The Foundling’s Ladies of Quality appeal

21 Ladies of Quality and Distinction

WSG’s host institution, the Foundling Museum, has just launched an appeal to raise funds for its autumn exhibition, Ladies of Quality and Distinction. In 1739 Thomas Coram received his Royal Charter from the King to set up the Foundling Hospital, which took in vulnerable babies at risk of abandonment.  He was helped by a group of women who supported his cause.

In the Foundling’s own words, “We want to shine a light on the 21 forward thinking Georgian women – the eponymous Ladies – whose support helped Coram realise his dream of establishing the Foundling Hospital”.  The museum has from now until 5 March – exactly a month – to raise £20,000 to reunite these women’s portraits, currently scattered around the UK, to hang in its Picture Gallery, which is usually full of the portraits of the original male governors.

WSG would be grateful if its readers could contribute to the appeal.  If the total is not reached, the Foundling receives nothing – so no matter how small the donation, every little helps. There are various rewards, including tote bags, exhibition tickets, prints, and a private tour of the exhibition. You can also follow the progress of the appeal via the twitter hashtag #ladiesofquality.

Just think, 21 important women for 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Act which gave votes to some women over the age of 30 for the first time  – please help!

Artist and Artisan talk for the Johnson Society

WSG member Miriam al Jamil is giving a talk at 2.30pm on 10 February for the Johnson Society, on ‘Artist and Artisan in the European Magazine (1782-1826)’.  Miriam is a doctoral researcher at Birkbeck College, studying eighteenth-century women and the Classical Canon of sculpture.  In her research she looks at how women engaged with sculpture during this period when art academy training was not available to them, and turns an alternative lens on the Grand Tour.

Further information about the talk, and the Johnson Society, can be found here.  But please note: all Johnson Society meetings are held at Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission, which is right next door to John Wesley’s House museum. The equally interesting Dr Johnson’s House museum is a 25 minute walk away.

Madeleine Pelling and Rebecca Simpson awarded WSG bursaries

The WSG is pleased to announce it has awarded bursaries of £500 to Madeleine Pelling and £250 t0 Rebecca Simpson, both doctoral researchers at the University of York.  Last year the inaugural bursary was won by Charmian Mansell.

Madeleine is a final-year PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of York.  She will use the award to travel to the John Rylands Library where she will be researching the friendship between Horace Walpole and lesser-known bluestocking Mary Hamilton.  She tweets as @MaddyPelling.

Rebecca Simpson is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of York.  She works on narratives of pregnancy and will use the award to transcribe MSS in the Douglas papers at the Hunterian Museum and Glasgow University Special Collections, which include the Mary Toft (‘rabbit births’) confessions.  She tweets as @rebellsimpson.

The WSG bursaries are intended to support early career researchers, PhD students and independent scholars research “any aspect of women’s studies in the period 1558-1837”.  Bursaries can be awarded for new or continuing, single or multidisciplinary projects.  They can be used to subsidise any costs incurred by the project.  To be eligible, applicants must be a member of the WSG.  The WSG bursary panel wish to thank all of this year’s applicants for their applications, and encourage those who have been unsuccessful to consider re-applying the following year.

Reminder: WSG seminar January 2018

*Please note: Karen Lipsedge will now be presenting her paper at the 11 March seminar. In her stead on 14 Jan a paper from Brianna Robertson-Kirkland will be read*

Has everyone recovered from new year celebrations? Ready for more early modern women’s studies research? WSG’s January seminar takes place in just under a fortnight, with three papers on Aphra Behn, reading women, and the eighteenth-century stage.

Seminars take place at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ, starting promptly at 1pm and finishing at 4pm.  Doors open at 12.30. Directions for getting to the Museum can be found here.  All seminars are free and open to the public, though refreshments will cost £2 to those who aren’t WSG members.  Those attending the seminars are welcome to look round the museum before or after.

Sunday 14 January, 2018. Chair: TBC
Maryann Feola: Aphra Behn and the shaping of an imagined Naples.
Karen Lipsedge: Reading women and the eighteenth-century home.
Sarah Burdett: From bloodthirsty Amazon to ‘Desp’rate Mother’: Sarah Yates’s re-invention of Queen Margaret of Anjou on the 1790s London stage.

WSG Workshop 2018: keynote speaker Jeanice Brooks

Thomas Rowlandson, Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, Etching and aquatint, 1784/6. Courtesy Wellcome Collection

The WSG is thrilled to announce that the the keynote speaker for our 2018 annual workshop will be Jeanice Brooks, Professor of Music at Southampton University.  Jeanice’s research interests include music making in Renaissance France and Georgian England, performance, pedagogy and material culture.  She will be speaking on “Music and the Culture of Domestic Craft in Georgian Britain”, based on her major AHRC-funded projects “At Home with Music: Domestic Music-Making in Georgian Britain“, and “Music, Home, and Heritage: Sounding the Domestic in Georgian Britain.”

The date for our next annual workshop has been fixed for Sunday 13th May 2018 at the Foundling Museum, London, and the theme will broadly reflect the keynote’s of music, crafts and the home.  WSG & music is a good fit with the Foundling – did you know that Handel conducted benefit performances of his famous Messiah to raise funds for the Foundling Hospital, and that the museum is home to an important Handel archive and regularly holds musical events? Registrations for the workshop will open in the spring, and participants are usually expected to bring a 5-minute contribution to present in the afternoon.  Places will first be advertised to the wsg members mailing list – to find out before everyone else, why not become a member?