Print, Politics and Industrialisation : Graphic Landscape
Conference, Lecture – Mark Hallett, Felicity Myrone, Amy Concannon, Lizzie Jacklin, Morna O'Neill
- 2 November 2021
- 12:00 – 2:00 pm
- This event is part of the online conference programme 'Graphic Landscape: The Landscape Print Series in Britain, c.1775–1850
12.00–12.10 Introduction by Mark Hallett (Director, Paul Mellon Centre) and Felicity Myrone (Lead Curator, Western Prints and Drawings, British Library)
12.10–12.30 Amy Concannon (Senior Curator, Historic British Art, Tate)
‘A captur’d city blazed’: Printmaking and the Bristol Riots of 1831
12.30–12.50 Lizzie Jacklin (Keeper of Art, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums )
Mining Landscapes: Thomas Hair’s Views of the Collieries
12.50–13.00 Comfort break
13.00–13.20 Morna O’Neill (Associate Professor of Art History, Art Department, Wake Forest University)
John Constable, David Lucas and Steel in English Landscape
13.20–14.00 Panel discussion and questions
Amy Concannon, ‘A Captur’d City Blazed’: Printmaking and the Bristol Riots of 1831
This paper will take as its starting point a sheet of ten lithographs depicting the Bristol riots of 29–31 October 1831. These riots took place in the wake of Parliament’s rejection of the first bill for political reform. The sheet bears witness to how Bristol became, overnight, the mouthpiece of national tension and its cityscape a symbol of a country divided, as public buildings burnt and crumbled into ruins. Published soon after the riots by leading London lithographer, Charles Hullmandel, after works by Bristol-based artists James Baker Pyne and William James Müller, it is a work of swift and collaborative opportunism that capitalised on a moment of high drama. Its use of lithography, meanwhile, echoed the means by which French artists Hippolyte Bellangé, Honoré Daumier and Eugéne Lami circulated their depictions of the July Revolution of 1830. The Bristol sheet will be discussed in relation to another lithographic project for which the riots were the impetus: John Skinner Prout’s Picturesque Antiquities of Bristol (1834). Together these series – one collaborative project with a distinctive mis-en-page and another solo endeavour through which images are encountered in foliated sequence – will inspire reflections on how a city’s image may unfold through serialisation, thoughts on the series itself as a form of production and as a way for artists working in regional centres to draw on their local knowledge, professional network and raise their profile and that of their locale.
Lizzie Jacklin, Mining Landscapes: Thomas Hair’s Views of the Collieries
‘The coal-mines of the north occupy a prominent position in the scale of national production and commerce; but… their appearance has been considered… so repulsive, as to forbid the investigations of the artist.’
This paper focuses on Thomas Hair’s Views of the Collieries in the Counties of Northumberland and Durham of 1844. In preparation for this publication, Hair made a series of topographical watercolours (now in the collection of the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University) revealing the impact of coal mining on the northern landscape. While the industry’s legacy is felt in the region to this day, by the 1960s few of the colliery buildings survived outside of Hair’s depictions. As such, the watercolours and prints provide a key historical record of a significant but ultimately transient change to the northern landscape, albeit one with lasting effects.
The paper aims to expand the dialogue around Hair’s endeavour by considering it in the context of the landscape print series and wider issues surrounding the consumption and categorisation of this kind of material. The publication’s preface, as quoted from above, suggests a conscious choice to record something that was otherwise ignored by the artists of Hair’s time; the truth and implications of this claim will also be explored and the legacy of his printed record of the northeast’s mining landscapes considered.
Morna O’Neill, John Constable, David Lucas and Steel in English Landscape
In the late 1820s, John Constable embarked on a publication of mezzotints, Various Subjects of Landscape, Characteristic of English Scenery, from Pictures Painted by John Constable, R.A., now typically referred to as English Landscape Scenery or English Landscape. Engraved by David Lucas, the mezzotints were published in parts between 1830 and 1832 but Constable republished the series in 1833 with extensive revisions. This paper will explore Constable’s choice of steel as the matrix for these prints. The original plates for English Landscape, a number of which survive in the collection of Tate Britain, came from G. Harris & Co. which traded as George Harris until 1832 and then became William Eastwood. As Anthony Griffiths has noted, the rise of steel had profound consequences for the print trade. The implications ranged from the practical to the symbolic. The hardness of steel made it more difficult to work but ensured a longer print run. For some critics, its wider acceptance by the end of the 1820s signalled a decline – a loss of depth and richness – as the method came to be associated with technical illustration. This talk will explore the use of steel plates in order to reconsider artistic identity in English Landscape, especially in relation to artisanal identity and industry. By focusing on the extant steel plates, the correspondence between Constable and Lucas as it pertains to corrections and retouching, as well as what these negotiations reveal about the dynamic between painter and printmaker, I situate Constable, Lucas and the works they created together within an emerging culture of the industrialisation of print.
