The International Visual Arts and Cultures’ (IVAC)

IVAC Lecture, Dr Arlene Leis, Cutting, Arranging and Pasting: Displaying Graphic Culture in the Collection of Sarah Sophia Banks (1744-1818)

GUEST LECTURE

WEDNESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2014, 17.00
ASA BRIGGS HALL 210, KENSINGTON CAMPUS

Cutting, Arranging and Pasting:
Displaying Graphic Culture in the Collection of
Sarah Sophia Banks (1744-1818)

Dr Arlene Leis

In this lecture I focus on the display of printed ephemera in the collection of Sarah Sophia Banks, the sister of the celebrated botanist and patron of the natural sciences, Sir Joseph Banks. Comprising an early form of scrapbook, Sarah Sophia’s repository contains a rich assemblage of commercial materials, including playbills, admission tickets, broadsheets, newspaper clippings and trade cards – works which, although never displayed within the exhibition arena, hold considerable art-historical value. However, even as the scrapbook approach that Sarah Sophia employed for systematizing her collection makes it seem a particularly personal enterprise, we should also view it as a mechanism that brought the public domain into the domestic sphere. Not only did this important collection play a significant role in the construction of genteel ideals of femininity, it simultaneously exhibited traces of the wider graphic culture from which it was born.

Dr Arlene Leis graduated with an MA in Art History from Richmond in 2008 and completed her PhD at the University of York in 2013. Arlene was recently awarded a Paul Mellon post-doctoral research grant to prepare her book Sarah Sophia Banks: Femininity, Sociability and the Practice of Collecting in Late Georgian England.