WSG seminars 2015-2016 announced

Anonymous, trade card, paper, c1760, collected by Sarah Sophia Banks.  BM D,2.3603.
Anonymous, trade card, paper, c1760, collected by Sarah Sophia Banks. British Museum D,2.3603. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 is pleased to announce its seminar schedule for the forthcoming academic year.  Seminars will take place at the Foundling Museum, London, WC1N 1AZ, and start promptly at 1pm, finishing at about 4.  Tea and biscuits are provided.  Why not arrive early and see the Foundling’s current exhibition, or hear a gallery talk?

This year seminars organiser Dr Carolyn Williams has drawn together papers with musical themes, as well as on collecting, natural philosophy, literature, politics, and book history from across WSG’s 16th- to early 19th-century range.  Dates and speakers are as follows:

Saturday 26th  September, 2015, 1-4pm, Foundling Museum
Diana Ambache, ‘Women composers of the late 18th century’
Professor Paula Higgins, ‘Suppressing the Suppression of Fanny Hensel: Textual Ellipsis and Other Signs of Biographical Censorship’
Dr Arlene Leis, ‘Sarah Sophia Banks as a Collector’

NB Diana Ambache will have CDs of the composers profiled on sale, from £6 to £14.

Saturday 28th November, 2015, 1-4pm, Foundling Museum
Associate Professor Tita Chico, ‘Knowledge Seduction’
Dr Andrew McInnes, ‘Resistant Readers in Sarah Fielding’s The Governess’
Chrisy Dennis, ‘“We were born to grace society: but not to be its slaves”: Chivalry and Revolution in Mary Robinson’s Hubert de Sevrac, A Romance of the Eighteenth Century (1796)’

Saturday January 30, 2016, 1-4pm, Foundling Museum
Valerie Schutte, ‘Pre-accession Printed Book Dedications to Mary and Elizabeth Tudor’ (see a publication of Valerie’s here)
Brianna Elyse Robertson-Kirkland, ‘Venanzio Rauzzini (1746 – 1810) and his female operatic students’
Sarah Oliver, ‘From Rape to Desire: Mary Hays’s Revision of the Love Theme and Jane Austen’s “New” Heroines’ (see a publication of Sarah’s here)

For more information, and brief abstracts of the papers, see our current seminars page, like WSG’s facebook page, or follow @WSGUK.

Foundling Museum’s Art Happens campaign

Fallen Woman campaign material
Fallen Woman campaign material

The Foundling Museum, WSG’s kind host for this year’s seminar series, is putting on an exhibition that WSG followers can really get behind.  It falls a little bit outside WSG’s time period, but it is about the nineteenth-century idea of the “Fallen Woman” and the real Victorian women who gave up their babies to the Foundling Hospital.

To complete the exhibition, the Foundling is seeking £23,000 from the public.  It has an Art Happens fundraising page on the Art Fund website, where interested parties can donate, and learn more about the project.  It is already 65% funded at the time of this blog post, which indicates the degree of interest in the project so far.

You can follow updates from @foundlingmuseum, through their #FallenWoman hashtag, and from @artfund #arthappens.

WSG member Sara Read’s new book: Maids, Wives and Widows

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Sara Read, Front cover, Maids, Wives and Widows (Pen & Sword, 2015)

Following on from Julie Peakman’s new biography of the Georgian courtesan Peg Plunkett, WSG would also like to highlight WSG member (and WSG’s chief Twitterer) Sara Read’s new book Maids, Wives and Widows: Exploring Early Modern Women’s Lives 1540-1740, which came out in May.  It is available from Pen & Sword books, and for a limited time is only £15.99 (rrp £19.99).  Maids, Wives and Widows explores the everyday lives of early modern women, from menstruation, childbirth, and bodily care, to employment, literature, and food and drink.

Sara is a Lecturer in English at Loughborough University.  She is the author of Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and her latest project investigates female obesity in early modern England.  She co-edits the fantastic Early Modern Medicine blog with Dr Jennifer Evans.

Remembering Jane Mears

Last month long-term WSG member Jane Mears, a former teacher and a PhD student at King’s College London, died after a long and quietly fought battle with cancer.  WSG members Angela Escott and Elizabeth Eger attended Jane’s funeral at the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Hayes, Middlesex, on behalf of all members of the group.  It was a very moving occasion and Angela and Elizabeth met many of Jane’s friends.

Jane was a regular attendee of WSG seminars in London.  She never allowed her illness to get in the way of a good conversation and her curiosity and warmth will be much missed.  Jane was studying the family of the radical William Cobbett (1763-1835), especially his wife Anne, about whom not nearly enough is known.  She had conducted extensive archive work and it is hoped that her research will be published in some form, especially the article she was working on before her death.

WSG member Julie Peakman’s new book: Peg Plunkett

Julie Peakman, front cover of Peg Plunkett (Quercus, 2015)
Julie Peakman, front cover of Peg Plunkett (Quercus, 2015)

Long-time WSG member Julie Peakman’s latest book is out this month! Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore is published by Quercus and is available from all good bookshops and online for £20. Peg tells the story of one of the Georgian era’s most famous courtesans, based on her memoirs which caused a scandal when published in 1795, and Julie’s own extensive research.

Julie is a well-known historian of eighteenth-century culture and an expert in the history of sexuality.  An Honorary Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London, her previous books Lascivious Bodies (2004) and The Pleasure’s All Mine (2013), have both been critical and popular successes.