Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre (2018) and Hogarth: Life in Progress (2021), which has been awarded the Sunday Times Art Book of the Year 2021 and a Times and Sunday Times Paperback of 2022. Former curator of the Palace of Westminster and director of the Handel House Museum, London, she is a historical adviser on feature films including Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner (2014) and Peterloo (2018), a consultant for museums and historic buildings including Tate Britain and Historic Royal Palaces, and Books Editor for The Art Newspaper. Jacqueline is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Department of the History of Art, University of York and trustee of the Jacobite Studies Trust and [JMW] Turner’s House, London.

This program is organized by The Lewis Walpole Library in conjunction with the online exhibition “William Hogarth’s Topographies” curated by Pierre Von-Ow, Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s Department of The History of Art.

William Hogarth’s Topographies: A Series of Conversations

Thursday, June 2, 2022
12 PM (EST)

I. Decolonizing Sámi Representations and the Legacy of Colonial Topographies

Topography is central to William Hogarth’s canonical progress series in which London settings play a decisive narrative role. Lesser-known works by the artist, however, also engage with topographical representation. Pierre Von-Ow’s online exhibition William Hogarth’s Topographies considers the artist’s illustrations of national and colonized geographies beyond the metropole. Among international topographical views are Hogarth’s illustrations of Sápmi in the Scandinavian north, referred to at the time as “Lapland.” 

Artist Joar Nango and art historian Mathias Danbolt will discuss the legacy of historical representations of the Sámi, and their reworking of colonial archives in the service of Indigenous Sámi self-determination.

Recording of Panel Discussion

Joar Nango (born 1979 in Alta, Norway) is a Sámi architect and indigenous artist, living in Norway. Nango’s work investigates the nomadic conception of space, territories and ideas of the concept of home. He focuses on different ways of dealing with materiality, movement and space. He has exhibited internationally both separately as an individual artist including at Documenta14 (2017), Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019), Institute for Modern art (Brisbane, 2019), National Museum of Canada (2019), Bergen Kunsthall (2021), and National Museum of Norway (2022). He is also involved in collective projects. In 2010 he established the architecture collective FFB which makes an architecture celebrating the failure of capitalism. Since 2020, he has been involved as a host and director of the ongoing TV production PCA-TV (Post-Capitalist Architecture TV) in which the 6th episode features a commissioned work for Toronto Biennial of Art in May 2022.

Dr Mathias Danbolt is a Norwegian art historian who has a special focus on queer, feminist, and decolonial perspectives on art and visual culture. Danbolt is currently leading three collective research projects: “The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Art Histories” (2019-2023), “Okta: Art and social communities in Sápmi” (2019-22), and “Moving Monuments: The Afterlife of Sculpture from the Danish Colonial Era” (2022-25). In 2017 Danbolt curated the visual culture exhibition Blind Spots. Images of the Danish West Indies Colony (2017-18), with Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer and Sarah Giersing at the Royal Danish Library. Danbolt is professor of art history at University of Copenhagen.

This program is organized by The Lewis Walpole Library in conjunction with the online exhibition “William Hogarth’s Topographies” curated by Pierre Von-Ow, Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s Department of The History of Art.

Viewing Topography Across the Globe Series                                                                                              Workshop II: Indigeneity

Sponsored by the Lewis Walpole Library

Organized by Cynthia Roman, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University and Holly Shaffer, Brown University

On Zoom May 13 and 14, 2021

Zoom Recording of Panel 1

Zoom Recording of Panel 2

Topography, from topos, is the practice of describing place through language, the features of the land, the inhabitants, and the accumulation of history. Specific to locality and the perspective of the person delineating, describing, or collecting materials, topography counters the worldliness of geography while also offering a potential tool to multiply singular approaches.

In this second workshop in the series “Viewing Topography Across the Globe,” we will consider approaches to place from Indigenous and European perspectives and interrogate the frame of “topography” in global contexts. In two half-day virtual sessions, we will focus on topographical practices in the Americas as well as South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean as well as how the materials of art-making both locate and disrupt notions of place. We will hear from artists and academics, work with colonial-era paintings, Indigenous objects, mapping, and literature, and consider Indigenous pedagogy.

Full Schedule and Abstracts

18th/19th Century Colloquium: Jane Austen’s Difficulty


Claudia L. Johnson, Murray Professor of English Literature, Princeton University

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 5:30 pm

Linsly-Chittenden Hall, LC 319
63 High Street
New Haven, CT 02511

Claudia L. Johnson specializes in 18th and early 19th-century literature, with a particular emphasis on the novel. Johnson is working on several book-length projects: an edition of Austen’s The Beautifull Cassandra with drawings by Leon Steinmetz, forthcoming Princeton University Press, 2018), 30 Great Myths About Jane Austen, with Clara Tuite, forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell in 2019; and Raising the Novel, which explores key phases the history of the history of the novel in which critics have attempted to elevate them to keystones of high culture. This lecture is being given in connection with the 23rd Lewis Walpole Library Lecture: Pride, Prejudice and Portraits: The Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, being held on April 4th. For more information about this event, please see our Lectures & Conferences page. Both lectures by Professor Johnson are open to the public. 

Queer Biography and the Archives

A roundtable with George E. Haggerty

Discussants include Abby Coykendall, Jason Farr, Caroline Gonda, Paul Kelleher, Ellen Malenas Ledoux, Susan Lanser, and Timothy Young

October 27, 2017
2:30 to 4:45 pm

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

For questions and further information please contact Cynthia Roman

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.

For more information please contact Cynthia Roman at

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

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 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

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

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

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


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.

“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.