Geographies, Spaces of Experience and Objects of Migration in Jewish Visual and Material Culture

Jerome Krase Discussion

Greetings Jerome Krase,
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H-Material-Culture: New posted content

H-Material-Culture: New posted content

Free Digital Resource for Medieval Material Culture Historians. [Announcement]

Gerard Cheshire

Announcement Type

Online Digital Resources


United Kingdom

A free ebook is available that translates a Medieval narrative map, telling the story of a remarkable mission by the Colettine Poor Clare Nuns of Ischia monastery in the year 1444, to rescue the mothers and children from another island in the Mediterranean Sea during a volcanic eruption. The map includes many details of their material culture, including portable tents, cooking apparatus, buildings and bridges. The book is titled The Medieval Map and the Mercy Mission and can be downloaded without charge at the following link:  


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CfA: USHMM Faculty Seminar: Jewish Responses to the Holocaust: Dispossession, Restitution, and Reconstructing the Home (Deadline Oct 20, 2023) [Announcement]

Rachel Rosenfeld


United States

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies announces the call for applications for the 2024 Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar on "Jewish Responses to the Holocaust: Dispossession, Restitution, and Reconstructing the Home." This Seminar will explore the Holocaust through the lens of Jewish experiences of dispossession and looting during World War II, as well as processes of restitution, reparations, and rebuilding of private lives in the postwar period. Drawing on the Museum’s extensive collections, the Seminar will examine the concept of “home” as represented through stolen property, sites of memory, places to return to, and conceptual spaces to be reconstructed anew by diaspora communities. Speakers will discuss the complexities of making restitution claims across different postwar European contexts, including in France, Austria, and Poland. The Seminar will also shed light on how Jewish claims to restitution fit in a global context of transitional justice and reparations claims that have emerged since World War II.

The Seminar is designed to help faculty, instructors, and advanced PhD candidates who are currently teaching or preparing to teach courses that focus on or have a curricular component relating to restitution, reparations, conceptions of home, and the Holocaust. Applications are welcome from instructors across academic disciplines, including but not limited to: Archeology; Anthropology; History; Philosophy; Art; Conservation Studies; Disability Studies; Gender Studies, Women’s Studies; German Studies; History of Material Culture; Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Jewish Studies; Law and Human Rights; Museum Studies; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; and Theology and Religious Studies. 

Applications must be received electronically no later than October 20, 2023. This Seminar will take place from January 8-12, 2024 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Seminar applicants must be teaching or anticipate teaching relevant courses at accredited institutions in North America. The full CfA and the application form are available on the USHMM website: Please contact Dr. Katharine White ( with any questions. 

This Seminar is endowed by Edward and David Hess in memory of their parents, Jack and Anita Hess, who believed passionately in the power of education to overcome racial and religious prejudice.


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Call for Emerging Scholars in Asian Studies [Announcement]

Vimalin Rujivacharakul


United States

Call for Emerging Scholars: Presentations on Asian Studies (with award money and travel reimbursement)

Faculty of the Asian Studies Program of the University of Delaware invites applications from emerging scholars to present their research on topics related to Asian Studies at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE).  By emerging scholars, we refer to graduate students, ABD preferred, or postdoctoral scholars who graduated after April 2021.

Approximately 8-10 doctoral students or postdoctoral scholars will be selected and invited to the University of Delaware campus in Newark, Delaware, to give in-person presentations for the Emerging Scholars in Asian Studies program, 2023-2024.  Successful applicants from outside of the UD community will receive travel reimbursement up to $300 and a competitive monetary award of $200.  Each presenter will also be invited to join the faculty of Asian Studies and/or cosponsoring departments for lunch or another speaker engagement opportunity.  Each presentation will be a daytrip event, with a fully in-person or hybrid audience.  

Interested applicants should submit a presentation proposal (300-450 words), CV, and name & email address of their advisor or dissertation chair to CGAS-info@udel.eduwith the subject line: “ASIAN STUDIES EMERGING SCHOLARS” by Monday October 2, 2023.   

All topics related to Asian Studies are welcome, although we are also particularly interested in topics that fit within the following themes: 

  • Afghan People: Afghanistan and Elsewhere 

  • Asia and Transcultural Art & Material Culture

  • Asia and Global Modern History (1800s to the present)

  • Asia and the World: Political Science and International Relations

  • Asian Languages and Cultures

  • Asian Philosophy: Past and Present 

  • Conservation and History of Objects from Asia

  • Cultural Heritage Documentation, Preservation, and Public Policy in Asia

  • Gender in Asian and Asian American Lives 

The Emerging Scholars in Asian Studies program is co-sponsored byThe Asian Studies Program, Department of Anthropology, Department of Art Conservation, Department of Art History, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Languages and Literatures, Department of Philosophy, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Center for Historic Architecture and Design. The University of Delaware’s main campus is 20 minutes from Wilmington, DE., and 45 minutes from Philadelphia, PA., and 2 hours by train from Washington DC., and New York City.  Traveling to our campus is easy via train (Newark Station or Wilmington Station) or car.  All events will be scheduled for a day visit, with no overnight stay required.    

Contact Information

Dr. Vimalin Rujivacharakul, Director, Asian Studies Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA

Contact Email

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CFP: The Smith Center First Book Workshop in Map History [Announcement]

David Weimer


United States

The Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography and the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library invite applicants for the inaugural First Book Workshop in Map History. Any scholars who are working on their first book about the history of maps and mapping or on a topic that substantially engages the history of maps and mapping may apply. Scholars who have written a previous book or books are eligible so long as those books did not engage substantively with maps. The workshop is open to all periods, locations, and fields.

The workshop will last two days, in person at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Ahead of time, all participants and respondents will read everything the writers submit—whether that is a full manuscript or a subset of chapters and a book proposal. Each scholar will be paired with a senior scholar with expertise relevant to their manuscript. Each day will consist of a series of workshops on specific portions of each writer’s submission and presentations of Newberry material. For 2024, we will be able to accept three participants, at least one of whom is working in the Medieval or Early Modern period. The costs of travel, housing, and meals will be covered for all participants.

To apply, please submit your application online through the Newberry Library portal.


  • Applications Due: 1 November 2023
  • Workshop: 22 and 23 February 2024


  • Newberry Library, Chicago, IL


  • You have at least three chapters of a manuscript and a proposal at the time of submission
  • You have not already published an academic book on the history of maps
  • You are engaging substantively with the history of maps and mapping
  • Your manuscript is in English

Evaluation Criteria:

  • The project will make a significant contribution to our understanding of map history
  • The project engages substantively with existing scholarship on the history of maps and mapping
  • The project has a likelihood of successful completion and publication

Application Materials:

  • Abstract (300-600 words)
  • One chapter
  • One letter of recommendation
  • CV

Contact Information

David Weimer

Director, Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography and Robert A. Holland Curator of Maps

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Deadline Sept 15: CFP Arts of the Indian Ocean conference [Announcement]

Sarah Fee



Arts of the Indian Ocean 

Toronto, Canada, May 2-4,2024

Conference Call for Papers 

The ‘global turn’ in academia brings a renewed focus on the Indian Ocean and its diverse histories of mobilities and interactions. The ocean’s unique climatic systems of seasonal monsoon winds and currents and its geographic contours whose littoral shapes the shorelines of Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica have over millennia facilitated and sustained movements of human and non-human animals, plants, minerals, things, and ideas.

The historical formation of the Indian Ocean’s ecologies, mobilities, and economies have been regular subjects of scholarly enquiry and research, and the focus of numerous publications, conferences, and workshops. By contrast, there has been limited attention on the study of the Indian Ocean’s distinctive materialities and artistic expressions, both past and the present, and their roles in forging connections between the region’s peoples and generating new visual and expressive cultures. Additionally, scholarship on the Indian Ocean’s material and artistic worlds is often siloed by disciplinary approach, medium of production, periodization, ethnicity, religious affiliation, nationalism, or geographical demarcation.

Arts of the Indian Ocean will bring together knowledge producers from diverse backgrounds and scholarly arenas to present and discuss research and work on the materialities and artistic expressions in the Indian Ocean world, across geographies — from eastern and southern Africa, through the Gulf and Red Sea to South and Southeast Asia and the south China Sea — as well as across temporalities — from antiquity up until the present-day. The conference aims to gather emerging and established researchers from the fields of archaeology, art history, history, architecture, museum studies, anthropology, visual studies, material culture, and fashion studies, as well as practicing artists from around the Indian Ocean region.

