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July 27: Rossettis, Pre-Raphaelites

July 27: Rossettis, Pre-Raphaelites

UD Library to host lecture on Rossettis and the Pre-Raphaelites

Heather Bozant Witcher, the recipient of the 2016 Amy P. Goldman Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies, will speak on “Written-Visual Aesthetics: The Rossettis and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” at noon, Wednesday, July 27, in the University of Delaware’s Morris Library.

A doctoral candidate at Saint Louis University, where she specializes in the long 19th century (1789-1914) and print culture, Bozant Witcher is in Delaware for a month-long research visit funded by the fellowship. She is making use of the resources of the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection in the University of Delaware Library and the library and art collections of the Delaware Art Museum.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will take place in the Class of 1941 Lecture Room. Refreshments will be provided.

Focusing on the siblings, poet-artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and poet Christina Rossetti, Bozant Wicher’s presentation derives in part from her dissertation “Sympathetic Texts: Collaborative Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century (1814-1914).”

As Bozant Witcher explains, “I question the process and publication of collaborative works to understand how individual relationships become inscribed in the works produced.”

Bozant Witcher’s work shifts the ways in which people think about artistic production and community in the long 19th century. Specifically, she looks at famous collaborators from the period: Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper (together known under the pseudonym Michael Field); as well as collaborative partnerships, such as the printers and publishers at the Kelmscott Press, the Vale Press and the Hogarth Press.

Bozant Witcher grounds her work on these writers and presses in 18th and 19th century theories of sympathy and its role in joint artistic ventures.

“Collaboration,” Bozant Witcher argues, “becomes a means of artistic construction and a lived experience of communal relations.”

The recipient of the 2015 William Morris Society Award, which enabled her to do research on Morris’s Kelmscott Press in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, Bozant Witcher has published on the early collaboration between Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley in their 1814 elopement journal and presented papers at wide-ranging conferences such as the Modern Language Association (MLA), North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA), Victorian Studies Colloquium at Gladstone’s Library, and the Michael Field Centenary Conference in London.

About the Amy P. Goldman Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies

The Amy P. Goldman Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies, sponsored by the University of Delaware Library and the Delaware Art Museum is funded by the Amy P. Goldman Foundation and by the University Library.

Awarded annually, the fellowship is intended for scholars conducting significant research in the lives and works of the Pre-Raphaelites and their friends, associates, and followers. Research of a wider scope, which considers the Pre-Raphaelite movement and related topics in relation to Victorian art and literature, and cultural or social history, is also supported.

Up to $3,000 is available for a one-month visit to the host institutions. The application deadline for the 2017 fellowship is Nov. 1, 2016. For more information go to the website or contact Margaretta S. Frederick, chief curator and curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection, Delaware Art Museum, 302-571-9590, mfrederick@delart.org, or Mark Samuels Lasner, senior research fellow, University of Delaware Library, 302-831-3250, marksl@udel.edu.

About the University of Delaware Library

The University of Delaware Library has broadly based and comprehensive collections — books, periodicals, electronic resources, microforms, government publications, databases, maps, manuscripts, media and access to information via the Internet — which provide a major academic resource for the study of literature and art. Many printed and manuscript items related to the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates are in the Special Collections Department, including major archives relating to the Victorian artist and writer George Adolphus Storey, and to the bibliographer and forger, Thomas J. Wise.

The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, associated with the Special Collections Department, focuses on British literature and art of the period 1850 to 1900, with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelites and on the writers and illustrators of the 1890s. Its rich holdings comprise 9,000 first and other editions (including many signed and association copies), manuscripts, letters, works on paper (including drawings by Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti) and ephemera.

About the Delaware Art Museum

Founded in 1912, the Delaware Art Museum is home to the largest and most important collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art in the United States. Assembled largely by the Wilmington industrialist, Samuel Bancroft Jr., at the turn of the century (with significant subsequent additions), the collection includes paintings and drawings by all the major and minor Pre-Raphaelite artists, as well as decorative arts, prints, photographs, manuscripts and rare books.

The Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, with a reference collection of 30,000 volumes, holds Samuel Bancroft’s papers and correspondence, a rich source for the history of collecting and provenance that also contains significant manuscript material by and about the Rossettis. The Delaware Art Museum has a website devoted to the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art.


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