Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Useful & Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites

"Useful & Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites"

University of Delaware
Winterthur Museum and Country Estate
Delaware Art Museum

7-9 October 2010

"Useful and Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites" will be the subject of a conference and related exhibitions to be held 7-9 October 2010 at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE) and at the Delaware Art Museum and the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate (Wilmington, DE). Organized with the assistance of the William Morris Society, "Useful and Beautiful" will highlight the strengths of the University of Delaware's rare books, art, and manuscripts collections; Winterthur's important holdings in American decorative arts; and the Delaware Art Museum's superlative Pre-Raphaelite collection (the largest outside Britain). All events will focus on the multitude of transatlantic exchanges that involved Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements of the late nineteenth century.

We seek 250- to 500-word proposals for short papers (15 minutes reading time, maximum) that explore relationships and influences--whether personal, intellectual, political, or aesthetic--connecting William Morris, his friends, associates, and followers in Britain and Europe with their contemporaries and successors in the Americas. The "arts" will include not merely those at which Morris himself excelled--i.e., literature, design, and printing--but also painting, illustration, architecture, performance, and anything related to print culture in general. Papers that examine transatlantic politics, social movements, and environmental issues in light of Morrisian, Pre-Raphaelite, and Arts and Crafts perspectives are also welcome.

Possible topic areas include:
William Morris's Influence in and on the Americas • The American Ruskinians • Transatlantic Arts and Crafts Architecture • British Connections to the American Aesthetic Movement • Designers Traveling, East to West or West to East • Arts and Crafts Places, Real and/or Imaginary • British Aesthetic Ideals and American Domestic Interiors • The Kelmscott Press and Transatlantic Print Culture • Aesthetic Periodicals and/or Little Magazines Crossing the Atlantic • Publishing the Pre-Raphaelites in the Americas • American Book Illustrators and Pre-Raphaelite Influences • The Transatlantic Poster Craze • Exhibiting the Pre-Raphaelites in the Americas • Americans Collecting Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites • Selling Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts Goods Across the Atlantic • Pre-Raphaelite Imagery and American Advertising • The Morris Chair as a Transatlantic Object • Morris and American Needlework • American Dress Reform and Pre-Raphaelite Influence • The Pre-Raphaelites and the Literature of the Americas • Oscar Wilde Visits America • Whitman and the Pre-Raphaelites • Morris and American Socialism • Morris & Co. Stained Glass in the Americas • American Drama and Pre-Raphaelite Figures • Pre-Raphaelitism and American Art Education • Photography and the Circulation of Pre-Raphaelite Images • Pre-Raphaelitism and American Music

The deadline for 250- to 500-word proposals is 15 March 2010. Please forward electronic submissions to: Mark Samuels Lasner,

Limited funding may be available for speakers whose papers focus specifically on William Morris and who are in need of financial assistance. To be considered for support, explain your circumstances when submitting your paper proposal.

In addition to conference sessions, there will be a keynote lecture, demonstrations by leading practitioners who make and design Arts and Crafts objects, special exhibitions, and related film, theater, and musical performances. The following exhibitions are anticipated at the time of the conference: Delaware Art Museum ("May Morris," also permanent display of the Samuel and Mary Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite collection); University of Delaware Library (American literature, 1870-1916 exhibition and "William Morris"); University Gallery, University of Delaware ("Ethel Reed: Transatlantic Artist of the 1890s"); Winterthur (Arts and Crafts archival resources); and Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts ("David Mabb: The Morris Kitsch Archive").

For more information go to or contact Mark Samuels Lasner, (302) 831-3250,

"Useful and Beautiful" is supported by the Delaware Art Museum, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, the William Morris Society in the United States, the William Morris Society (UK), and the following University of Delaware departments and programs: College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Delaware Library, Art, Art Conservation, Art History, English, History, and Material Culture Studies.

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