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William Morris Society in the United States
Newsletter July 2000

 


NORMAN KELVIN HONORED WITH LECTURE AT MORGAN LIBRARY

On the evening of Friday, 2 June, the Society held its Þrst event in 2000, a co-sponsored lecture at the Morgan Library by Peter Stansky in honor of Norman Kelvin. This simple statement belies the specialness of the occasion. To begin with, consider the venue, the Morgan Librarary. Described by its former director, Charles Ryskamp, as a "museum of the book," the Morgan could almost have a special wing devoted to Morris, so great are its holdings. It houses not only the largest number of early printed books and medieval manuscripts once owned by Morris (acquired in 1902, when J. P. Morgan purchased en bloc the collection of Richard Bennet, who, in turn, had bought Morris's library in 1897), but also the extraordinary John M. Crawford, Jr. collection, donated in 1976, rich in Kelmscott materials,in rare editions, and in Morris's literary and calligraphic manuscripts. Then there was our speaker, the distingished and brilliant Peter Stansky, whose name will be recognized (or should be) by every reader of this Newsletter. Field Professor of History at Stanford University and a practitioner of "cultural history" long before the term came into vogue, Peter has spent nearly half a century exploring British culture of the last hundred and Þfty years. Morris has been one of his long-standing interests, and his publications include a short biography, Re-Designing the World: William Morris, the 1880s, and the Arts and Crafts, and several essays and reviews collected in the recent From William Morris to Sergeant Pepper. And of course there was our honoree, Norman Kelvin, Distinguished Professor of English at the City College and at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, the editor of The Collected Letters, who has, perhaps more than any other scholar in our time, devoted a career to William Morris.

The evening's program opened with welcoming remarks from John Bidwell, the Morgan Library's Astor Curator of Printed Books (who helped organize the affair with his Morgan colleagues, William Appleton and Yvette Mugnano). Mark Samuels Lasner, who served as the master of ceremonies, then explained how this event came about, outlining the Morgan Library's longstanding interest in Morris and the role the Library's collections played in Norman's work. He then introduced Ann Humpherys, Professor of English at Lehman College-CUNY, who paid tribute to Norman as a loyal colleague and as a teacher, and Florence Boos, Professor of English at the University of Iowa, who spoke on the importance of The Collected Letters for all Morrisians. In his address, "William Morris in the Twenty-First Century," Peter Stansky described Norman's magisterial edition in the context of Morris's biographers and editors of the last hundred years, from Mackail to E. P. Thompson to MacCarthy. He said that now, with Morris's public and private correpondence fully available and annotated for the Þrst time, we can see all the sides and activities of the man as one. Finally, Norman was presented with a token of esteem and affection, a Þrst edition of (the title says it all) Morris's Love is Enough.

MLA 2000, WASHINGTON, DC

This year's Modern Language Association annual convention is scheduled for Washington, DC over the customary period, 27&endash;30 December. In a departure from previous practice, the Society will sponsor only one session of papers (see next section of the Newsletter for the reason). The topic, "Victorian Writing/Victorian Art," can be interpreted to encompass Victorian writers who wrote art criticism or included "art" as a theme in their verse, drama, or Þction, also Victorian artists (and architects and designers) who wrote critically, theoretically, or imaginatively. William Morris is, of course, the primary Þgure who comes to mind here. Presiding at the session will be Elizabeth Bleicher (University of Southern California) and the speakers and their topics are: Aviva Briefel (Harvard University), "Strong Suspicions: Victorian Writings on Art Forgeries"; Jacqueline M. Chambers (University of Missouri-Columbia), "Following the Thread: Women, Needlework, and Publication in the Arts and Crafts Movement"; Eileen Cleere (Southwestern University), "Sanitizing Sublimity: Romantic Art, Victorian Dirt"; and Christa Zorn (Indiana University-Southeast), "Vernon Lee's New Renaissance: History from Below."

An open business meeting will take the place of the usual second session of papers. We also plan our usual "outside the convention" museum visit, in this case likely a tour of the major Art Nouveau exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, followed by a social gathering. Details of all these activities will be included in a þyer mailed to members in late November.

RE-ORGANIZING THE William Morris Society in the United States

[This section is reprinted from the January 2000 Newsletter. We strongly encourage interested members to seek election to the to-be-formed Governing Committee. Without a proper, ongoing governing structure and volunteer help, the William Morris Society in the United States may not be able to keep its Allied Organization status with the Modern Language Association or continue its programs, this Newsletter, or the William Morris Home Page.]

In place of the second session of papers at the MLA, the Society will hold an extraordinary special business meeting. The purpose of the meeting, which is open to all members, is to put the William Morris Society in the U.S. on a proper organizational basis as we enter the next century. This will be done by ratifying a new set of by-laws and the simultaneous election of a Governing Committee. (People reading this in Britain, Canada, or elsewhere, may skip the following and go on to the next section of this Newsletter.)

Some background: As longtime members may dimly recall, the William Morris Society in the United States in 1983 adopted a set of by-laws. The Society did this in part to secure allied organization status with the Modern Language Association, status which, in turn, allows the Society to host events at the MLA annual convention. These by-laws provided&emdash;after a transition period&emdash;for a Governing Committee of four members, elected by the membership for four-year terms (starting on 24 March, Morris's birthday), and for a single ofÞcer, a Corresponding Secretary. It is clear from our records that while the membership approved the by-laws, no elections have taken place since the mid-1980s. During the last decade, the Society has been administered on an ad hoc basis by whoever served as Newsletter editor (later called president), Þrst Gary Aho, then Mark Samuels Lasner, assisted by a Secretary-Treasurer, Hartley Spatt, and by a few others, some of whom served on the original Governing Committee.