Arts of the Indian Ocean seeks to open up new questions on the multiple pasts, presents, and futures of the Indian Ocean through the examination of the creation, production, and circulation of material culture in a wide range of forms including the visual arts, portable objects, manuscripts and maps, ships and navigational instruments, landscape, architecture, and the built environment, textiles and dress, photography and film, as well as the digital and plastic arts.

We welcome the submission of individual papers presenting case-based object studies as well as full panel proposals that engage in one or more of the following topics: production, materials, circulation, reception, transformation, connectivity, exchange, encounter, mobility, fluidity, transmediality, pilgrimage, ecology, faith and the spiritual, intimacy, materiality, heritage, imaginaries, (dis)placement, marginialities, resistance, violence, collecting and collections, decolonization, futurity, or the sensory.

The conference will be held in a hybrid format (virtual and in-person) to facilitate the participation of colleagues from around the world. The in-person gathering will be held in Toronto, Canada. Travel scholarships may be available for graduate students and colleagues working in the Indian Ocean region. Selected papers will be included in an edited volume.

Conveners: Sarah Fee (Royal Ontario Museum) - Zulfikar Hirji (York University) - Ruba Kana’an (University of Toronto)

Keynote Speakers: Iftikhar Dadi (Cornell University) - Stephen Murphy (SOAS) - Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Fiction Author, Kenya) - Samira Sheikh (Vanderbilt University)

Collaborators: Deepali Dewan (Royal Ontario Museum) - Kajri Jain (University of Toronto) -Pedro Machado (Indiana University) - Chantal Radimilahy (University of Antananarivo) -Fahmida Suleman (Royal Ontario Museum) - Nancy Um (Getty Research Institute) -Richard Vokes (University of Western Australia) - Aga Khan Museum -Centre for South Asian Critical Humanities (University of Toronto Mississauga)

Submissions of Individual Paper Abstracts and Panel Proposals 

Individual Paper Submissions should include:

• Name, affiliation, and contact information

• Abstract of 200-300 words

• 1 to 2 images (related to proposed paper)

• 100-word author bio

Panel Proposal Submissions should include:

• Names, affiliations, and contact information of panel organizer and panelists

• Panel title and abstract of 100 words

• Abstract of 200-300 words for each paper

• 1 to 2 images (related to each proposed panel paper)

• 100-word bio for each panelist

Send all Submissions by email attachment in a single pdf to:

Deadline for Submissions: September 15, 2023

Notification of accepted Abstracts and Panel Proposals: October 5, 2023

Send all inquiries to:

Contact Information

Sarah Fee- Royal Ontario Museum

Ruba Kana'an - University of Toronto

Zulfikar Hirji - York University

Contact Email

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H-Net Job Guide Weekly Report for H-Material-Culture: 4 September - 11 September [Announcement]

H-Net Job Guide

The following jobs were posted to the H-Net Job Guide from 4 September to 11 September. These job postings are included here based on the categories selected by the network editors for H-Material-Culture. See the H-Net job guide web site at for more information. To contact the Job Guide, write or call +1-517-432-5134 between 9 AM and 5 PM US Eastern time.

Architecture and Architectural History - Art / Art History - Classical Studies - Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies - History of Science, Medicine, and Technology - Humanities - Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies - Urban History / Studies - Visual Studies

Architecture and Architectural History

Wake Forest University - Assistant Professor of Art History, Latin American Architecture (20th century; tenure-track)

Art / Art History

Duke University - Instructors

Universitaet zu Koeln - Wissenschaftliche* Mitarbeiter*in im DFG-Projekt „Heilige in Sammlungen, gesammelte Heiligkeiten“

Classical Studies

Washington University in St. Louis - Assistant Professor of Classics in the field of Roman History

Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies

Princeton - Visiting Research Scholar, Fung Global Fellows Program

History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Library Company of Philadelphia - Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in American and Atlantic World History and Culture

Rice University - Assistant Professor or Associate Professor of Sexuality Studies


Princeton - Visiting Research Scholar, Fung Global Fellows Program

Tel Aviv University - Dan David Society of Fellows (Postdoc)

Temple University, Japan Campus - Assistant Professor in Intellectual Heritage, Undergraduate Program

The Chinese University of Hong Kong - CUHK Vice-Chancellor Early Career Professorships

University of Victoria - Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Critical Disability and Social Justice Studies

Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies

California Institute of Technology - Postdoctoral Instructor in Medieval History

Urban History / Studies

Southeast Missouri State University - Assistant Professor, United States Urban History

Visual Studies

Duke University - Instructors

Rice University - Assistant Professor or Associate Professor of Sexuality Studies

Contact Information

Call +1-517-432-5134 between 9 am and 5 pm US Eastern time.

Contact Email


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Online 19v event - Furs, Flora, and Fabergé – A Presentation of Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy

Carly Ciufo

Online 19v event - Furs, Flora, and Fabergé – A Presentation of Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy

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Schauffler on Lemire and Peers and Whitelaw, 'Object Lives and Global Histories in Northern North America: Material Culture in Motion, c. 1780-1980' [Review]

H-Net Reviews

Lemire, Beverly; Peers, Laura L.; Whitelaw, Anne, eds..  Object Lives and Global Histories in Northern North America: Material Culture in Motion, c. 1780-1980. Volume 32, McGill-Queen's/Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation Studies in Art History. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2021. 560 pp. $44.95 (paper), ISBN 9780228003991

Reviewed by Moyra Schauffler (Pennsylvania State University)
Published on H-Material-Culture (September, 2023)
Commissioned by Jennifer M. Black (Misericordia University)

Printable Version:

With Object Lives and Global Histories in Northern North America: Material Culture in Motion, c. 1780-1980, editors Beverly Lemire, Laura Peers, and Anne Whitelaw have assembled a rich volume that uses material culture methods to study objects and their circulation across northern North America and the world. From artwork, souvenirs, hide coats, and deer hoof bags crafted by Indigenous hands to settler depictions of Native peoples and appropriated sweater designs, the authors connect a wide swath of “things” to various historical actors and environments. Taken together, the essays, which the editors call case studies, illustrate the essential nature of material culture to understanding the long histories of Indigenous agency, settler colonialism, and survival across centuries of relationships between the Native populations and Europeans of northern North America.

This volume is organized into chapters that can be read together but also work as stand-alone pieces. Between many of the essays are short “Sidebars” where some of the authors further their analyses of the objects or images in their longer essays. As expected of any work on material culture, the entire volume is filled with stunning photographs. Object Lives and Global Histories begins with an introduction and methodological chapter that lay out the processes of assembling the volume. From there, the essays move mostly chronologically from the late eighteenth century onward. The essays are also organized thematically, with the first several pieces covering winter clothing and outdoor activities, including hide coats, Red River coats, and tobogganing. Two of the middle essays move to visual culture. Here, the authors examine the materiality of nineteenth-century lithographic prints and images of wampum. The final set of essays include artwork and souvenirs created by Native peoples, and importantly Native women, in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century. These essays move from national parks established by the Canadian and US governments to sanitoria for Indigenous patients with tuberculosis. Ultimately, the organization of the chapters allows the reader to make connections across time and space but still appreciate the specific histories and methods shared in each essay.

Collectively, the essays in Object Lives and Global Histories engage with existing scholarship on spatial and temporal histories of “the North,” as well as material culture of encounters between Indigenous and imperial actors. For these authors, northern North America offers an opportunity to move past well-examined spatial frameworks like the Atlantic world and the Global South and instead center the contingencies of a geographic area defined by distinct cultures, networks, and climates. Moreover, by de-emphasizing national and state borders, the authors make an important statement about the Indigenous land their studies cover. Like the spatial framework, the expansive chronology of this volume is also intentional, and part of the editors’ and authors’ goal of “Indigenizing the academy through different valuations of temporality” (p. 9). Rather than using Western frameworks like the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the authors instead account for Native timescapes and the extended legacies of Indigenous agency and settler colonialism with their alternate periodization. Finally, by addressing relationships between Europeans and Native peoples through objects circulating in northern North America, this work redirects from more conventional emphases on histories of imperialism and commodity exchange in American and European metropoles, as well as tropical climates tied to the Atlantic slave trade.

The scholarly interventions made by Object Lives and Global Histories are noteworthy, but this work’s methodological impact makes it essential reading for scholars of material culture and North America. This volume is not merely a collection of essays. It is the product of years of cooperative work between academic scholars, heritage researchers, and museum professionals. As the editors detail in the volume’s first chapter on methodology, the participants in the project came from a variety of cultural, geographical, and academic backgrounds. When they came together for virtual meetings, and eventually group visits to view objects in collections from Canada to the United Kingdom, they brought with them perspectives that prompted new questions and insights. Their collective use of classic material culture methods such as “close looking,” object lives, and object agency, combined with the insight of object makers and Indigenous knowledge keepers, results in chapters that dive deeply into material, written, and unwritten histories of the people, places, and things at the center of this work.