About the speakers
Mark Hallett is Märit Rausing Director at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Between 2012 and 2023 he was Director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Prior to taking up that position, Mark worked in the History of Art department at the University of York. Appointed as lecturer in 1994, he became a professor in 2006 and was Head of Department between 2007 and 2012.
Mark’s scholarly research has focused on British art from the seventeenth century onwards. Books he has written and edited include The Spectacle of Difference: Graphic Satire in the Age of Hogarth (Yale University Press, 1999); Hogarth (Phaidon Press, 2000); Eighteenth Century York: Culture, Space and Society (edited with Jane Rendall, Borthwick Institute, 2003); Faces in a Library: Sir Joshua Reynolds's 'Streatham Worthies' (The Watson Gordon Lecture 2011, National Galleries of Scotland, 2012); Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic ideals and Experiences in England, 1769–1848 (edited with Sarah Monks and John Barrell Ashgate, 2013); Reynolds: Portraiture in Action (Yale University Press, 2014); and Court, Country, City: British Art and Architecture, 1660–1735 (edited with Nigel Llewellyn and Martin Myrone, Yale University Press, 2016). He also co-edited the major online publication, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018 (Paul Mellon Centre, 2018).
Mark has also been involved in curating numerous exhibitions. He co-curated the 2007 Tate Britain exhibition Hogarth and co-authored the accompanying catalogue with Christine Riding; he co-curated the 2011 York Art Gallery exhibition William Etty: Art and Controversy and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Sarah Burnage and Laura Turner; he co-curated the 2015 Wallace Collection exhibition Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Lucy Davis. With his PMC colleague Sarah Victoria Turner, he curated the 2018 Royal Academy exhibition, The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition, and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. He curated George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field, which opened at the Yale Center for British Art in October 2018, before travelling to the Holburne Museum, Bath, in February 2019. With Zuzana Flaskova and Rosie Ram, he co-curated the 2019-20 Tate Britain Spotlight Display Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage, for which he also co-wrote a series of short films on Henderson’s collage-work Screen.
Mark has been the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a Paul Mellon Centre Senior Fellowship. He was a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge (2013–14) and a Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2014–16). He gave the British Academy’s ‘Aspects of Art’ lecture for 2019, titled ‘The Newspaper Man: Michael Andrews and the Art of Painted Collage’.
Felicity Myrone is Lead Curator of Western Prints and Drawings at the British Library. She joined the Library as Curator of Topography and led a project cataloguing and digitising George III’s maps and views, the King’s Topographical Collection and a related research project, Transforming Topography. One outcome of the latter is the British Library webspace, Picturing Places. She was awarded a 2019–20 Paul Mellon Centre Mid-career Fellowship for Art in the Library, investigating how the fused and intertwined institutional histories of the British Museum, Natural History Museum and British Library have shaped attitudes to prints and drawings. Her current project is writing a book with the support of a 2021 Getty Foundation Paper Project grant. This will be the first handbook/guide to the British Library’s prints and drawings in Printed Books, Manuscripts, Music and Maps.
Amy Concannon is Manton Senior Curator, Historic British Art at Tate, where she oversees holdings including Constable, Blake and Turner and has curated a range of exhibitions including Turner’s Modern World (2020), William Blake (2019) and Late Turner (2014). Her PhD thesis (2018) used Constable as a starting point to explore the visual culture of the urban landscape in the early 1800s, focusing on Salisbury, Bristol, Brighton and Lambeth. Before joining Tate in 2012 she worked at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, where she is now a Trustee.
Lizzie Jacklin is Keeper of Art at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums where she works across the Hatton and Laing galleries. Her current exhibition at the Hatton explores the screen-printing method in relation to the gallery’s historic associations with Pop Art. She has previously held curatorial roles at Tate Britain where she contributed to the research publication J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, at the V&A, the Courtauld Gallery and the Hunterian, and is particularly interested in works on paper. Her book highlighting Tate’s extensive print collection is to be published in autumn 2021.
Morna O'Neill is Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at Wake Forest University. She is the author of Walter Crane: The Arts and Crafts, Painting, and Politics (Yale University Press, 2011) and Hugh Lane: The Art Market and the Art Museum, 1893–1915 (Yale University Press, 2018). Her current research addresses the conjunction of artistic and industrial materials and methods in the decades before the Great Exhibition of 1851. This proposed talk draws upon research for this project, as she positions Constable, Lucas and their fraught collaboration on English Landscape in relationship to the use of steel plates and contemporary debates about the industrialisation of printmaking.
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