“Dancing Skeletons, Tiny Dogs, and Woodcocks of Great Renown: Graphic Outliers and Group Projects in Friendship Albums held by the Pforzheimer Collection”

Dr. Elizabeth C. Denlinger The New York Public Library
When Mar 06, 2019
from 05:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Bingham Humanities, Rm 300
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 Friendship albums, popular in Britain from about the 1790s through the 1840s, are remembered as the morocco-bound weapons of young ladies seeking husbands; they would be thrust into the hands of friends and strangers who were asked to contribute verses, sketches, or pious quotations. This character, despite its strong whiff of misogyny, is not undeserved. Albums, especially their poetic portions, are havens for the familiar, for reassurances of friendship and esteem. But they are also home to unexpected images and genuinely odd projects, such as Caroline Lamb’s watercolor of a drowning child ignored by its playmates, or a series of tributes from the entire Parker family to a pair of woodcocks brought down in one shot by the sculptor Francis Chantrey in 1829. In this talk Dr. Denlinger will examine some of the more unusual images and group projects found in friendship albums in the Pforzheimer Collection. She will argue that the genre of the album promotes a broader group identity that can sanction whimsicality and playfulness for an ensemble of contributors. This talk aims to complicate and enlarge our ideas of the album, adding to them places for the rich and strange.


Dr. Elizabeth C. Denlinger is a curator at the Pforzheimer Collection at the New York Publish Library. She co-curatored the Library’s exhibitions Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era and Shelley’s Ghost: The Afterlife of a Poet; she also wrote the companion volume (of the same title) to Before Victoria. She guest curated an exhibition on Frankenstein with the Morgan Library & Museum in 2018.