art history

Visiting speaker, 19 Nov 2013: Ronan Deazley on comics, copyright and academia

Ronan Deazley (University of Glasgow) will be presenting his paper, ‘Comics, Copyright and Academic Publishing’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 19 November 2013. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31.

2013.03.deazleyThis paper explores the culture of copyright clearance within the domain of scholarly communications through the prism of comics scholarship. It will be of interest to copyright scholars, as well as to academics working in the arts, humanities and social sciences who make use of copyright material in their research publications.

About the speaker
CCC_deazleyRonan Deazley is Professor of Copyright Law at the University of Glasgow and Founding Director of CREATe, the RCUK-funded Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy ( He is the author of numerous publications on the issue of copyright and intellectual property, including On the Origin of the Right to Copy: Charting the Movement of Copyright Law in Eighteenth Century Britain, 1695–1775 (2004) and Re-Thinking Copyright: History, Theory, Language (2006, 2008). Between 2006 and 2008 he was the UK national editor for an AHRC-funded digital resource concerning the history of copyright in Italy, France, Germany, the UK and the US: Primary Sources on Copyright 1450-1900. More recently, he secured £5.1M of RCUK funding to establish CREATe: the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy.

Download a flyer for the talk (PDF).

Visiting speaker, 29 Oct 2013: Stephen Bending on women and gardens in the 18th century

Stephen Bending (University of Southampton) will be presenting his paper, ‘Retirement and Disgrace: Women and Gardens in the Eighteenth Century’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 29 October 2013. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31.

2013.01.bendingTraditional accounts of women in eighteenth-century gardens tend to emphasise flower gardens, piety and domestic retirement, but alongside this we should recognise an equally powerful image of women and gardens articulated in terms of sex, voyeurism, scandal and disgrace. This paper begins by outlining some of those conventional—and frequently male—accounts which align the garden with femininity, piety, and domesticity, but then turns to some less comfortable alternatives in order to explore what happens when women—rather than men—imagine themselves in the garden, how they engage with double standards, female desire, and the recognition that if the garden is a place of pleasure, it can also be a place of punishment and shame.


Women in Trousers research update: Vogue and ‘The Case for Slacks’

by Becky Munford

British Vogue (17 May 1939). (c) Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council.

British Vogue (17 May 1939). (c) Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council.

On 1 February 1933, Women’s Wear Daily reported on the ‘controversial subject’ preoccupying the consumer press and the popular imagination: ‘Will women wear trousers?’ This enticing conundrum unravelled across newspaper columns and the pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines. Researching early editions of Vogue in the archives at the Gladys Marcus library at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York turned up a striking visual response to this question. Although the late 1930s are often identified as landmark years in terms of the magazine’s representation of women in trousers, references to and images of women wearing divided garments appear much earlier—from advertisements for riding habits and ‘equestrian breeches’ in October 1907 to regular images of women in beach pyjamas and ski trousers in the 1930s. The covers of Vogue also tell an intriguing story about the advance of trousers for women (or, more specifically, fashionable and affluent women). As early as 1917 a cover image (which appeared in both American and British Vogue) depicts an illustration of a woman, wrapped in furs and wearing tight trousers, killing a polar bear against an arctic backdrop. A few other (less disturbing) highlights include: Pierre Mourgue’s illustration of a woman in a ski-suit on the 15 December 1927 issue; Georges Lepape’s illustration of a woman in trousers for the 22 June 1929 ‘summer travel number’ (a copy of which is held at the Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection at the New York Public Library); and Eduardo Garcia Benito’s illustration of a woman in loose, blue trousers, running across a beach with a greyhound, on the 5 July 1930 cover.

By the end of the 1930s, slacks were making significant strides across the pages of Vogue. The 15 April 1939 edition of American Vogue featured on its cover a photograph of a model dressed in ‘sharkskin slacks and a buttonless jersey shirt (both of Celanese), a turban and Moroccan slippers’. Distinct from earlier covers portraying images of women wearing trousers for the beach, sailing and skiing, the April 1939 cover very conspicuously presents trousers as a more formal fashion garment (signalled partly by an Oriental aesthetic that harks back to Paul Poiret’s harem pants—an illustration of which, by Helen Dryden, appeared on the cover of the 1 July 1913 issue of the magazine). (more…)

Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration, Phase 2 launch event: 29 Sep 2011

Background to the project
The first version of the Database of Mid-Victorian Wood-Engraved Illustration ( was launched in January 2007, emerging out of a desire to raise the profile and status of Victorian illustration, both within academia and beyond. Based in Cardiff University’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research and with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the aim of the DMVI project was to digitize and mount on a publicly accessible website a cross-section of illustrations from different literary texts by a range of artists and engravers. Key innovations included the ability to view the over 850 illustrations at high resolutions, a sophisticated system of iconographic classification to describe the content of each image, as well as rigorous bibliographical and technical data. 

