Category Archives: Call for Papers

George Scharf and the museum professional

George Scharf and the emergence of the museum professional in nineteenth-century Britain

A one-day participatory workshop concerning the emergence of the museum professional in the nineteenth-century, to be held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on Tuesday the 21st April 2015.

Current research focusing on the career of Sir George Scharf, the Gallery’s first Secretary and Director (1857-95), aims to establish his approach museum practice, the nature of his professional networks and the extent to which he collaborated with figures in the museum and wider art world. As custodian of the national portraits, Scharf oversaw the acquisition, display, interpretation and conservation of the early collection. He was also responsible for the establishment of a research library of engraved portraits, periodicals, books and documents. This, coupled with his diligent research into works in numerous private collections, served as a vital resource for authenticating potential portrait acquisitions for the Gallery. In recording what he saw by means of densely annotated sketches and detailed tracings, Scharf developed a procedure for the documentation, identification and authentication of portraiture, which continues to inform the research practice of the institution.

Short papers are invited from scholars on nineteenth-century practitioners centrally engaged in research, conservation, management or curatorship, within national or regional public galleries and museums. Participants should consider one or both of the following:

  • Evidence of the development of professional standards within individual careers.
  • Evidence of a collective contribution to the professionalization of museum practice during a period which saw the development of a range of clearly defined, independent, professions.

Whilst the careers of figures, including Sir Henry Cole, Sir Charles Eastlake and Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, have been examined in relation to wider institutional histories and studies of the public art museum in the Victorian era, little scholarly attention has been directed towards the identity of such individuals as a discrete group of professionals or the manner in which they interacted. To this end, presentations will be followed by a round-table discussion with reference to both the potential for collaboration between employees of different institutions, and the consolidation of museum roles throughout the 1800s. Participants might also consider the following questions:

Did potential networks extend beyond national boundaries to include contemporaries working in European museums and galleries, and what influence did this bring to bear upon British museum practice?

What were the differing needs of individuals working in various arts institutions, and how were these met within a circle of professional contacts?

How did the role of the curator develop in the nineteenth-century and how did this job specification vary between institutions?

Considering the backgrounds, or ‘skill-sets’ of these individuals, can we pinpoint a shift from connoisseurship towards an emerging curatorship?

Please direct abstracts for a 20-minute paper (approx. 250 words) and a biographical statement (100 words) to Elizabeth Heath at Research@npg.org.uk, no later than Monday 15th December 2014. Speakers will be notified in early January 2015.

CFP: Animating the Eighteenth-Century Country House

Organised by the Paul Mellon Centre, the National Gallery, and Birkbeck, University of London

5-6 March 2015

When we visit a Georgian country house, wander through its interiors, and stop to look across a rope at a particular arrangement of pictures and furniture, it is common to experience the sense we are looking at a snapshot of the past, a frozen moment of time. This impression of the country house as a static, unchanging environment belies a crucial aspect of such properties: the fact that, during the eighteenth century itself, they were continually in flux and being fashioned and experienced anew. Recent research encourages us to think afresh about such issues. Sources such as diaries, letters, inventories, catalogues and account books show country-house objects being inherited, gifted, purchased, removed and relocated, and provide evidence that the spaces in which such objects were located were subject to constant development and reconceptualization. Accordingly, this conference will focus on the Georgian country house as an environment that was always evolving, and that was animated by the interaction between objects and people.

This conference will look at the ways in which objects, when placed on display within a particular space – a room, a corridor, a garden – entered into different kinds of dialogue with the contents, decoration and associations of that environment, all of which were subject to change and adaptation. It will also explore the ways in which the evolving spaces of the country house, and the forms of display found within them, were experienced – by those who lived in the house, by those who visited as tourists or invited guests, and by those who engaged vicariously through the process of ‘armchair travel’, reading guidebooks and other contemporary accounts.

This two-day event, which will include a half-day visit to a local property, aims to bring together scholars from a variety of fields with the objective of animating the eighteenth-century country house. Proposals for contributions are welcomed from art historians and historians working on all aspects of the eighteenth-century country house, including architecture, painting, sculpture, the decorative arts and garden history.

We particularly welcome proposals for papers exploring the following topics:

  • Acquisition: the purchase, commissioning, inheritance, gifting of works of art, furniture, books and other materials.
  • Display: picture hangs; room arrangements and decorative schemes; the organisation of art collections within and between different properties owned by the same family; garden design and layout.
  • The country house as lived environment: the lived experience of the country house as a family home; as a site of hospitality; as a space in which artists may have worked.
  • The country house as tourist destination: country house tourism; visitor experience; the multifarious literature related to country houses, including guidebooks, regional guidebooks, and periodical articles.

