• 28 June to 17 September 2018
  • Deadline 5:00 pm
  • Conference date: 28-29 March 2019
  • National Portrait Gallery, London

An international conference sponsored jointly by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the European Research Council and the University of Cambridge.

This conference accompanies the National Portrait Gallery exhibition Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver, the first major exhibition on the Elizabethan and Jacobean miniature for many years. The conference will be an opportunity to consider the state of the field, to present fresh research, and to develop new approaches to the subject. In particular, it will provide an occasion to reassess the English miniature in its wider cultural and geographical contexts, building on recent discoveries about authorship, patronage, function and meaning. We invite papers on any aspect of the careers and oeuvres of Hilliard, Oliver and their contemporaries working in the genre of miniature painting.

Themes of particular interest include:

  1. Making
  • New discoveries about technique and materials, including studies from technical art history.
  • Workshop practices and organisation.
  • Collaborations between artisans and relationships between media (engraving, goldsmithing, calligraphy, manuscript illumination).
  • Format, scale and process (support media, the role of drawings)
  1. Identity
  • Biographies of practitioners, including of lesser known figures.
  • Attribution and stylistic relations.
  • Identification of sitters.
  • The construction and presentation of visual, gender and professional identities.
  1. Meaning
  • New interpretations of subject matter and iconography.
  • How materials signify.
  • Miniatures in their intellectual context (artistic theory, books of secrets, natural philosophy, literature).
  1. Geographies
  • Relations between England and the continent (stylistic, technical, social, confessional).
  • Neighbourhoods, artistic practice and social relations.
  • The global context of miniatures (Ottoman, Mughal, New World)
  1. Patronage and function
  • Gift-giving, diplomatic exchange and political positioning.
  • Public and private display (wearing and storing, intimacy and revelation).
  • Patron-client relations; patronage across social strata.

How to submit

Abstracts (of no more than 500 words) for 20-minute papers should be submitted by email to [email protected] by 5pm on 17th September 2018. We welcome applications from emerging and established scholars. Please also include a short professional biography.

Organizing Committee: Catharine MacLeod, Alexander Marr, Mark Hallett and Sarah Victoria Turner.