Richard MCDougall LEcture Autumn 2013

Walter Crane and the Arts and Crafts Watercolor

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Walter Crane’s Pandora doubled over and weeping on the decorated casket
Walter Crane, Pandora, 1885, watercolour, private collection. Image: Courtesy of Morna O'Neill

Speaker(s): Dr Morna O'Neill (Wake Forest University)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor Caroline Arscott

In a critique of the Royal Academy published in 1885, the artist and designer Walter Crane described watercolour, “that peculiarly English and home grown art”, as a neglected medium. Yet the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, formed in 1887 in the wake of Crane’s remarks, did not address this concern. This lecture will consider the marginal position of watercolour painting in histories of the Arts and Crafts movement and examine the vital place it occupied in Crane’s own art.  As Morna O’Neill will discuss, a consideration of artistic craft and “truth to materials” makes watercolour painting something of an Arts and Crafts paradox: it is central to the movement but incidental to its objects.

Morna O’Neill (University of Notre Dame, B.A.; Yale, Ph.D.) teaches courses in eighteenth and nineteenth-century European art and the history of photography at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her research addresses the conjunction of art, design, and politics at the end of the nineteenth century. She was curator of the exhibition ‘Art and Labour’s Cause is One’: Walter Crane and Manchester, 1880-1915 (Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, August 2008-June 2009) and author of the exhibition catalogue (Whitworth Art Gallery, 2008). Walter Crane is also the subject of her book from Yale University Press, Walter Crane: The Arts and Crafts, Painting, and Politics, 1875-1890.  Other research projects include the display of decorative arts at international exhibitions (1889-1911) and the work of the art dealer Hugh Lane (1875-1915).  She is the co-editor, with Michael Hatt (University of Warwick), of The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design, and Performance in Britain, 1901-1910 (Yale University Press, 2010). Professor O’Neill has received fellowships from the Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Huntington Library, The Getty Research Institute, and the National Humanities Center.

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