Abstracts for 25 minute conference papers should be no longer than 300 words in length, and should be accompanied by a short biography (of no more than 100 words) detailing any work or recent publications of particular relevance. Please send abstracts and biographies by Monday 14 July to:
Amelia Smith, The National Gallery/Birkbeck, University of London
amelia.smith@ng-london.org.uk.

CFP: Animating the Eighteenth-Century Country House

Call for Papers

Animating the Eighteenth-Century Country House

5-6 March 2015

Organised by the Paul Mellon Centre, the National Gallery, and Birkbeck, University of London.

This conference aims to address the themes of art collecting, display, architecture, interiors and gardens by bringing together scholars working in a range of fields. Proposals are welcomed from art historians and historians working on all aspects of the eighteenth-century country house.

Animating the Eighteenth-Century Country House CFP

Abstracts for 25-minute conference papers should be no longer than 300 words in length, and should be accompanied by a short biography (of no more than 100 words) detailing any work or recent publications of particular relevance.

Please send abstracts by Monday 14 July 2014 to:

Amelia Smith
The National Gallery/Birkbeck, University of London
amelia.smith@ng-london.org.uk

 

CFP: Understanding British Portraits Annual Seminar

This year’s Understanding British Portraits Annual Seminar will take place on Wednesday 26 November 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Dr Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust has been confirmed as the co-chair of the event.

This Annual Seminar aims to highlight current scholarly research, museum-based learning programmes, conservation discoveries and curatorial practice relating to British portraits of all media and time periods. They are inviting proposals for 20-25 minute papers from professionals who would like to share case studies and ideas which relate to the aims of the seminar.

Hilliard, N. George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, (c.1590). National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
Hilliard, N. George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, (c.1590). National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Understanding British Portraits is an active network with free membership for professionals working with British portraits including curators, museum learning professionals, researchers, academics and conservators. They aim to enhance the knowledge and understanding of portraits in all media in British collections, for the benefit of future research, exhibitions, interpretation, display and learning programmes.

Please send an outline of approximately 200 words, along with a brief biographical note, to mail@britishportraits.org.uk before Friday 13 June.

For more information, please visit http://www.britishportraits.org.uk/events/annual-seminar-2014/

CFP: Fashion, Function and Ornament – Accessorising the Long Eighteenth Century

A one-day symposium at the York Hilton Hotel and Fairfax House, Friday 19 September 2014

In fashion the term ‘accessory’ covers a wide range of items such as gloves, sashes, reticules, spectacles, watches, parasols, and potentially many other articles. Accessories can be seen as marginal to the nature of fashion, but historically they have played a key role in shaping the character of men’s and women’s fashions, combining ornament and function and giving scope for the expression of individual and collective identities. The era from the late Stuart to the early Victorian period saw the accessory achieve new prominence as a fashion statement, an expression of wealth, status and taste, and a desirable object of consumption, possession and display.

This symposium aims to bring together interested parties from curatorial, conservation, academic and other backgrounds with an interest in fashion, textiles, clothing and related topics to explore the nature and significance of accessories in the history of fashion from c.1660 to c.1840. Relevant topics to be addressed in contributions to the symposium may include (but would certainly not be limited to) the gender, class and identity dimensions of the accessory, collecting and collections cultures of consumerism and consumption, style, fashion and ornament, exoticism and the antique in accessory design and ornament, and the accessory in the visual and literary culture of the ‘long eighteenth century’.
Proposals are invited for symposium contributions not exceeding 20 minutes in length. Please send outlines of c.200 words to: fairfaxhousesymposium@gmail.com by Monday 28 July 2014. Please direct any queries about the symposium to the same email address.

Session Proposals: AAH Annual Conference 2015

Did you attend the Association of Art Historians’ annual conference last week? Were you inspired by the new research presented?

The AAH are calling for session proposals for AAH 2015 (Thurs 9 April – Saturday 11 April) at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich. This conference will highlight the breadth, diversity and vitality of art-historical research today.

AAH particularly welcome proposals for sessions which are:
• focused on a specific period and/or culture, and concerned with interrogating an issue or theme which is significant to current or emergent scholarship in that field, or
• concerned to explore an artistic or art-historical issue or theme across several or all periods and/or cultures, in an inclusive manner.
• characterized by cross-disciplinarity or which engage with the possibilities and/or limits of cross-disciplinarity for art history, or
• explicitly engaged with theoretical, historiographical, methodological and political issues (especially in their relevance to the study of art across periods and/or cultures).
• intended to be intellectually exploratory, provisional, open-ended or noncompliant.

