11 April 2022 - 17 h 30 min - 18 h 30 min
Dr. Freya Gowrley (University of Bristol)
Collage before Modernism? Composite Cultural Production 1680-1912
In the 1790s, when the cousins Jane and Mary Parminter of ‘A la Ronde’ (the house in which they lived together in Exmouth, Devon) ornamented the surfaces of their home with shells, paper, feathers, and bones, they were engaging in an aesthetic and intellectual tradition of collage production that had been prevalent for decades, and which would endure throughout the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, thanks to the low status occupied by women’s craft practices in the art historical canon, collage produced during this period has consistently been overlooked in histories of the genre, which usually attribute the invention of collage to the Cubist artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1912. This critical neglect has reinforced entrenched hierarchies within art history; differences between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art; divisions of modern and pre-modern; and the gendered separation between artist and amateur. This paper argues that collage produced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represents a vital moment in its history, when an unprecedented variety of composite objects proliferated thanks to the new availability of material and printed goods that characterised this period.
Dr Freya Gowrley is lecturer in History of Art and Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol. Her research explores eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visual and material culture, with a focus on the home, the collaged object, and the body. Her book Domestic Space in Britain, 1750–1840: Materiality, Sociability and Emotion is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic in 2022.
Digital Materialities Webinar
In 2021-22 the webinar will look at the intersections between visual and material culture: from 20th century photography to Renaissance miniature portraits and from paper collages to ads for canned food, we’ll be examining the links between visuality and materiality.