In 1994 the Society applied for, and received, a renewal of allied organization status from the MLA. At the time, the MLA requested that we run the Society on a more formal basis and alter our by-laws to conform more closely with those of other afÞliated groups. The next renewal occurs in 2001, so if we want to put a workable structure into place, one which will satisfy the MLA and, more important, ensure the future of the Society, the time to do so is now. This is also the appropriate moment for the current "president," Mark Samuels Lasner, to announce that he will be stepping down on 1 January 2001. His successor&emdash;if there is even to be the position of "president"&emdash;will be an elected member of the new Governing Committee, and his duties should probably be divided among several ofÞcers and/or members.

Under the old by-laws, proposed amendments to the by-laws are to be announced in the Newsletter and then approved by two-thirds of the membership within a month of the Newsletter's appearance. We propose to follow this procedure by publishing the new by-laws and a slate of candidates for the Governing Committee in a special issue of the Newsletter mailed to members of the William Morris Society in the U.S. on 1 December 2000. Members will then vote for both approval of the by-laws and for election of the Governing Committee by whatever means they prefer&emdash;mail, fax, or e-mail&emdash;with the result tallied at the special business meeting to take place at the MLA convention.

What are needed now are suggestions for the by-laws and nominations for the Governing Committee. In making nominations (yes, you may nominate yourself), please keep in mind the following language found in the 1983 by-laws: "It shall be the purpose of the Society to encourage younger members holding untenured academic appointments or nonacademic appointments to stand for membership on the Governing Committee. Ideally, the Committee should also represent something of the range of Morris' social, artistic and literary interest." The deadline for suggestions and nominations is 1 November, one month prior to the mailing of the special Newsletter. Ideas, suggestions, and names for the Governing Committee should be sent to Mark Samuels Lasner, William Morris Society in the United States, P.O. Box 53263, Washington, DC 20009, Biblio@aol.com.

WILLIAM MORRIS SOCIETY FELLOWSHIPS

A reminder: the fellowships offered by the William Morris Society in the United States support (up to $1,000 per year) projects on the life and work of William Morris. Grants are normally made to individuals, who must be citizens of the United States or permanent residents. Projects may deal with any aspect&emdash;biographical, literary, historical, social, artistic, political, typographical&emdash;relating to Morris, and may be scholarly or creative in nature.On occasion, funds will be provided for travel to conferences (as we did this year for one recipient). Younger members of the Society and those at the beginning of their careers are encouraged to apply. Applicants are asked to submit a resumé and a one-page proposal (to the address found at the end of the previous section and again at the end of the this Newsletter); two letters of recommendation should be sent separately. The deadline is 1 December 2000 for awards tenable in the year 2001. Please note that materials sent via e-mail are not acceptable.

RUSKIN 2000

As the Ruskin centenary year continues, the attention paid to that Great Victorian only seems to increase. Tim Hilton's splendid (and long) new biography is receiving a surprising amount of press (it is almost impossible to pick up the "book review" section of a newspaper or serious journal and not Þnd mention of the book). And "The Countess," the Off-Broadway play speculating on the John-EfÞe-Millais ménage, has achieved the honor of a feature article in the Sunday arts and leisure pages of the New York Times&emdash;ensuring a run for months to come, and there is talk of a Þlm version. Of course, as nearly all the reviewers of Hilton have pointed out, the renewed interest in Ruskin centers not on what he wrote or thought (no one reads Ruskin anymore, we are told), but on his "unusual" private life. Perhaps in reaction to the current obsession with Ruskin's marriage and his relationships with young girls, the exhibition "Remembering John Ruskin, 1819&endash;1900," at the Grolier Club (February through April), focused on the critic-artist's ideas, writings, and friendships with other authors and artists. Ruskin's marriage was almost ignored (it got mentioned once or twice in the labels, in passing) and the "affair" with Rose La Touche played down. For the most part, this was a good thing; although some visitors might have been disappointed by the lack of scandalous material, there is merit in portraying Ruskin the multifacted Victorian genius without the baggage of twentieth-century hindsight. Drawn from two of the world's most signiÞcant Ruskin collections, those of Harvard University's Houghton Library and of private collector R. Dyke Benjamin (who organized the show with Peter X. Accardo), the Grolier exhibition was also especially good at illuminating neglected aspects of Ruskin, in particular his friendships with two Americans, the artist Francesca Alexander and the Harvard professor, Charles Eliot Norton. The artworks displayed included Ruskin drawings, Ruskin's copies after Cruikshank, and a self-portrait, and Lewis Carroll's 1875 photograph of Ruskin. Other important items shown were a notebook containing Ruskin's Greek exercises; Ruskin's and Norton's annotated copies of Modern Painters; books from Ruskin's library (one signed by Turner); and Norton's copy of Ruskin's last will and testament. One unexpected item was a rare issue (apparently one of ten special large paper copies) of Whistler's The Gentle Art of Making Enemies&emdash;a book which records the infamous "Whistler v. Ruskin" trial of 1878. To record what they put on display, Benjamin and Accardo co-authored an extremely well-written and attractive catalogue (it also contains an actual print from an original Ruskin plate): copies may be ordered from: The Veatchs Arts of the Book, P.O. Box 328, Northampton, MA 01060; Tel. (413) 584-1867, fax (413) 584-2751, Veatchs@veatchs.com.