The current phase
In 2010, a second AHRC grant was obtained to enhance the database and make its innovative technologies accessible to the widest possible audience – in terms of language, location, background and user profile. Elements of DMVI had already been deployed in external projects, and this second phase has opened up the possibilities even further. Working with the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute, the project team has expanded the core elements of DMVI to include:

  • conversion to an open-source platform compliant with today’s web standards
  • extension of our iconographic cataloguing system to communicate with other platforms (e.g. ICONCLASS)
  • enhancement of the advanced search capabilities and user experience/interface
  • integration with Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. Facebook), to support user engagement, interaction and feedback
  • development of teaching resources through pilot workshops with local schools and colleges

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this phase will be our release in October of an open-source Digital Image Curation Environment (DICE), which allows users to create web-based systems for displaying, cataloguing and describing their own image collections. DICE is an easy to use system aimed at individual users, groups and small institutions, in order to enable group or public participation in community and outreach projects, making it ideal for local history clubs, galleries and museums, and individual collectors, as well as researchers within academia. By making DICE freely accessible under Creative Commons licensing, the project team hopes to support and encourage other researchers, teachers and collectors, by dramatically reducing the technical development costs and timescales associated with similar projects. From the familiar context of a web-browser, potential creators will be able to upload their collections of paintings, maps, photographs and any other image-based material; describe their content using our preloaded vocabularies or devise their own ones; add important technical and bibliographical data; and supply additional contextual material, such as hyperlinks, essays and annotations.

Launch event
On 29 September 2011 at 3pm, the DMVI team will be celebrating the completion of this second phase by holding a launch event in the Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR) for the expanded and enhanced database. The event will include demonstrations about the new DMVI system, an overview of the DICE image management system and a discussion of applications of both resources to research and teaching.  

The launch event will be followed at 5pm by a drinks reception and the inaugural Cardiff Rare Books and Music Lecture, to be delivered by Professor Hans Walter Gabler (University of Munich), who will be presenting ‘Ideas towards Interfacing Digital Humanities Research’, as part of the University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Professor Gabler is known for his pioneering work on manuscript and genetic criticism, particularly his landmark genetic edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The titles of some of his recent publications testify to the significance of his current research: ‘Making Texts for the Next Century’, ‘There is Virtue in Virtuality: Future Potentials of Electronic Humanities Scholarship’ and ‘Theorizing the Digital Scholarly Edition’. Professor Gabler is currently Chair of the international COST Action Open Scholarly Communities on the Web initiative, the aim of which is to create a research and publication infrastructure on the web and an advanced e-learning system for the Arts and Humanities.

If you’d like to come along to the event, please get in touch via

CFP: Panel on ‘New Directions in Victorian Illustration Studies’

Dr Julia Thomas is chairing a panel on New Directions in Victorian Illustration Studies’ at the conference on Victorian Media organized by the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, to be held on 26–28 April 2012 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (further details below). The panel will address the idea that the presence of pictures radically alters the meanings of Victorian texts, and will explore the contexts in which illustrations appear in this period and in which they re-appear (or disappear) today. Papers on any aspect of Victorian illustration are welcome. Please send abstracts of 500 words and a short 75-word biography to Julia Thomas at by Friday, 30 September 2011.

This conference will focus on the theme of media in relation to Victorian culture and knowledge: that is, the relation of Victorian media to the culture of the period and the relation of new media to the study, dissemination, and archiving of Victorian materials. The conference’s keynote speaker will be Matthew Rubery (Department of English at Queen Mary, University of London). Dr Rubery is the author of The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (2009), which won the European Society for the Study of English First Book Award in 2010. He is currently at work on a monograph entitled The Untold Story of the Talking Book, a history of recorded literature since the invention of the phonograph in 1877. The conference will also feature a workshop on Victorian print materials led by Prof. Brian Maidment (University of Salford), author of Comedy, Caricature and the Social Order 1820–1850 and Reading Popular Prints 1790–1870. This workshop will provide a hands-on opportunity to analyze original Victorian materials guided by an expert on print media and production methods.