To download a session proposal form, visit http://aah.org.uk/annual-conference/2015-conference

We particularly welcome proposals for sessions which are:
• focused on a specific period and/or culture, and concerned with interrogating an issue or theme which is significant to current or emergent scholarship in that field, or
• concerned to explore an artistic or art-historical issue or theme across several or all periods and/or cultures, in an inclusive manner
• characterized by cross-disciplinarity or which engage with the possibilities and/or limits of cross-disciplinarity for art history, or
• explicitly engaged with theoretical, historiographical, methodological and political issues (especially in their relevance to the study of art across periods and/or cultures)
• intended to be intellectually exploratory, provisional, open-ended or noncompliant – See more at: http://aah.org.uk/annual-conference/2015-conference#sthash.ZcikTAet.dpuf
will highlight the breadth, diversity and vitality of art-historical scholarship today. – See more at: http://aah.org.uk/annual-conference/2015-conference#sthash.ZcikTAet.dpuf
will highlight the breadth, diversity and vitality of art-historical scholarship today. – See more at: http://aah.org.uk/annual-conference/2015-conference#sthash.ZcikTAet.dpuf

CfP: Materials, Movements, Encounters: Modernist art networks and St Ives

Barbara Hepworth Stringed Figure (Curlew), Version II 1956, edition 1959
Barbara Hepworth Stringed Figure (Curlew), Version II 1956, edition 1959

Tate Research seminar
Saturday 21 June 2014
Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall

Deadline for abstracts: Tuesday 22 April 2014

Keynote speakers
Dr Sarah Victoria Turner, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Dr Natalie Adamson, University of St Andrews

Materials, Movements, Encounters: Modernist art networks and St Ives is a one-day Tate Research seminar designed to explore the importance of artist networks to modernist production. The seminar aims to discuss how artist networks functioned, the ways in which they proliferated, and their impact upon our understanding of art as connected to place. Central to this discussion are movements by which people, materials, forms and ideas were distributed, traded and shared. In On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World, Tim Cresswell has suggested that mobility be considered ‘as progress, as freedom, as opportunity, and as modernity’, ‘as shiftlessness, as deviance, and as resistance’, and as ‘a kind of blank space that stands as an alternative to place, boundedness, foundation, and stability’.

Key to modernist artistic practice was the confluence and reciprocity of artist networks, whether through correspondence and travel, publication and exhibition, or through the exchange of materials and techniques. However, particularly within British art history, there has been a tendency to view artists’ outputs as rooted to a particular place. This has been especially true for modernist artists who lived and worked in St Ives, Cornwall, including Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon and Ben Nicholson. With the opening of Tate St Ives in 1993, for instance, it was claimed that the new gallery would allow visitors to see works of the St Ives modernists ‘in the area in which they were conceived and close to the landscape and sea which influenced them’.

But can modernist trajectories be found that resist the rootedness of place? What kinds of artistic encounters were possible for those artists located in far-flung places? If the distribution of materials, ideas and people was regulated, more closely guarded, or even barred, what were the implications for artistic practice? What are the means with which we might trace artistic flows of ommunication and contact? And how might the display and study of artworks today communicate both the role of networks and artists’ complex relationships with place?

We welcome submissions from current or recently completed PhD candidates across the
humanities and social sciences. Subjects are not restricted to discussions of art in St Ives, but should either relate to an artist associated with the area for a time or provide helpful context to the theoretical or historical underpinnings of the seminar. Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

- The role of artists’ colonies in Britain or abroad
– The experiences and effects of travel, migration or exile, such as with wartime and
postwar relocation to St Ives
– The role of published texts, including books, periodicals, exhibition catalogues and
collaborative projects, for dispersing ideas and stimulating debate
– Artists’ participation in – or experiences of – key exhibitions or displays in London, Paris,
North America or further afield, and international fora such as the Venice Biennale
– The role of commercial galleries for importing and exporting works, and stimulating
material, ideological and professional networks of exchange
– Artists’ relationships with their contemporaries, including other artists, authors, critics,
dealers, historians, patrons, scientists and friends
– The construction of regional, national and international artistic identities
– The effect of technological developments on travel and communication
– The role of professional and personal correspondence, or the values and challenges of
working with archives
– Re-presenting modernist narratives and networks in texts, diagrams or displays

The seminar will include curator-led tours of the Tate St Ives exhibition International Exchanges: Modern Art and St Ives 1915–1965 and a field trip for invited guests and seminar speakers on Sunday 22 June. A contribution towards the costs of travel and accommodation will be provided.

Please email abstracts of up to 250 words for 15-minute papers and a short biography to the convenors, Helena Bonett and Rachel Smith, at helena.bonett@tate.org.uk and
rachel.smith@tate.org.uk by Tuesday 22 April 2014.

The seminar is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund