Knowing 'as much of art as the cat': Nineteenth-century women writers on the Old Masters

Maria Alambritis's picture
November 10, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, British History / Studies, Literature, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Fine Arts

Knowing “as much of art as the cat”?: Nineteenth-Century Women Writers on the Old Masters

An international one-day conference to be held

 10 November 2017

Sainsbury Centre Lecture Theatre, The National Gallery, London

Organised by Susanna Avery-Quash (National Gallery, London) and Hilary Fraser (Birkbeck, University of London) 

This major conference examines the role of English-speaking women as disseminators of knowledge about Old Master paintings and historic painting techniques during the Victorian era.

It forms part of a collaboration between the National Gallery and Birkbeck, University of London that also includes Chawton House Library, Hampshire, and the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of Southampton. It follows a one-day event held at Chawton House in February 2017.

Among the research questions the conference speakers will engage with are: What was the contribution of British women writers to the emerging discipline of art history, including canon formation, formal criticism and history of techniques and other genres such as exhibition guides and translations? Is there anything distinctive about women’s approach to these fields? A second set of issues we will address concerns women’s networks and relationships – between sexes, between generations, and with professional counterparts abroad  - as well as exploring women writers’ institutional affiliations. Finally, we hope to see new insights emerging about the reception of women writers’ published work in art history, not least in relation to its reach and audiences and its critical fortune.

Registration is now open, please visit the conference page to view the full programme and book:


Contact Info: 

Maria Alambritis

Conferene co-organisor