Upcoming Events

Graphic Landscape: The Landscape Print Series in Britain, c. 1775–1850

Call for Papers

  • 19 May to 1 July 2021
  • Deadline 11:59 pm
  • Online

Call for papers for a series of gatherings convened by the Paul Mellon Centre and the British Library (November 2-11, 2021)

Landscape and topographical print series proliferated in the late eighteenth century and in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Indeed, the format seems to have enjoyed an artistic and commercial boom in this period. The British Museum, the British Library and the Yale Center for British Art hold rich collections of such series, in various formats. Some, like Turner’s Liber Studiorum (1807–19) and Constable’s English Landscape Scenery (1830–33) are extremely well known. Many others, however, have still to receive sustained and critical attention. This programme of four online seminars, to take place in the first two weeks of November 2021, is designed to look afresh at the late Georgian and early Victorian landscape print series and to stimulate new research on this important strand of graphic art.

Across the programme, we will seek to question the assumptions that are typically brought to bear on such material. Why were print series produced? Who produced them, and what was their appeal? Why did they so regularly focus on landscape and topographical subjects? What were the commercial stakes in producing prints in series? How did they work as pictorial sequences, and how did they shape contemporary artistic practice? Is it possible to interrogate the full compass of such works – how many series were initiated, how many completed, and which survive? Were particular formats and subjects specific to printmaking in Britain, and how does this compare to the production of print series in the rest of the world? Finally, what do these series tell us about the categories of artist and of landscape art in the Romantic period?

This programme of seminars, which is being convened by Mark Hallett and Felicity Myrone, will seek to be broad and interdisciplinary in approach. We hope to showcase new research on print culture and publishing and to present new ways of thinking about how and why the ‘big names’ of the period such as Turner, Constable, Girtin and Cotman stand out (or not) in this context. We would hope that the subject will appeal to scholars of publishing, literature, and book history, as well as to landscape art historians.

We welcome proposals for 15-minute papers that take a variety of approaches. These might offer close readings of individual sets of such prints, whether familiar or obscure. We are just as interested in approaches that look at these kinds of graphic series from a broader perspective, and that address their production, consumption and appeal within the wider realms of print publishing, print culture, publishing, antiquarianism and artistic practice. Similarly, we encourage proposals that place such series in the context of eighteenth/nineteenth-century debates about rural, regional, metropolitan and imperial identity, and in relation to recent discussions on the environment and the Anthropocene.

Most of all, we encourage original, scholarly and creative approaches that allow us to see the landscape print series in new ways, and to place such work in productive dialogue with the other kinds of contemporary landscape imagery – painted, water-coloured, or drawn – with which we may now be more familiar.

This series has been organised as part of the Paul Mellon Centre’s Generation Landscape research project, and in collaboration with the British Library. It is planned to take place online on the afternoons of Tuesday, 2 November, Thursday, 4 November, Tuesday, 9 November and Thursday, 11 November 2021.

How to submit

To propose a paper, please email an abstract of 300 words or fewer and a 50-word biography in a single Word document to Shauna Blanchfield at [email protected] by midnight on Thursday 1 July 2021.

Image: JT Smith, The Entrance of Stroud, a village near Egham, Surry, from Twenty rural landscapes from nature, 1795. British Museum 1860,1208.72. © The Trustees of the British Museum

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