"Ruskin's Italy, Ruskin's England" at the Morgan Library, the next major exhibition in the U.S. (28 September&endash;7 January 2001), will, one assumes, not neglect, but possibly even emphasize, the side of Ruskin most want to know about. For at the heart of the Morgan's enormous Ruskin collection lies the archive known as the Bowerswell Papers, letters and other material from the Gray and Millais families which document the famously unconsummated marriage to EfÞe and its aftermath. Knowing how the Morgan works, whatever they show will be placed in context and the press release promises us some truly remarkable treasures. Among the highlights of the exhibition are Ruskin's original manuscripts of his two most important works, The Stones of Venice (1851&endash;53) and Modern Painters (1843&endash;60); his commissioned photographs as well as his own drawings for The Stones; his Self-Portrait, in Blue Neckcloth (1873); John Everett Millais's portrait of him (1854); J. M. W. Turner's watercolor, The Pass at Faido, St. Gotthard (1843); and works of other artists whom he championed. Manuscripts and Þrst editions of The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849), Praeterita (Ruskin's autobiography, 1885&endash;89), The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (1884), and other works will also be included, along with selections from the Morgan's collection of Ruskin correspondence and artifacts. For further information contact: The Morgan Library, 29 East 36th Street, New York, NY 10016, Tel. (212) 685-0008, fax (212) 685-4740, www.morganlibrary.org.

FOR THE RECORD: A KELMSCOTT MISCELLANY AT THE BOOK CLUB OF CALIFORNIA

This will not come as happy news, but you&emdash;and we&emdash;missed a Morris exhibition. This was "A Kelmscott Miscellany," held at the Book Club of California, San Francisco, from 8 May through 26 June. The Book Club&emdash;known for its own beautiful books and strong interest in Þne printing (and Californiana)&emdash;has held Morris shows before, most notably two drawn from the Berger Collection, now gone to the Huntington Library. This time everything came solely from the Club's own collection. On display among the thirty-Þve items was the Kelmscott Chaucer and other Kelmscott books, including Gothic Architecture and The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye. There was also The Story of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue, an experiment Morris had printed by the Chiswick Press in 1891 using a facsimile of one of Caxton's types; only 78 copies were produced (3 on vellum), so this is necessarily a rare item, not often seen even in comprehensive Morris collections. The Wood Beyond the World on view had with it a receipt signed by Cockerell to Edmund Gosse and Gosse's cheque for the book, endorsed by Morris. Rounding out the show were an autograph note from May Morris to a Mr. Wilson, various books about Morris&emdash;three of them by Peter Stansky (who has served, if memory is right, as the Book Club's president), and a number of Doves Press titles, including the Þve-volume Bible and the Milton. To announce the exhibition the Book Club sent out a post card reproducing a woodcut of Morris by John DePol (the card also had the misprint "Klemscott" for "Kelmscott," which no one noticed until, much after the fact, the error was pointed out by the Club's secretary!).

THE ART OF PUBLISHERS' BOOKBINDINGS: 1815&endash;1915

By the time this arrives, another interesting book exhibition will have passed into history. "The Art of Publishers' Bookbindings: 1815&endash;1915" at the Grolier Club (ending 26 July) was, for all intents and purposes, the largest display of the outsides of 19th-century books that anyone can remember. The roughly 250 items encompassed every style and material used by publishers to encase their wares, from boards and labels to parchment to cloth. Although the books came from various countries, British work predominated; everything in the exhibition came from the private collection of the organizers, Ellen K. Morris and Edward S. Levin. Morris was represented by The Roots of the Mountains, the large paper edition cased in Morris and Co. fabric. Nearby were sets of D. G. Rossetti's Collected Works, in both cloth and leather, bound to the author's designs. And a little further away the shelves held the Þrst four volumes of The Yellow Book, the bindings of which are described in the catalogue as "probably" by Aubrey Beardsley. Apart from this curious statement, the catalogue&emdash;which bears the title of the exhibition and is by Lewis and Lewin, with contributions by two leading Þgures in this Þeld, Ruari McLean and Sue Allen&emdash;is of exceptional merit. Each book in the show is described in considerable detail and, even better, each is illustrated in color. The catalogue in fact represents the best reference source available on publishers' bindings spanning the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the onset of the First World War. It affords an opportunity to compare stylistic differences and similarities among individual nations, while underscoring a collective design character common to the 19th century as a whole. The designs and production methods of bookbindings may be seen, therefore, as a mirror of 19th century culture and a reþection of æsthetic fashion in Þne art and in the decorative arts. The Art of Publishers' Bookbindings: 1815&endash;1915 is published by William Dailey Rare Books Ltd., and the details are as follows: 9 ¤ 12 Ú÷¢ in., 127 pages, with 257 color illustrations. Available in three forms: wrappers at $37.50, ISBN 0-915148-22-6; quarter cloth, with printed boards and dust jacket at $75.00 (limited to 500 copies), ISBN 0-915148-21-8; and a limited edition of 100 numbered copies signed by the authors, with slipcase, at $150.00. Domestic shipping is $5.00 via UPS. California residents please add 8.25%. Orders and information: William Dailey Rare Books Ltd., 8216 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, Tel. (323) 658-8515, fax (323) 658-1170, Antiquare@aol.com, Daileyrarebooks.com.

