Knowing ‘as much of art as the cat’: 19th-century women writers on the Old Masters 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 The conference 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 on 25 February 2017. Aims and scope John Ruskin infamously dismissed the art historian Anna Jameson as knowing ‘as much of art as the cat’. However, in recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in women like Jameson as influential interpreters of the visual arts and as writers of art history during the formative years of the discipline. This conference, which capitalises and expands upon this interest, will look afresh at the role of English-speaking women as disseminators of knowledge about Old Master paintings and historic painting techniques during the Victorian era. While the National Gallery’s first Director, Charles Eastlake, and his male colleagues produced scholarly publications, including museum catalogues, aimed at professionals and connoisseurs, […]

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