The volume’s tenth chapter, “Dew Claw Bags, Indigenous Women, and Material Culture in History and Practice,” best encapsulates the methodologies at work in Object Lives and Global Histories. Rather than an essay composed of written paragraphs organized around a single argument, this piece is a documented and edited interview between editor Beverly Lemire and Judy Half, a Plains Cree knowledge keeper of Saddle Lake Cree Nation in the area northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, who was a research collaborator on this project. The objects at the center of this piece are leather and fur bags with deer dew claws attached to them. Throughout the interview, Lemire poses questions to Half about dew claw bags, which the researchers examined in multiple collections. Half’s responses are a combination of information about the bags themselves and their broader place in her community. But the beauty of this interview is that its structure allows Half to move beyond the specific topic of the bags and discuss how colonialism impacted generations of her people, including immediate members of her family. The reader learns of the ceremonial place of the bags, the role of women in different ceremonies and communities as a whole, as well as the broader histories of displacement of peoples in the Treaty 6 area of western Canada. By including this interview, the editors give space for Half to talk about the place of important objects in her community while intentionally acknowledging and respecting the oral traditions surrounding the dew claw bags.

There are many positive aspects of this volume, but given its methodological strength, Object Lives and Global Histories is well suited for teaching. Instructors of material culture methods courses will find it particularly useful for illustrating how researchers examine and analyze objects. Beyond material culture, courses on North American history, Native American history, borderlands, and colonialism will find much of value in the essays. Several chapters deal with Metis histories and discuss hybrid cultures across the area the United States and Canada claim as their border and would thus work well alongside work by Joshua L. Reid (Snohomish) and Benjamin Hoy, for example.[1] Yet the essays could have gone further in discussing histories of slavery and captivity among Indigenous and European populations in northern North America. From scholars such as Christina Snyder and Brett Rushforth, for example, we know that material culture was an important part of captivity among Native Americans across the continent, and thus would have fit well in this volume.[2] Nonetheless, Lemire, Peers, Whitelaw, and the authors in Object Lives and Global Histories should be commended for their work on this impressive collection that will surely impact how scholars think about material culture, collaborative research, and decolonizing the academy for years to come.


[1]. Joshua L. Reid, The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018); Benjamin Hoy, A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border across Indigenous Lands (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).

[2]. Christina Snyder, Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010); Brett Rushforth, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2012).

Citation: Moyra Schauffler. Review of Lemire, Beverly; Peers, Laura L.; Whitelaw, Anne, eds.. Object Lives and Global Histories in Northern North America: Material Culture in Motion, c. 1780-1980. H-Material-Culture, H-Net Reviews. September, 2023.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Behan on King, 'The Wardle Family and Its Circle: Textile Production in the Arts and Crafts Era' [Review]

H-Net Reviews

King, Brenda M..  The Wardle Family and Its Circle: Textile Production in the Arts and Crafts Era. Rochester: Boydell Press, 2019. xix + 218 pp. Ill. $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 9781783273959

Reviewed by Antonia Behan (Queen's University)
Published on H-Material-Culture (September, 2023)
Commissioned by Colin Fanning (Bard Graduate Center)

Printable Version:

William Morris was famous for doing it himself. His experiments with crafts such as embroidery, tapestry weaving, dyeing, and textile and book printing were unconventional for a man of his station and, as his friend Edward Burne-Jones’s cartoons memorably convey, he approached them with manic energy and concentration.

But if Morris did it himself, he did not do it alone. Instead, he was supported by collaborators, workmen, artisans, businessmen, and multiple women (including his wife, his daughters, and his friends’ wives, among others), many of whom still struggle to receive adequate credit. To take just one example, Morris’s famous dyeing experiments would not have been possible without his relationship with Thomas Wardle of Hencroft Dye Works, Leek (UK), a dyer and businessman working in his family’s Staffordshire trade. Their deeply collaborative partnership, along with Morris’s collaborations with some of Wardle’s dyemen, was instrumental in reviving the natural dye techniques that Morris later took with him to his workshops at Merton Abbey.

Brenda M. King, who passed away in 2021, has long been Wardle’s champion. For the past twenty years, she has sought to reclaim his work and legacy as stemming from ideas about craft revival that were independently derived, arguing that Morris recognized their mutual interests and commitments, rather than inspired them. In The Wardle Family and Its Circle: Textile Production in the Arts and Crafts Era, King looks at the people and places that shaped Wardle and that Wardle shaped. Prominently featured are his wife, Elizabeth, herself a celebrated embroiderer and the founder of the Leek Embroidery Society, and the wider community of artisans of the town of Leek.

King’s previous book, Silk and Empire (2005), took on broad topics by focusing on silk, a neglected subject within studies of colonial trade as compared to a vast literature on cotton in India and elsewhere. King positioned Thomas Wardle was the central actor there, too: his research into wild silks, and scientific experiments with dyeing tussar silk, raised the profile of Indian silks in export markets such as England and France and made his dyed tussar a sensation among the “artistic” elite in London at shops such as Liberty’s & Co. In that book, King argued that Wardle’s interventions in the Indian silk industry were mutually beneficial. Wittingly or not, King’s attribution of colonial beneficence followed a pattern of self-justification familiar to imperial functionaries everywhere. Like those of his contemporary John Lockwood Kipling, Wardle’s efforts to both salvage and reshape artisanal industries rested on claims that these were dead or threatened—and on the colonial official’s ability to solve problems of colonialism’s own making.

Where that book traced textiles across empire, The Wardle Family is rooted in a particular place. The book focuses on Leek, Staffordshire, which King elevates as a culturally important town and center of Gothic Revival architecture; as she argues, Leek was “no backwater. It was a globally connected and culturally refined centre in the late nineteenth century” (p. xi). King asserts that Leek had “a lot to offer architects, as it provided the necessary capital along with both a creative community and a positive attitude to new ideas,” not to mention access to “different crafts, materials and trades, many of which could be supplied in the town” (p. 2). Despite Morris’s repeated lament about the disappearance of traditions and techniques, these were, evidently, still active or latent in towns such as Leek, even if they also underwent reinvention in the era of industrialization and empire. In King’s view, much of the credit for stimulating and promoting Leek local industries is due to the Wardles’ various interlocking enterprises.

The book focuses specifically on the activities of the Leek Embroidery Society, connected as it was to Hencroft, with a focus on historical and ecclesiastical needlework. It will therefore interest scholars of regional Arts and Crafts, embroidery and needleworks, and Gothic Revival.

Chapter 1 introduces the three principal Wardles. George Young Wardle, only briefly discussed here, was the general manager of Morris & Co. from 1870 to1890 and also a draughtsman and designer. It was likely George who introduced Morris to his brother-in-law, Thomas Wardle (they shared surnames but were not related), and sister Elizabeth Wardle, after Morris showed an interest in dyes and color.

The next three chapters focus on embroidery, and often on Elizabeth Wardle rather than her husband. The Leek Embroidery Society, founded by Elizabeth in 1879/80, was an artistic enterprise that organized female labor in and around Leek. Chapter 2, “The Business of Stitch,” argues that the Leek Embroidery Society and Thomas Wardle’s dye business enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: the Society developed a distinctive style of using Wardle’s soft and lustrous tussar silks and, in doing so, demonstrated what the product could do. This promoted sales of Wardle’s dyed silks, to which the Society had preferential access.

Themes of gender feature prominently in this chapter or rather, one might expect them to do so. King argues that being a wife and mother of ten did not inhibit Elizabeth from achieving international recognition for her artistry in needlework and her work as a manager and colorist directing the work of the Society. For King, such success is evidence that she was unaffected by societal structures: “Clearly she was not held back by living in a small provincial town or by any low expectations that being a wife and mother engendered”; moreover, like “many women in Leek, Elizabeth found that the family home could be a place of liberation” (pp. 27–28). And yet, though Elizabeth’s accomplishments and international reputation are not in question, it is hard to see how the evidence supports these stronger claims.

As much as this is a story of female labor and artistry, King also expresses concern for the “unnamed” men—dyers in Wardle’s workshop—who prepared the fibers and deserve, she argues, equal credit. This commendable concern makes it all the more perplexing, however, that she declines to name the needlewomen in the Society (whose names, uncharacteristically, were in fact recorded).

The Society’s needleworks were commissioned by prominent patrons, collected by institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Whitworth Gallery of Art, and displayed at major Victorian exhibitions. Why then did a full-scale replica of the Bayeux Tapestry become one of its biggest projects? Chapter 3 discusses the original eleventh-century “tapestry” (it is, in fact, an embroidery), its iconography, historical context, materials, and techniques, and compares these to Leek Embroidery Society’s re-creation. Their replica traveled as a paid attraction throughout Europe and America before finally being purchased by the Reading Museum (UK). While this is an interesting—and somewhat enigmatic—episode and object, it is not clear what significance King attaches to the project within the context of the rest of the book.

The final chapter, “Stitch Meets Stone,” is a comprehensive catalogue of Gothic Revival projects in Leek, with an emphasis on ecclesiastical embroideries, which functioned as focal points not just for ritual and faith but for the creation of a community among their makers. In contrast to earlier church decorations, where specific items were commissioned by individual patrons, these projects were complete designs by the architect. Needlewomen praised architects as the best designers of embroideries, given their familiarity with proportion, simplicity, and the familiar Design Reform principle of subordination of “decoration” to “construction,” or, to put it another way, of surface embellishment to effects built from the material itself. The needlewomen worked with the specific requirements of ecclesiastical embroideries: they needed to balance fineness of technique and materials while also retaining legibility from afar. This section of the book is encyclopedic, providing a catalogue of architects, commissions, and sources, but it offers little description or analysis of the embroideries themselves or their function and meaning in context. Moreover, the fact that many designs and materials were explicitly Indian—the altar frontal for All Saints Church in Leek featured designs named “Tanjore Lotus,” and “Allahabad Marigold”—surely deserves consideration, however. What meanings did appropriating Indian styles and materials have within the Victorian Gothic Revival church?

One of the most vexing aspects of this book (aside from its tendency toward repetition) is the chapters’ repeated promise that a given topic will be fully discussed later—in the conclusion. Analysis, theory, and a sense of larger stakes are confined to these brief final comments. This structural issue mirrors a stylistic tendency toward asserting rather than analyzing or narrating. King clearly seeks to elevate and validate Wardle and his family’s work, and is fond of superlatives and bold statements. In describing a two-day embroidery exhibition in Leek in 1881, a passage of approximately 140 words includes a large number of marks of praise (“remarkable,” “rich,” “spectacular explosion of creativity and refined skills,” “excellent,” “influential,” “high point,” “leading,” “unique,” all on p. 48), and yet few details of the arrangement of the displays, the objects included, or even the names of the makers are noted. Rarely are voices from primary sources included, and a small number of illustrations apparently take the place of visual and material analysis of the pieces.

For the researcher, a minimal scholarly apparatus makes following up with sources or scholarly conversations difficult. While King has included an appendix of important collections and archival repositories, the book includes few footnotes and specific details about these sources; this is unfortunate given that King surely undertook a formidable amount of primary-source research. (As in her first book, King’s strength is in scouring regional collections in the UK, which in this case includes searching local churches and private collections for embroideries that remain in situ or within family collections.)

King has put in a vast amount of effort in telling the Wardles’ story independently from that of Morris’s, and, in so doing, illustrating the role that a regional center such as Leek had within the broader Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival movements. But Thomas Wardle didn’t do it all himself, any more than Morris did. Wardle and his company were dependent on colonial networks that denied equivalent agency to colonized skilled makers of the subcontinent. Unfortunately, the reader interested in a global analysis of these trends, or of Wardle’s activities in India, will have to wait. The eighteen volumes of dye sample books discovered in 2012 at the Botanical Survey of India in Kolkata receive only a few pages of text in the conclusion, and there is still work to be done that would set Wardle’s work in the context of local dye practices and artisanal histories in India. Trading one heroic figure—and his entourage—for another still leaves much in the shadows.

Citation: Antonia Behan. Review of King, Brenda M.. The Wardle Family and Its Circle: Textile Production in the Arts and Crafts Era. H-Material-Culture, H-Net Reviews. September, 2023.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Geographies, Spaces of Experience and Objects of Migration in Jewish Visual and Material Culture

Carly Ciufo

Geographies, Spaces of Experience and Objects of Migration in Jewish Visual and Material Culture