1900: ART AT THE CROSSROADS

Enormous, fascinating, and somewhat odd, "1900: Art at the Crossroads" at the Guggenheim Museum in New York begins with a selection of works from the Exposition Décennale, an international exhibition of art created between 1889&endash;1900, that was held as part of the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle (World's Fair). Presenting art from 29 countries, the Exposition Décennale allowed nations to showcase their cultural achievements. This endeavor was mirrored in other portions of the Exposition Universelle, where countries highlighted their accomplishments in Þelds such as industry and technology, each participant vying for supremacy in an era deÞned by burgeoning nationalism and colonial expansionism. Like the Exposition Décennale, "1900" embraces a full sweep of styles, among them Symbolism, Victorian Classicism, Naturalism, Divisionism, and Realism, and juxtaposes works with radically different subject matter by hanging them together. The show is organized thematically to demonstrate the distinctive treatments that artists of differing schools and nationalities brought to similar subject matter. So there is Picasso next to Bougureau, Matisse and Sargent, Zorn and Childe Hassam. Pre-Raphaelite inþuence is apparent and the show includes a Burne-Jones, though the artist died in 1898, two years before the Exposition. The organizers have gathered many works&emdash;an amazingly large number were actually shown at the Exposition Universelle&emdash;that you have never seen and will never see again, certainly not in the U.S. Not everything in "1900" is great, or even entirely competent art, by any means; some of it can best be termed truly awful. Many of the paintings (nearly all the show consists of paintings; there is, however, some sculpture&emdash;this was how things were arranged in the original 1900 exhibition) are by artists no one had heard of&emdash;Spanish, South American, Russian, and Eastern European &emdash;who merit rediscovery. There are also some Þgures, such as William Rothenstein (A Doll's House and The Browning Readers), who, while not forgotten, are not often represented in any but specialist exhibitions. Taken as a whole, "1900: Art at the Crossroads" is a heady mix, perhaps stronger in cultural nuance than aesthetic quality, but well worth a look.

The Guggenheim has announced a related symposium, "Art and Culture in 1900: Twilight and Dawn," scheduled for Saturday, 9 September. This "will bring together major historians, art historians, and curators to reassess artistic and cultural crosscurrents at the turn of the last century and expand the debate regarding the critical stages of 20th-century art and culture." Topics include the inþuence of World´s Fairs, cultural issues of the period, art in Russia, and music. Moderated by "1900" curators Robert Rosenblum (curator at the Guggenheim) and MaryAnne Stevens (collections secretary and senior curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, where "1900" originated), the symposium will include Patricia Mainardi, Alessandra Comini, Gerald N. Izenberg, Guy Cogeval, Jerrold E. Seigel, Marion Burleigh-Motley, and Ann Dumas. Contact: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128, Tel. (212) 423-3500, www.guggenheim.org.

ART NOUVEAU AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART

Moving from the Victoria and Albert Museum to the National Gallery of Art, Washington (8 October&endash;28 January 2001), "Art Nouveau, 1890&endash;1914," the largest exhibition on the subject ever organized, will present one of the most innovative and exuberant of all modern art styles and the places where it þourished. More than 350 masterpieces in painting, sculpture, graphics, glass, ceramics, textiles, furniture, jewelry, and architecture will be featured, including a Glasgow luncheon room designed by Mackintosh, a Paris Métropolitain entrance by Hector Guimard, and a double parlor from a Turin villa by Agostino Lauro. The two rooms are among the unique features of the Washington venue.

At the National Gallery of Art this vibrant Þn-de-siècle era will be celebrated with an overview of highlights from the World's Fair of 1900 in Paris (here we go again), followed by sections presenting sources and examples from eight of the cities in which Art Nouveau þourished: Paris, Brussels, Glasgow, Vienna, Munich, Turin, New York, and Chicago.

The exhibition includes works by Morris and by many artists and designers with a "Morris connection"&emdash;among them C. R. Ashbee, Will H. Bradley, Emile Gallé, Victor Horta, René Lalique, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alphonse Mucha, Louis Sullivan, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henry van de Velde, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The size and scope of "Art Nouveau, 1890&endash;1914" is extremely ambitious. Visitors to the exhibition will be introduced to aspects of the style through a display of masterpieces of design that were shown at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris. Among the highlights are French designer Lalique's Dragonþy woman corsage ornament (ca. 1897); a suite of gilded furniture by Georges de Feure shown at Siegfried Bing's pavilion; Italian Vittorio Valabrega's enormous, elaborately carved Chimneypiece (1900); and a Tiffany glass three-panel screen (ca. 1900). The second section of the exhibition examines seven inþuences upon which Art Nouveau drew and interpreted. One of these sources was (this will not come as a surprise to our readers) the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic Movements in England. The section focusing on the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic Movements and their crucial roles in the development of Art Nouveau includes paintings, drawings, furniture, textiles, metalwork, ceramics, and stained glass by principal artists and designers. Examples run the gamut from Burne-Jones's leaded glass window The Viking Ship (1883); James McNeill Whistler's canvas, Variations in Violet and Green (1871); Morris's curtain with peacock and dragon design (1878); and E. W. Godwin's elaborate, ebonized mahogany sideboard (1876). More British Art Nouveau can be seen in the "Cities" areas. The city selected is Glasgow (never mind London) and the focus is, of course, on artist-designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose works became icons of the New Art and altered the cityscape of his birthplace. The centerpiece is his reassembled Ladies' Luncheon Room from Miss Cranston's Ingram Street Tearooms. And from Glasgow, one goes on to Turin, Paris, Vienna, New York, and Chicago…

If you can't get to Washington for all this splendor (is the Art Nouveau exhibition an inducement to come to the Morris Society activities at the MLA convention&emdash;or is it the other way around?), there is, as always, the Catalogue. Modestly described by the National Gallery as "the most comprehensive study of Art Nouveau ever published," the weighty 464-page tome is edited by Paul Greenhalgh, head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum and curator of the exhibition. It includes contributions from twenty-two scholars in the Þeld, from Europe and America. The book will be available for $35.00 (softcover), and $75.00 (hardcover) in the Gallery Shops. To order by phone, call (301) 322-5900 or (800) 697-9350.

The National Gallery is also presenting a somewhat related show of its own&emdash;which we can't help mentioning though it has really no connection with Morris. "Prints Abound: Paris in the 1890s From the Collections of Virginia and Ira Jackson and the National Gallery of Art" will explore the phenomenal outpouring of print publications in late 19th-century France. On view (22 October&endash;25 February 2001) will be more than 150 prints, drawings, periodicals, illustrated books, music primers, and song sheets by some thirty artists, including Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Odilon Redon. Bonnard's achievement will be highlighted, and his work will be represented in depth by spirited posters, contributions to single- and multiple-artist portfolios, designs for music primers and illustrated books, and an outstanding four-panel folding screen of a fashionable street scene in Þn-de-siècle Paris.

For more information contact: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 20565,Tel. (202) 737-4215, www.nga.gov.

ARDEN AND VICTORIANS AT THE DELAWARE ART MUSEUM

The Delaware Art Museum, not content to rest on its laurels with Tiffany glass (their big Spring show), has two other interesting exhibitions in store this year. "Centennial Celebration of Arden: Delaware's Arts and Crafts Community" (on through 4 September) is the Þrst devoted to the Arts and Crafts community of Arden, Delaware. The show traces Arden's history from its founding in 1900 to the 1935 death of its visionary leader, Frank Stephens.  An advocate of the single-tax and much inþuenced by the ideas of Morris and Ruskin, Stephens started a deliberately "artistic" village in which the residents produced art, crafts, literary, musical, and theatrical works for the community and to market to a broad audience. Included in the show are examples of the painting, sculpture, ceramics, prints, and drawings, plus metal, furniture, textiles, stained glass, and book arts created in Arden.

"The DeÞning Moment: Victorian Narrative Paintings from the Forbes Magazine Collection," which follows (6 October&endash;3 January 2001), consists of Þfty paintings from the Forbes Magazine collection, assembled by Christopher Forbes in the landmark Old Battersea House, London. These pictures, many of which were shown at the Royal Academy, explore the 19th-century British predilection for narrative paintings. This skilled group of Victorian artists includes the Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais and Royal Academicians William Powell Frith and James J. Tissot.

And also still "on view" at the Delaware Art Museum, the Rossetti-Morris (or Morris-Rossetti, or just plain Morris) pair of Pre-Raphaelite decorated chairs.

Contact: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806, Tel. (302) 571-9590, www.delart.mus.de.us.

THE FUTURE OF PRINTING

The American Printing History Association's 25th annual conference, "The Future of Printing," will be held 20&endash;22 October in Rochester, NY. Hosted by the renowned Cary Graphic Arts Collection at Rochester Institute of Technology, the conference has a two-fold theme: a review of accomplishments in the Þeld of book history over the last century and a look at how new technologies are being used to study the history of printing and the graphic arts. An exciting schedule of events is planned, beginning on Friday, 20 October, with a reception in the Cary Collection, featuring an exhibition of rare printers' manuals, followed by a keynote address by Robert Bringhurst, author of The Elements of Typographic Style. The conference continues on Saturday, 21 October, with a full day of presentations, including Kay Amert of the University of Iowa on the digital comparison of sixteenth-century types and Robert Johnston of RIT's Imaging Science Center on the optical enhancement of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Archimedes Palimpsest. A representative from Octavo Corporation will discuss the company's cd-rom facsimiles of rare books, while RIT's Frank Romano will talk about the effects digital printing technologies are having on book publishing. On Saturday evening, conference participants are invited to a banquet at the famed Oak Hill Country Club, host of the 1995 Ryder Cup, with after-dinner activities including a book auction.

Conference attendees may take advantage of these special offers for lodging and travel. Fifty rooms have already been reserved for APHA participants at the Radisson Hotel on the edge of the RIT campus. Call (716) 475-1910 and request the APHA conference rate. US Airways will offer discounted airfare to Rochester. APHA's agreement offers 5% off the lowest applicable published fares plus an additional 10% discount for reservations made 60 days in advance of travel. To obtain this special discount, call US Airways Group and Meeting Reservation OfÞce at (877) 874-7687 (8:00 am to 9:30 pm Eastern Time).Refer to Gold File Number 99631417. The registration fee for the conference is $60 for APHA members and $75 for nonmembers.

For more information visit the APHA website at www.printinghistory.org. Immediate inquiries may be directed to David Pankow, Curator, Cary Graphic Arts Collection, Tel. (716) 475-2408, dppwml@rit.edu.

