Conference: Landscape and the ‘arts of prospect’
May 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Landscape and the ‘arts of prospect’ in Early Modern Britain, 18 November 2011, at the Paul Mellon Centre, Yale University
Recent years have seen a major re-evaluation of British art and culture of the early modern period in British Art research. Much of this work and research has focused on the representation of the national territory, in word and image, in plays and poems, illustrated surveys and travel accounts. Historians have addressed how these cultural practices responded to dramatic and sometimes violently contested change in the national landscape, wrought by agricultural and commercial improvement as well as civil wars and religious strife, fire and plague. Yet, accounts of the specifically pictorial treatment of landscape in this period remain oddly divorced from these concerns, in large part because it is treated in isolation from other ‘arts of prospect’. This conference at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art will explore the origins of British landscape as a pictorial genre, addressing developments in the two centuries that followed Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. It aims to re-examine landscape imagery in drawings, paintings and prints of the period, by exploring its relationship with other ‘arts of prospect’ employed to observe, record and moreover evaluate the country’s transformations.
Prospects assumed various forms, visual and verbal, and included maps, plans and elevations, as well as views and verse, pageantry and theatrical scenery, the collaborations of artists, architects and surveyors, patrons, poets and place-makers. A prospect was a far-reaching vision of the future as well as a survey of the present, if also oftentimes reflecting on the pasts that had shaped the national territory. Accordingly, a central theme of the conference will be to consider the relationship between landscape imagery and the making, unmaking and remaking of Britain as a nation state.
Papers will consider a range of imagery, rural and urban, and address themes of travel and mobility, loyalty and rebellion, health and disease, in order to re-assess the origins of British landscape representation and its histories. Speakers will explore continuities as well as change in various related practices, including scenography and ichnography, chorography and cosmography. The conference is organised by John Bonehill (University of Glasgow) and Nick Grindle (Open University). Speakers will include Kevin Sharpe (Queen Mary, University of of London); Andrew McRae (University of Exeter); Joseph Monteyne (State University of New York at Stony Brook); Christine Stevenson (Courtauld Institute); and Paula Henderson (Independent).
Further details will be available shortly.