Upcoming Events

Aquatint Empires

Lecture – Douglas Fordham

  • 18 May 2016
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Lecture Room, Paul Mellon Centre

This talk considers the importance of what used to be known as “English Coloured Books” to the conceptualization and visualization of the British Empire. Particular attention will be given to aquatint as a medium, and the ways in which this tonal intaglio process encouraged certain types of visual themes, historical narratives, and viewer responses. Making particular use of the J.R. Abbey collection of “Travel in Aquatint and Lithography” in the Yale Center for British Art, this project explores the production and reception of three ambitious and beautifully illustrated publications, Thomas Daniell’s Hindoo Excavations (1803), William Alexander’s Costume of China (1805), and Samuel Daniell’s African Scenery and Animals (1804-5). This talk asks what these publications might reveal about Britain’s place in the world following the Treaty of Amiens. More broadly, it considers seriality as empire; how did elaborate aquatint publications colour British visions of Africa, Asia, and beyond?

All are welcome! However, places are limited, so if you would like to attend please book a place in advance.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the speaker

  • Douglas Fordham black & white headshot in front of a bookcase

    Douglas Fordham is a Professor at the University of Virginia. He is interested in the relationship between art, media and the British Empire, including his most recent publication, Aquatint Worlds: Travel, Print and Empire, 1770–1820 (PMC, 2019). As a PMC Senior Fellow, he is working on a project titled, ‘Aboriginal Printmaking and the Bureaucratic State’.