UNIFYING THE USEFUL WITH THE BEAUTIFUL: ARCHITECTURE OF THE ARTS AND CRAFTS

The second annual Arts and Crafts Conference co-sponsored by the Hotel Pattee and Hometown Perry in Perry, IA will be held at the hotel on 19&endash;22 October 2000. At the close of last year's conference, Robert Judson Clark, when asked what direction he thought future scholarship on the Arts and Crafts should take, replied, "good monographs and more conferences like this one." This year's will not disappoint. Once again there is an emphasis on the movement's roots in Britain, with more than half the speakers coming from across the Atlantic. Margaret Richardson, President of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, delivers the opening lecture, which will discuss speciÞcally the architects whose work laid the foundation for the the Arts and Crafts. Wendy Hitchmough's talk will present the work of C. F. A. Voysey, which was admired by many American designers. James Macaulay, author of numerous books on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of painters and designers, follows with a discussion of the centrality of 19th century Glasgow as a source and repository for design ideas. Britain was not the only inspiration for American design, and Dr. Robert Winter will present the pivotal position of Japanese inþuence on American architecture, speciÞcally in the work of the brothers Greene and Greene. Richard Guy Wilson will bring these various sources together as they found expression in the unique American Midwest styles. The Honorable Philip Howard is presenting a paper on his great-great-grandfather, George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, who was a painter in his own right and a friend and major patron of Morris, Philip Webb, and the Pre-Raphaelites. Views of Webb's doemstic architecture in London for the Howards, 1 Palace Green, and at Naworth Castle will be offered. Edward Cullinan, a contemporary British architect, who has followed closely in the precepts of William Morris, will formally close the conference with a talk on tradition and nostalgia in contemporary arts and crafts architecture.

Included in the conference is a showcase of work by contemporary designers and craftworkers, a reception at the Des Moines Art Center, and a tour of Grinnell with several arts and crafts buildings (among them one of Louis Sullivan's best bank buildings). Detailed information can be obtained by contacting Elaine Hirschl Ellis, the Conference Director, 110 Riverside Drive, Suite 15-E, New York, NY 10024, Tel. (212) 362-0761, fax 212 787-2823, artconf@aol.com, www.hotelpattee.com.

THE PRE-RAPHAELITE CRITIC

Thomas J. Tobin (let us now congratulate Dr. Tobin; he has just received his Ph.D. from Duquesne University) writes to invite Internet-enabled readers back to the "Pre-Raphaelite Critic" web site: "There's been a lot going on! The 'Reviews' section is now complete (save those one or two really hard-to-Þnd items) up to and including 1860; 1870 is the next goal. The 'Paintings' section is going to be overhauled to include as many of the works referred to in the reviews as possible. There's a new 'Links' section, with ties to many scholarly resources in the Þelds of Pre-Raphaelite studies, rare books, and 19th-century periodical research&emdash;including the 'Internet Library of Early Journals at Oxford,' a full-text run of four 19th-century magazines and journals (as we bibliographers say, drool, drool). The whole site has a new, cleaner look, and faster-loading pages. Indices are still huge documents, but you can also download the main index to your hard drive. Be sure to stop by the site and see if you can help to Þnd some of the sources that have eluded me thus far&emdash;become a 'PRC' sleuth, and I'll be happy to give you a nod in the 'Thanks' page! Thanks to you and many other supporters of the site, the 'Pre-Raphaelite Critic' passed 15,000 hits on 23 April 2000! Thanks for your support and efforts to help complete this scholarly resource! As always, if you see something that isn't on the site that ought to be there, let me know." Contact: Thomas J. Tobin, Oak House, 406 East Tenth Avenue, Munhall, PA 15120, Tel. (412) 396-6420, fax (412) 396-4792. The web address of the "Pre-Raphaelite Critic" is: www.engl.duq.edu/servus/PR_Critic.

CONFERENCES

• The Victorians Institute Conference for 2000, "This Strange Disease of Modern Life: Victorian Illness, Health, and Medicine," will be hosted by the University of South Carolina, Columbia, on 6&endash;7 October. The Victorians, and Victorian texts, seem obsessed with illness, and Victorian attitudes toward health and medicine seem even more alien and obsessive than their attitudes toward illness. The conference features papers exploring cultural, literary, and historical symptoms of this widespread Victorian dis-ease, both through the rereading of texts and the examination of relevant historical or biographical cruxes. Topics include public health as social vision or nightmare; the gendering of Victorian illness; the emergent professionalization of medicine, its unprofessional shadows, and the contested images of medicine, surgery and nursing; diseases of the mind; the interrelations of illness with class; and the topography of illness, at home and abroad. For details contact: Patrick Scott, Department of English, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, scottp@gwm.sc.edu.

• "Artifacts of Victorian Culture: Social, Cultural, and Historical Inþuences that Shaped a Society" is the theme for the Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western U.S. Fifth Annual Conference. (VISAWUS 2000). To be held 20&endash;22 October at the University of California, Los Angeles, VISAWUS 2000 features a keynote address by Sally Mitchell of Temple University. The focus of VISAWUS 2000 will be on typical artifacts of Victorian culture, on what constitutes such an artifact, and on what it meant to the culture. For more information contact: Richard D. Fulton, 518 Willow Road, Bellingham, WA 98225, rfulton@whatcom.ctc.edu.

• A call for papers has been issued for the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies, 16th Annual Conference, scheduled for 19&endash;21 April 2001 at the University of Oregon, Eugene. The subject is "Exhibiting Culture/Displaying Race." Send 200&endash;400 word abstracts by 20 October to Shari Huhndorf or Richard Stein, English Department, University of Oregon, 97403, incs2001@oregon.uoregon.edu. Full information is available on the conference's web site: http://oregon.uoregon.edu/~incs2001.

NEWS OF MEMBERS

• Margaret D. Stetz delivered a paper on Irish "New Women" for a session on Victorian Ireland at the Modern Language Association Convention in December 1999, a paper on late-Victorian political fantasies (including Morris's) at the Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference in March 2000, and a lecture on Oscar Wilde and women at a symposium on "'New' Women and 'Old' Men" at the Clark Library, UCLA, in May 2000. She also published the following essays this Spring: "The Laugh of the New Woman" (in the Ashgate volume, The Victorian Comic Spirit); "Debating Aestheticism from a Feminist Perspective" (in the University Press of Virginia volume, Women and British Aestheticism); "Oscar Wilde at the Movies" (in Biography, vol. 23, no. 1); "Woman as Mother in a Headscarf" (in Canadian Woman Studies, vol. 19, no. 4); and "The Yellow Book and the Beardsley Myth" (in The Journal of the Eighteen Nineties Society, no. 26&emdash;an issue for which she also served as Guest Editor). In addition, her essay review, "Aubrey Beardsley in the 1990s," written with Mark Samuels Lasner, appeared in Victorian Studies, vol. 42, no. 2.

• The March 2000 issue of The Bookplate Journal (the publication of the Bookplate Society in the U.K.) contained Mark Samuels Lasner's "The Bookplates of Aubrey Beardsley." He is now expanding the article into a small book. In May he discussed his collecting and bibliographical interests in an informal talk delivered at a spring session of the University of Virginia's Rare Books School.

• Adela Roatcap recently published "Concerning a Manuscript with a Soul: William Morris's' Aeneid" in the Quarterly News-Letter of the Book Club of California. Dr. Roatcap offers to speak to interested groups on the art of William Morris and his circle and says she is ready to travel almost anywhere to do so. In the past, she delivered a paper at a Morris Society session at the MLA convention and has given a series of lectures on Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites at her home institution, the University of San Francisco.

• Linda Merrill was recently appointed Curator of American Art at the High Museum in Atlanta. A well-known Whistler scholar, she lectured on "Whistler and America" in a series of talks sponsored by Hill-Stead Museum, the Farmington, CT house built by Stanford White for the architect, collector, and philanthropist Theodate Pope Riddle.

• Jean-François Vilain's "Elbert Hubbard, The Message to Garcia, and The Mikado," in the February 2000 issue of Style 1900, served as a kind of footnote to his earlier writings on Hubbard (who began as a follower of Morris and ended up on the Lusitania). The article deals with a convoluted 1906 translation from Japanese into English of Hubbard's famed "A Message to Garcia," published in 1906 and said to have been prepared by a Professor Yone Kitchikaschi of the University of Tokyo. As Vilain points out, the "translation" (which is also printed in the issue of Style 1900) was actually a parody along the lines of Mark Twain's "French" version of The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County.

• In June and July, James Elliott Benjamin gave an eight-session course on "The Arts and Crafts Movement in England and America" for New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies program in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts. The classes examined the contributions of Pugin, Ruskin, and Morris to the movement and surveyed a broad range of their followers including Ernest Gimson, C. R. Ashbee, C. F. A. Voysey, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, Greene and Greene, Gustav Stickley, Elbert Hubbard, and others. Furniture and interiors, metalwork, and jewelry, ceramics, and printing were discussed in class sessions, and the course included museum, gallery, auction house and private collection visits, as well as trips to historic sites.

QUERY

For a study of William Morris as anthropologist and primitivist, I wish to locate any existing inventory of modern scholarly books from his library. I am particularly interested in knowing of Morris's familiarity with the works of Morgan, Lubbock, Tylor, Maine, and McLennan. Please direct correspondence to: Professor Stephen F. Eisenman, Department of Art History, Northwestern University, Kresge Hall, 1859 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60206. Communications via e-mail may be sent to s-eisenman@northwestern.edu.

NEW BOOK ON LEONARD SMITHERS AND THE 1890S

Member James G. Nelson's new book, Publisher to the Decadents: Leonard Smithers in the Careers of Beardsley, Wilde, Dowson, has just come out. The third in a series of studies of publishers of the British 1890s (the Þrst dealt with the Elkin Mathews-John Lane Bodley Head partnership, the second with Elkin Mathews alone), it chronicles the experiences of Leonard Smithers (1861&endash;1907), a key Þgure in literary culture of the late Victorian period. In his day Smithers was known primarily for issuing books of upscale pornography. He then gained more respectability (and visibility) as the publisher of choice for the Decadents, including most notably Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley. While a young solicitor in his native ShefÞeld, Smithers began corresponding with the famed explorer and translator of exotic texts, Captain Sir Richard Burton. Burton translated The Thousand Nights and a Night (popularly known as The Arabian Nights), which Smithers published in 1885 at the outset of his career. In the years that followed, he collaborated with Burton in the publication of two Latin texts, the Priapeia and the Carmina of Catullus, both of erotic cast. After the death of Burton in 1890, Smithers continued a significant involvement with his work, serving as an adviser to Isabel, Lady Burton. During this time he formed a partnership with Harry Sidney Nichols, and together they produced a series of pornographic books under the imprint of the Erotika Biblion Society. The years between 1895 and 1900 saw Smithers's greatest achievement, when he managed to publish Wilde plays and The Ballad of Readig Gaol, a number of books illustrated by Beardsley, The Savoy magazine, and books of verse by Ernest Dowson and Arthur Symons that have proved to be the Þnest expression of the Decadent Movement. Inþuenced by the "revival of printing" largely instigated by William Morris, Smithers throughout his career sought to produce attractive, well-made editions that were tastefully designed and printed. Nelson's new book provides expansive insight into the prizes and pitfalls of a publisher who contributed much to the literary and artistic movements of the 1890s in England. For collectors, librarians, and students of publishing history, a salient feature is the detailed checklist which gives bibliographical information on all of Smithers's publications, including many clandestine and obscure works.

Publisher to the Decadents: Leonard Smithers in the Careers of Beardsley, Wilde, Dowson is a volume in the Penn State Series in the History of the Book. It is published in the U.S. and Canada by Pennsylvania State University Press and in the U.K. and Europe by the Rivendale Press. ISBN 0-271-01974-3. $35.00/£25.00. To order contact: Penn State University Press, 820 North University Drive, University Support Building 1, Suite C, University Park, PA 16802, Tel. (814) 865-1327 or toll-free (800) 326-9180, fax (814) 863-1408, www.psu.edu/psupress; or The Rivendale Press, P.O. Box 97, High Wycombe, Bucks. HP14 4GH U.K., Tel. (01494) 562266, fax (01494) 563355, www.rivendalepress.freeserve.co.uk.

WILLIAM MORRIS ARTYPE CD-ROM

About twice a month someone asks us, "Where can I get Morris fonts for my computer?" In the past, the answer has been: order the somewhat unsatisfactory revised version of the Golden Type made by the International Typeface Corporation (now part of Monotype) or track down one of the not-terribly-well-implemented varieties of Troy available as shareware. Now there is a better, and simpler, solution. The Scriptorium, a Texas company specializing in digital recreations of historic typefaces and calligraphy, has just put together a "William Morris ArtType" cd-rom. The package includes a sizeable selection of Morris's fabric patterns, plus, more important, a collection of original fonts based on his type designs for books printed by the Kelmscott Press. Morris's patterns are suitable for use in web page design (they can be made into contiguous tiles for use as backgrounds) and also make excellent backdrops for decorative printed pages. Each of the patterns comes in the form of a high-resolution image suitable for use online or in print. The Þve fonts in the collection are: Morris Initials, based on Kelmscott Press initials; Kelmscott, derived from Troy; True Golden, a version of Morris's Golden Type (much darker than ITC digitization); Morris Black Letter, an original invention following the hand-lettering Morris did for Kelmscott Press title-pages; and Chaucerian Initials, based on the capitals found in the Kelmscott Chaucer. The relationship between the text faces and the initials is clear to see, and they work very well in combination. Also on the cd-rom are a large number of Kelmscott decorations, ornaments, and emblems, including þoral borders and unusual initials which include complete words embedded in the design of the initial. Taken together, "William Morris ArtType" offers a veritable&emdash;and quite decently done&emdash;mass of digitized Morris. The cd-rom is priced at $49.00 plus shipping. Both Macintosh and IBM-PC platforms are supported. Orders and more information: Ragnarok Press, P.O. Box 140333, Austin, TX 78714.(800) 797-8973, fax (512) 472-6220 (international telephone calls to [512] 472-6535), www.ragnarok.com.

This newsletter was written and edited by Mark Samuels Lasner, with the assistance of Margaret D. Stetz. Items for inclusion, books for review, news, comments, go to: William Morris Society, P.O. Box 53263, Washington, DC 20009; Biblio@aol.com.

 

A SHOPPING GUIDE TO WILLIAM MORRIS

Past Times
(800) 621-5020
"William Morris Rug and Runner," wool, copied from Hammersmith carpet, rug 6 ¤ 4½ ft., #1464, $399.00; runner 9 ¤ 2 ft. 4 in., #9456, $299.00.

Basil Street Gallery of London
(800) 525-9661
"Choosing" by G. F. Watts (a portrait of Ellen Terry), canvas replica, hardwood gilt frame, 20 ¤ 24 in. #B-DN-3099, $225.00. · "Proserpine" by D. G. Rossetti, canvas replica, hardwood gilt frame, 17 ¤ 31 in., #B-DN-3094, $245.00.

The Smithsonian Catalogue
(800) 322-0344
"William Morris Forest Tapestry," adapted from Morris's "The Forest" (ca. 1887), cotton blend with cotton backing, 29 ¤ 47 in., #33054, $250.00. · "William Morris Cloisonné Lamp," table lamp, base with "Honeysuckle" pattern, #37022, $325.00.

Scalamandré (C/O Hertzie)
(212) 230-0554
The fabric and wallpaper manufacturer now offers "Brother Rabbit" cotton fabric, in wine color, #6785-1, 50 in. wide, $38.50 per yard. Note that one is supposed to place orders through an architect or interior designer.

The Morgan Library
www.morganlibrary.org
(212) 675-0610, giftshop@morganlibrary.org
"Wombat," plush stuffed animal version of the creature beloved of Rossetti and his friends, #X37130, $39.95.

Toscano
(800) 525-0733
www.designtoscano.com
"The Knights of the Round Table Summoned to the Quest," reproduction of Morris and Co. tapestry now in Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, wool, three sizes: small 62 ¤ 34 in., #TX-2460, $575.00; medium 70 ¤ 48 in., #TX-2463, $975.00; large 112 ¤ 56 in., #TX-2465, $1,675.00. · "Tribute to Women," reproduction of Morris and Co. tapestry designed by Marianne Stokes now in Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, wool, two sizes: small 53 ¤ 36 in., #TX-14750, $595.00; large 80 ¤ 56 in., #TX-14751, $1,375.00. · "The Arming and Departure of the Knights," reproduction of Morris and Co. tapestry designed by Burne-Jones and Morris, wool, two sizes: small 45 ¤ 34 in., #TX-2445, $395.00; large 86 ¤ 60 in., #TX-2450, $1,375.00.

This newsletter was written and edited by Mark Samuels Lasner, with the assistance of Margaret D. Stetz. Items for inclusion, books for review, news, comments, go to: William Morris Society, P.O. Box 53263, Washington, DC 20009, Biblio@aol.com. For updates on Morris (and associated) events see the William Morris Home Page on the internet, http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/wmorris/morris.html.

LAST UPDATE 4 JAN 2001 · PLEASE REPORT BROKEN LINKS TO WEBMASTER@MORRISSOCIETY.ORG

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